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Canadian couple closing restaurant due to anti-gay abuse by townsfolk

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

MORRIS, Manitoba, Canada — A gay couple in Canada said they are closing their Manitoba restaurant after just four months because of ongoing anti-gay abuse leveled against them and their employees by local residents.

Dave Claringbould, 35, said homophobia is forcing him and his partner to shut the doors of their “Pots N Hands” restaurant in the town of Morris, about 45 miles south of Winnipeg, reported the Winnipeg Free Press.

Pots N Hands

Claringbould, a 35-year-old chef originally from the United Kingdom, said that when he and his partner opened a restaurant in rural Manitoba, they knew some people might have a problem with them being gay.

But, he said, they were also not expecting “blatant ignorance.”

Claringbould said that once a group of regular customers found out they were gay, they stopped patronizing the restaurant; others, he said, verbally attacked them in their restaurant and around town.

“We were asked if somebody was going to catch something off of the plate because we had prepared the food on it,” Claringbould said.

“We were very hurt and upset by it. Some of the narrow-minded things that have been said to us are absolutely shocking,” he added.

The town council has also weighed in, expressing regret that the owners are closing their restaurant due to insults about their sexual orientation.

“The Town of Morris is saddened to be losing a business run by two very polite individuals, and especially under these circumstances. We appreciate the concern that has been voiced, but please remember that painting an entire town with the same intolerant brush is akin to the ignorance that made this front page news to begin with,” the town council said in a statement released Wednesday by chief administrative officer Brigitte Duerksen.

“People form opinions, towns do not. Towns are made up of diverse groups of people, and sometimes there are a few who do not understand how differences are what makes a particular town unique,” said the council in the letter.

But not everyone has expressed support; one local restaurant owner, George Ifantis, who runs George’s Burgers & Subs, said he has nothing against the Pots N Hands owners, but understands that some customers might be uncomfortable with their sexuality.

“A lot of people don’t like it,” said Ifantis. “You don’t know what they’re doing in the kitchen.”

The mayor and some town’s folk have offered the couple resources to help their business to stay open, but for Claringould it’s not enough to convince him and his partner to stay.

Most people in the community of 1,700 are not homophobic and have been welcoming, said Claringbould. But the others make it difficult to run a business and live there happily.

The couple plans to serve their last meal at the restaurant on April 13.

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Filed under: North America

51 more reader comments:

  1. :( No bueno. :(

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:52pm
  2. What a bunch of ignorant bastards!!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:53pm
  3. In Canada?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:53pm
  4. Sometimes the headlines you post make me happy. Other times they make me so freaking depressed at the world we live in.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:53pm
  5. FUKC them! Come to NYC :)

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:53pm
  6. *sigh* Yes, anti-gay BS happens even here :(

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:54pm
  7. That’s fucked up

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:54pm
  8. I thought you could legally get married in Canada? These residence need to get over themselves! Please relocate

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:55pm
  9. If I were closer to Manitoba, I would so go support them on their last day… people should organize to give them incredible business all day, to support them and set them off well for another, hopefully more accepting venture.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:56pm
  10. And the haters win. Way to go guys

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:56pm
  11. I expect better from Canada.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:57pm
  12. sad time

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:58pm
  13. The small towns outside of the cities in Canada are usually the most religious, bigoted areas here.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:58pm
  14. Suprised..if they lived in Alabama I would understand

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:59pm
  15. Don’t bend over and take it, stand Tall and Strong against those who wish to oppress you!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:00pm
  16. If it can happen in a country where same sex marriage is legal, just imagine the bigotry and hatred that can and does happen here in these “United States”!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:02pm
  17. That’s sad some people can be so cruel

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:03pm
  18. Sad, so so sad. All they’re trying to do is make a damn living and to live their lives in peace. It’s the town’s loss! They should move to a larger city an re-open.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:03pm
  19. Some small towns are small minded, wherever you are sadly…

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:06pm
  20. Tell the business owners we will take them here. Canada will just lose out in the end.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:09pm
  21. :/ There go my joyous Canadian stereotypes.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:11pm
  22. Hate, fear, suspicion all cloaked in ignorance and indoctrinations has no boundaries or borders.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:12pm
  23. This is sickening. I am so sorry that they feel the need to close their restaurant. Shameful. Sometimes I am embarrassed to be part of the human race. ***smh***

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:12pm
  24. Oh hell no!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:17pm
  25. so sad

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:18pm
  26. this is awful. I am so sorry for them!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:18pm
  27. They don’t know what they are doing in the kitchen WTF they are cooking in the kitchen. What a fucking ignorant thing to say.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:18pm
  28. They should just move it somewhere else.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:23pm
  29. It’s all about location, location, location. They should attempt to re-open in a gay community, maybe even a different province, and ONLY hire people in the LGBT community.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:23pm
  30. please do not close cuz then the bigots win. Stay strong. Post your address on FB and I am sure people will come visit you and make you successful.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:24pm
  31. So, so sad.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:28pm
  32. I’m guessing if an “entire town” had stepped up and said they were not going tolerate this behavior, the guys would not be shutting down the business?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:33pm
  33. no! don’t close don’t let the idiots win!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:33pm
  34. Sad

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:36pm
  35. I’m really disappointed. I thought Canada was more progressive and open-minded. I feel very bad for the couple.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:37pm
  36. It is gonna get worse as the bigots feel they are loosing in the face of logic. They will become crazy. We have to be strong. We have right and reason on our side. We must endure!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:37pm
  37. Shocked. I always thought Canada was more accepting.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:38pm
  38. I used to know a very evil-minded man who now pastors a church out there. I wonder if he started this.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:45pm
  39. Shameful

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:49pm
  40. Canada, I am disappoint.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:53pm
  41. The most ignorant sentence in the entire article is when the other restaurant owner said that people may not be comfortable because you don’t know what they’re doing in the kitchen. REALLY!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 4:08pm
  42. So sad.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 4:26pm
  43. Wow in Canada too.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 4:45pm
  44. stand up for yourself ,dont let them win ………

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 4:58pm
  45. So much for friendly Manitoba, sounds a bit leery with the competition since the comment about what they could be doing in the kitchen was from another restaurant.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 4:59pm
  46. It saddens me that intolerance exists in our world and people are so insensitive toward people who are different. May these two individuals find peace and happiness and strength to overcome this blatant discrimination. I pray for more compassion and understanding in our world.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 5:50pm
  47. Some people are fucked up

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 6:14pm
  48. Canada is not the all-welcoming and all-loving eutopia haven so many people cream their pants over. They have a bunch of problems there as we do here. Why people get so utterly shocked when something like this happens there is beyond me.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 6:15pm
  49. What do straight people do in the kitchen?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 6:45pm
  50. Sad! It’s all I can say!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 6:46pm
  51. OMG, this is sad. Where’s the love? There town needs to know it’s 2013, not 1813.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 8:23pm