California Gay Couple, Friend File Suit After 'Gay Bashing' Ejection from Restaurant

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(EDGE) A gay couple and their friend were ordered out of a Newport Beach, CA restaurant by an epithet-hurling bartender who accused one of them of using a fake ID, local CBS affiliate KCAL reported.

A fellow patron injected himself into the situation when he grabbed two of the men and dragged them outside, then threw them to the ground. That man is now wanted by police, who have put out a call for information on his identity.

"Newport Beach police Thursday released a surveillance photo of the suspect believed to have committed the assaults," KCAL reported. "He is described as white, 40 to 55 years of age, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds with gray hair. He was wearing shorts and white t-shirt at the time of the battery."

The violent drama unfolded at Balboa Inn's Sienna Restaurant on April 13 when Angel Bonilla, his partner Clement Serafin, and their friend Colton Moyer went to the establishment with the intention of getting dinner. A female bartender claimed the Serafin's ID was fake, hurled anti-gay abuse at the men, and told them to leave.

That's when a large man involved himself, grabbing Moyer and dragging him out of the establishment. "Heading towards the door in his arms - it was the most terrifying thing I've probably ever been through," Moyer told the news station.

Bonilla grabbed his phone and started taking video as the assault took place. "I'm seeing Colton, like, getting hit through the doorway, and I'm just like, 'What the hell is going on? Why is he doing this?' " Bonilla told the CBS affiliate.

Video taken from outside the building shows the unidentified large man hurling Bonilla out the restaurant's doorway. KCAL reported that the video shows the man screaming "You've been warned!" at Bonilla.

The three men, all Orange County residents, characterize the assault as "gay bashing," and are now suing the establishment, The Mercury News reports. Their $3 million suit outlines their version of events, points out that Serafin is in his 30s, says that his ID is valid, and states that the bartender demanded to see ID in the first place "because she wanted to create a ruse for refusing to serve them when her real motive was to not serve gay men."

The suit also suggests racial and homophobic bias was involved, saying, "This was done with the specific intent to cause humiliation and mental suffering... because they are gay and because Bonilla is Hispanic."

Jim Bohm, the lawyer representing the men, says that both Moyer and Bonilla ended up in the hospital.

Attorney Jerry Kaplan, representing the Balboa Inn, put out a statement claiming that the "establishment does not condone discrimination against anyone and as a matter of fact this hotel has hosted gay weddings in the past and is completely against any type of discrimination whether religious, cultural, sexual or racial."

But the suit alleges a history of anti-gay bias at the establishment, new station NBC 4 reported.

"The lawsuit alleges an unnamed bartender and a security guard at the restaurant have shown an 'extreme animosity toward gays and minorities' through Yelp postings," NBC4 noted.


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