Public Bar

Hayden Donnell writes at NZ Herald:

A lesbian couple is complaining to the Human Rights Commission after allegedly being kicked out of a Wellington bar for kissing.

But the bar’s owner is rejecting claims her staff member discriminated against the couple, saying their removal for “inappropriate behaviour” had nothing to do with their sexuality.

In an open letter on her Facebook page, Rebekah Galbraith said she was kicked out of Public, on Courtenay Place, at about 2:50am on Sunday when a male staff member spotted her kissing her girlfriend goodbye.

Putting aside for one moment the issue, the bar is also displaying stupid business sense. Two girls making out is not going to offend patrons and drive them away. Kicking them out for doing so, will.

He would not justify making them leave – only giving a repeated command; ‘you need to leave, both of you now’, she said.

Once they were outside on Courtenay Place, she accused him of targeting her because she was gay.

“He agreed, and shrugged, and said ‘it’s not my place’, and with a smirk, claimed he ‘wished it could be different’.

I can’t see any reason Galbraith would be making this up, and so this is blatant discrimination. Either the bar bans all PDAs (not necessarily a bad thing), or it allows all PDAs. You can’t say it is okay for some couples to kiss, but not others.

Public owner Gina Mills said her staff member did not discriminate against the couple because of their sexuality.

She said Ms Galbraith and Ms Leadbeater were behaving inappropriately.

In the absence of any details, this must be treated as spin.

They were asked to leave after they became aggressive at being told to “tone it down”, she said.

“It was absolutely irrelevant, their sexuality. Actually I feel discriminated against.

“Now I’m being called anti-gay, that I’m discriminating. It’s become personal and it’s absolutely wrong.”

Ms Mills would not reveal any details about the couple’s inappropriate behaviour.

Again, in the absence of details, the denials ring hollow.

UPDATE: The couple have withdrawn their complaint. It has been suggested their kissing extended to making out on a table. If so, then Public Bar was well within their rights. The CCTV footage though doesn’t show the alleged table incident.

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