Local News

Ouster of gay couple from Fayetteville bar creates national backlash

Posted September 17, 2015 6:22 p.m. EDT

— A Fayetteville bar owner who kicked a gay couple out because of public displays of affection said Thursday she is getting threats from across the country via social media because of her actions.

Dustin Baker and Andrew Deras said Thursday that they went to listen to a band at Louie's Sports Pub on Robeson Street last Friday, and the owner confronted them when they started showing each other some affection.

"He put his arm around me, he gave me a kiss, and she said this wasn't right, this wasn't OK," said Deras, who was visiting from California. "She threatened both of us. He gave me a kiss. It was very minor. It was just a peck. It was two seconds."

Bar owner Pam Griffin said the kiss was more than just a kiss, and other customers were complaining. So, she said, she asked the couple to cool it.

"I walked up to them calmly. I asked them guys, you know, can you kind of just separate, kind of move apart?" Griffin said. "I don't care if you stay and drink. We don't need to be doing that, and just calm down because you're making people feel uncomfortable."

She said they then laughed and gave each other another big kiss.

"I just gave Andrew a kiss, and that's when she started getting really crazy," said Baker, a hair stylist in Fayetteville. "She's saying, 'This is enough. This is enough,' like basically telling us to get out."

The couple paid their bill and left.

Griffin said Baker and Deras weren't asked to leave because they are gay, only because, in her opinion, they were causing a disturbance. She noted that a heterosexual couple was acting similarly in the bar two weeks ago, and she likewise asked them to stop.

Baker and Deras could have stayed at the bar if they had complied with her request, she said.

Fayetteville attorney Mike Boose, who has no connection to the dispute, said Griffin had every right to ask the couple to leave.

"By the accounts that I heard is that, if then the response is to take it up a notch, then I think it was wholly appropriate to quell it," Boose said.