Target: Ed McGovern, owner of The Stingray Café in North Carolina.
Goal: To protest the anti-gay letter given to a lesbian couple by restaurant owner Ed McGovern.
In December of last year, a restaurant owner in New Bern, North Carolina wrote a letter condemning the lifestyle of two lesbian women and proceeded to give it to them as they were leaving his establishment. The handwritten letter included claims of God’s opposition to homosexuality and a plea for the women to see how their sexual orientation “hurt everyone” and to “ask the Lord to open your eyes before it’s too late.” Owner Ed McGovern claims God told him to write the letter, and he gave it to the women “out of love.” Not only did McGovern hand the letter to the women, but he waited until after they had paid their bill. He also told reporters this was not the first time he had done this.
McGovern claims he gave the letter to the couple because they were kissing outside The Stingray Café restaurant, while the couple stated they were simply holding hands. Regardless of his customers’ display of affection or general lifestyle, McGovern does not have the right to publicly discriminate against his patrons on the basis of sexual orientation. The women did not ask for preferential treatment, nor were they performing lewd acts in public. They were simply expecting to enjoy a meal as any other heterosexual couple would. One of the women, Shawnee McPhail, explained in an interview: “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.’”
While McGovern has the right to believe whatever he chooses, LGBTQ people also have the right to live their lives free from discrimination. Sign the petition below to tell Ed McGovern that his discriminatory actions and homophobic statements are unacceptable.
Dear Mr. McGovern,
Your recent letter to the McPhail couple regarding their sexual orientation is an unacceptable display of discrimination and hate. You have stated that you wrote the letter because the two women were kissing outside The Stingray Café. Would you have done the same if you observed a heterosexual couple kissing or holding hands near your establishment?
As the owner of a restaurant, you have built your livelihood on the patronage of people who have diverse lifestyles and backgrounds, whether you were aware of their choices or not. Yet you have insulted not only two of your past customers, but you have also lost thousands of potential customers from the LGBTQ community and those that support them. As an American, you live amongst fellow citizens of different races, ethnicities, economic statuses, lifestyles, religious beliefs, and sexual orientations. The McPhail couple was not asking for preferential treatment; they were only reasonably expecting to share in the equal rights of other heterosexual customers. Yet you failed to uphold these American values of equality and freedom. As an individual who claims to believe in the Christian Bible, you supposedly believe in loving your neighbor and not casting judgment upon others. Yet you have done the complete opposite by writing the hateful letter and imposing your own judgment on your neighbors.
Like all Americans, you have the freedom of speech and the ability to believe in whatever you may choose. However, lesbian and gay people have the right to live their lives free from your discrimination, just like all Americans.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Charles LeBlanc via Flickr.