A gay couple alleges that they were kicked out of the Original First Turn restaurant in Port Orange, Florida, for being affectionate -- as a heterosexual couple would be -- on Sept. 11 (video below).
"Kissing on the lips, hugging, holding each other," James Lacey, a U.S. Marine veteran, told WKMG. "Just being like a normal straight couple."
"We were just having a good time, everything was fine," Lacey recalled.
According to Lacey, he and his boyfriend were having drinks with some other men at the steakhouse and biker hangout when a manager pulled him aside.
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"She said some of the customers were complaining about our public affection and they were offended," Lacey stated. "And the manager told us that it's not welcome here."
After Lacey returned to the table, he and his friends decided to leave.
"I'm pretty sure if you saw a man and woman giving a kiss on the cheek or a kiss on the lips, they're not going to say, 'I'm sorry that's not tolerated here, it's not welcomed,'" Lacey told the news station. "That's B.S. That's ridiculous ... I truly feel it was because we're a gay couple."
A restaurant manager told WKMG that Lacey was not told he was not welcome, and added: "We are a patriotic and family restaurant of more than 30 years. We don't discriminate against anybody. We never have and never will. Safety and comfort for all our customers is top priority."
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Grub Street opined on the underlying meaning of the manager's statement: "That was apparently more of an insinuation, since her statement ends with this pretty blatant dog whistle: 'Safety and comfort for all our customers is top priority.'"
"Everybody's willing to take us in, but the second you show public affection, there's somebody that's offended by it," Lacey told WKMG. "And we're the ones who pay the price. We're the ones that need to leave."