Two women were allegedly told to leave a Jackson, Mississippi, bowling alley for kissing.
Tiffany Franklin said she and her girlfriend, Jazmine Lewis, visited Metro 24 Bowling Center on a recent Saturday night. At one point during the evening, the owner of the bowling alley reportedly confronted the couple after they kissed.
"It was just a small peck on the cheek," Franklin said. "[The owner] said: 'I want to be as discreet as possible. I would like you to refrain from doing that,' and we said, 'From doing what?'"
The owner then allegedly told the couple he would kick them out if they kissed again.
“For him to say something regarding us showing affection was wrong, especially when there were other couples doing the same thing – homosexual customers and heterosexual couples,” Franklin said.
"He just blatantly said: 'This is my establishment. I do what I want to,' and then, 'I'm a pastor,'" the couple's friend, Shannon Divinity, said.
Divinty defended her friends, saying that they displayed no behavior that would justify being kicked out.
“[There] was nothing they were doing that was inappropriate,” she said.
According to an attorney for the owner of the bowling alley, there were children present and the owner didn't want them to see two women kissing.
Mississippi College School of Law professor Matt Steffey said that the owner was within his legal rights to refuse service to the couple, citing the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates no federal law and certainly no state law,” Staffey told WAPT. “If his conduct was religiously motivated, he could invoke the statute … and the law protects him.”
Franklin said she is considering taking legal action against the pastor for discrimination.