A lesbian couple dining at a café in New Bern, N.C., got something they didn’t expect from the establishment’s owner - a letter that condemned homosexuality and explained God’s opposition to the LGBT community, New Bern ABC station NewsChannel 12 reports.
When Arielle and Shawnee McPhail left the String Ray Café in the small North Carolina city, which is 112 east of Raleigh, on Dec. 4, restaurant owner Ed McGovern handed them a letter that stated, "God said in the last days that man and wom[a]n would be lover of self, more [than] the lover of God. That man and woman would have unnatural [affection] for one another. Then, the coming of the Son of Man, who is Jesus. So please, look at your life. See how it hurt[s] everyone around you. And ask the Lord to open your eye[s] before it [is] to[o] late. The Love of Christ. P.S. my daughter also was gay. It destroy[ed] her life and my grandson."
McGovern confirmed that he gave the couple the letter but, he told the TV station that he did it "out of love." He also revealed that he had done something similar to another lesbian couple in the past. The restaurant owner said he wrote the letter because he didn’t approve of the women kissing outside the café, although the couple deny having done so.
"First of all, we didn’t kiss. We don’t kiss in public. We were holding hands," Shawnee McPhail said. "Secondly, if I did kiss my wife in public, what married couple would you go to and say, ’how dare you. You cannot hold hands and you cannot kiss in public therefore you deserve my judgment.’"
The couple said that, while they respect McGovern’s right to any opinion he wants, he went too far. "If we’re experiencing it, then other people are too and that’s not fair," Ariel McPhail said.
Reviews for the String Ray Café have since plummeted on Yelp!. The restaurant currently just one out of fives stars with 219 reviews.
"How could you trust a restaurant owner with such hate in his heart to prepare your food? Maybe he won’t like the color of your skin, so he’ll pee on your hush puppies," read one comment.
Another wrote, "Or perhaps you ’look’ Muslim, and he will do worse. I feel bad for his daughter. I sincerely doubt it was being a lesbian that ruined her life -- I strongly suspect it was his lack of decent human and true Christian characteristics that did that."
Equality North Carolina, the leading LGBT rights organization in the state, released a statement about the incident criticizing McGovern. "While the discriminatory experience Ariel and Shawnee faced at New Bern’s The Stingray Café is not isolated, we, as a community, must roundly condemn it and ask that this diverse Eastern North Carolina town remain on the right side of history by refusing to tolerate it," Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality NC said.
The organization’s leadership vowed to visit New Bern next month "to open a dialogue and engage residents on LGBT issues."
From our media partners at EDGE