East Texas restaurant to gay couple: “We just don’t like fags.”

by Chrislove –

If you caught ericlewis0‘s diary last night, you know that Houston’s City Council voted yesterday to approve an Equal Rights Ordinance banning discrimination against LGBT people (among other categories of people) in public accommodations, city contracting, and private employment. Although over 200 miles north of Houston and well out of the ordinance’s jurisdiction, an incident in the East Texas city of Pittsburg shows just why these kinds of laws are needed. Because yes, contrary to what right-wingers often claim lie through their teeth about, there are businesses that will refuse service to LGBT people if they are allowed to do so. And plenty of them. Case in point: Big Earl’s, a Pittsburg restaurant and bait shop that actually has an official policy on how men and women are supposed to “act”:


An East Texas gay couple, Collin Dewberry and Kelley Williams, saw that policy in action earlier this week, when they tried to eat breakfast at the restaurant. Actually, they didn’t try to eat breakfast–they did eat breakfast, which they enjoyed and paid for. Because gay dollars may have come from gay hands, but they’re still dollars to Big Earl’s. Just so you don’t come back. On their way out, the waitress banned them from the restaurant, citing the restaurant’s right to refuse service to anybody, especially men who don’t “act like men.” According to the couple, the waitress told them, “We don’t serve fags here.” Earl Cheney, “Big Earl” himself and father of the waitress in question, corrected the record and said his daughter only stated that they “just don’t like fags.” Because that’s better, I guess. More from KLTV-7:

Big Earl said it was their behavior, touching legs, that was against policy, not their sexual orientation.“I didn’t go over there to inspect to see what he was rubbing. That’s just not appropriate in a family restaurant that has a sign on the front door that we just don’t do that here,” Earl Cheney, the restaurant owner, said.

That waitress who used a derogatory term is Earl’s daughter.

“She’s a young lady, didn’t know what else to say, and they just kept on and she finally said we just don’t like fags,” he explained.

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He said the men were badgering his daughter, the waitress, and it’s all on surveillance video, but he wouldn’t let KLTV see that.

He went on to claim that Dewberry and Williams exited the restaurant while “carrying on.” What is wrong with these gay people, making such a scene after being told not to come back to the restaurant because they “just don’t like fags”? Says Dewberry:

We’ve never had that kind of hate displayed to us before…I laughed. I was shocked. I didn’t know really how to react.

Don’t worry, though. Big Earl says that lots of gay couples eat at his restaurant. But those couples act like men and ladies. If you’re still wondering about the specifics of this policy, join the club, but Big Earl himself offers these guidelines:

The same thing it says. That a man’s supposed to stand up and be a leader. He’s not supposed to be a woman. He’s not supposed to come in here in a dress.

Unbelievable. Except that it’s not. At all.

The Big Earl’s Facebook page has been getting flooded with responses, largely in support of the couple. There are also some gems posted by the restaurant. Such as this:

My goodness, does anyone read or study? Big Earl has spent his life in the military to defend this country and will be happy to explain the constitution to you. Earl is well versed in the Bible and Christianity, has travelled the world and is well educated. It would have been nice for the full interview to have played in order to explain the background to what caused the incidence. The quote “we don’t serve fags here” was never said, instead, after being badgered, the young lady said “We do not like fags”. The behavior portrayed by the young couple was simply inappropriate and would have been considered so no matter what sexual orientation.

So there you have it. At least Big Earl’s is open and blatant about their bigotry, I guess. I don’t look for the restaurant to change its policy short of statewide or federal anti-discrimination legislation taking effect (and even then…), but I think what Big Earl and his minions are probably going to find over the next several days and weeks is that the landscape has changed on LGBT rights, even in East Texas.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos