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Shop owner discriminated against same-sex couple, woman claims

A shop owner allegedly kicked a same-sex couple off her premises after she spotted them cuddling.

So claimed Cheryl Pooley, whose letter in response to the “discrimination” she witnessed over the weekend is in today’s edition of

The Royal Gazette.

She maintained that the couple was being “chastised” outside the East End eatery because their show of affection was between two women.

“The owner came out with the look of thunder,” she recalled.

“It appeared that they were asked to leave as there was little response from the two teenagers and mostly a lot of dialogue coming from the owner.

“I wanted to get out our van to tell the lady off, but my family asked me to let it go.

“But they all agreed that the owner was out of order and mean in the way she approached [the couple]. I simply wished to respond to the case as I would in any form of discrimination.”

Acknowledging the Island’s cultural divide, the one-time National Liberal Party candidate added: “Many of the youngsters born after the mid-1990s consider same-sex relationships to be a normal part of life.

“Apart from this generation, many Bermudians are still hostile towards same-sex couples.”

She said the issue also showed a racial divide.

“From my experience, and from the people I have talked to that are my contemporaries, white Bermudians and white guest workers are more open-minded to same-sex relationships than black Bermudians and black guest workers.

“Religion is the cornerstone of the discrimination. It seems like preachers rarely discuss adultery and sex outside of marriage, but yet they focus on homosexuality, as if this sin is greater.”

Referencing a popular quote from the New Testament, Ms Pooley said that due to a “log” in her eye, she didn’t pass judgment on homosexuals.

“But I do acknowledge that it is a difficult life to live because of discrimination and it must at times be a very sad situation to be in.”

Peter Carpenter, who campaigned in the 1990s in favour of the Stubbs Bill that became a flashpoint over gay rights in Bermuda, said it was “certainly warming to know that someone has spoken up in support of a lesbian couple”.

However, Mr Carpenter pointed out that the case for discrimination wasn’t necessarily self-evident.

“It’s not clear to me that the two women were asked to leave because of the fact of their sexual orientation or whether it was felt that their behaviour was considered too intimate to be acceptable in a public place — which could also have applied to a heterosexual couple, for that matter,” he said.

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Published April 10, 2013 at 10:34 am (Updated April 10, 2013 at 10:33 am)

Shop owner discriminated against same-sex couple, woman claims

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