Raleigh, N.C. — A lesbian couple say they were forced to leave Cameron Village in Raleigh after eating lunch because they were kissing in public.
Caitlin Breedlove says she and her girlfriend were sitting on a bench with their arms around each other and had kissed briefly on the cheek when, she says, a security guard approached them, told them that “being affectionate” was “inappropriate” and asked them to leave because "no one wants to see that at Cameron Village."
Breedlove, who is the co-director of Southerners on New Ground, says she asked the security guard if they would be asked to leave if the two were a man and a woman and that the guard replied “no.”
The officer had not received other complaints about them, Breedlove said.
"We were honestly surprised and saddened that we were asked to leave," she said.
After the encounter, the couple went into the Flying Biscuit, where they had just eaten lunch.
"They were distraught when they came back in here," Flying Biscuit manager Dan Palatucci said Thursday.
He says he took the issue to Cameron Village management and feels they are working to get to the bottom of what happened.
"I know Cameron Village as a whole is not taking it lightly. They are aware of it, but are trying to get information about the incident," he said.
York Properties, which manages Cameron Village, did not comment Thursday and said a representative for the shopping plaza was out of the office.
Katy Parker, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, says the advocacy organization is looking into the claim.
"We're really appalled this would happen to these women, and we're looking into any legal recourse," she said.
According to its website, Southerners on New Ground is a social justice group that “envisions a multi-issue southern justice movement that unites across class, age, race, ability, gender, immigration status and sexuality.”
Breedlove says a few people have asked her if she and her girlfriend planned the incident. She says the confrontation was not a stunt.