While celebrating their anniversary at a Dublin restaurant, a gay couple claims a waiter told them to leave due to complaints from other diners.
A letter that ran in the November issue of GCN, an Irish magazine, claims that fellow diners were “uncomfortable” because the couple was holding hands:
“My partner and I were in a Dublin city centre restaurant celebrating our second anniversary and we were being physically tactile with each other. Not kissing the faces of each other or anything, but holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes.”
“A waiter came to out table and told us that customers at another table were complaining about us. He suggested that we stop showing each other physical affection.”
The couple insisted they had absolutely every right to hold hands and asked to speak to the manager.
The manager asked them both to leave.
“When we said we had every right to show each other affection, the manager said that it was unfortunate that other customers were uncomfortable, and suggested that we leave. He told us we wouldn’t be charged for our meal.”
The letter’s writer says they were “humiliated” by the manager’s actions, and as they left the restaurant, someone eating at another table said they were “disgusting”:
“As we were leaving the restaurant, feeling humiliated, a woman at one of the tables, probably the one who had complained about us, said the word ‘disgusting.'”
The author of the letter says this incident has destroyed his perception of Ireland as a tolerant place following May’s referendum, which made it the first country in the world to legislate for gay marriage by popular vote.
“This is not the indication,” he wrote, “on any level, of acceptance or even tolerance. The whole experience has really shaken the foundations of what I had come to believe post-referendum about my country,” he wrote.