A gay Irish couple celebrating their second anniversary at a Dublin restaurant was asked to leave by a manager after other diners complained about them.
The writer, who was not identified by name, wrote a letter detailing their experience which was published in November edition of the Gay Community News magazine.
‘My partner and I were in a Dublin city centre restaurant celebrating our second anniversary, and we were being physically tactile with each other. Not kissing the faces of each other or anything, but holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes,’ he wrote.
‘A waiter came to our table and told us that customers at another table were complaining about us. He suggested that we stop showing each other physical affection.’
The couple then asked to see the manager, who also asked the couple to not be affectionate but added that he had no problem with gay people.
The letter continued, ‘When we said we had every right to show each other affection, the manager said that it was unfortunate that other customers were uncomfortable, and suggested that we leave. He told us we wouldn’t be charged for our meal.
‘As we were leaving the restaurant, feeling humiliated, a woman at one of the tables, probably the one who had complained about us, said the word “disgusting”.
Although voters in Ireland approved a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage in May, he said his recent experience ‘has really shaken the foundations of what I had come to believe postreferendum about my country.’
‘This is not the indication, on any level, of acceptance, or even tolerance.’
‘We like to think of Ireland as a place where gay people are fully accepted and respected, especially since the landslide passing of the same-sex marriage referendum, but if my experience last week is anything to go by, this is still a surface image.’
On Thursday, same-sex marriage was signed into law in Ireland – five months after it became the first country to legalize gay marriage by popular vote in May, with 62.1% in favor of the bill.