Lesbian Couple Condemned In Letter Handed By N.C. Restaurant Owner

Ed McGovern's restaurant in New Bern, N.C., specializes in seafood. He also disapproves of gay people. A lesbian couple got a taste of both in early December, when McGovern handed them a poorly written letter explaining that their love was "unnatural," and hastening the biblical "end of days."

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 told the local ABC-TV affiliate, WCTI, that he didn't approve of Ariel and Shawnee McPhail kissing outside his restaurant, The Stingray Cafe, and he gave the letter out of love, and has done so before. Shawnee McPhail told the news station that they were holding hands, not kissing.

Several business owners have recently made their anti-gay feeling well-known, most famously the president of the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A. This is perfectly protected free speech; the only issue is whether a view manifests itself in a way that illegally discriminates against employees or customers.

Perfectly Legal

While McGovern's behavior might qualify as harassment, it's perfectly legal. North Carolina does not have a law that prohibits discrimination against gays and lesbians, whether in housing, employment, or public facilities. A law banning sodomy is still on the state's books, and last May, North Carolina became the last state in the South to pass an amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages, partnerships and civil unions.

Such a letter may not be tolerated in other parts of the country though. A New York woman was awarded $25,000 last June, after a restaurant manager shoved her and called her a "f***ing dyke" while she was trying to eat breakfast (the scene deteriorated from there). And a Vermont resort was forced to pay out $30,000 to a couple months later, because it refused to host a lesbian couple's wedding reception.

More:Lesbian Couple Alleges Bank Of American Discriminated

Ed McGovern may believe the McPhails will face the wrath of the Lord, but he's already experienced the vengeance of the gods of Yelp. The Stingray Cafe is now at "one star" out of five on the review website, as users have flooded the restaurant's page with damnations.

One user, John M., pointed out that McGovern is in clear violation of the Bible's explicit ban on eating aquatic creatures without fins or scales. "Don't go, this place serves shellfish which is a blatant affront to God. It's important to support godly business," he writes, "and not ones that ... flagrantly and pridefully ignore biblical principles like the prohibition against eating shellfish...."

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