We already know that kissing can get gays kicked out of a Baltimore Ravens game, but what does it take to get booted from a North Carolina shopping center? Holding hands.
Caitlin Breedlove, who happens to be co-director of the minority activist group Southerners on New Ground, says she and her girlfriend were told to leave Raleigh’s Cameron Village by a security guard (and the guard’s supervisor) after they finished eating lunch and sat down on a nearby bench, where they shared a peck on the cheek. “And at that point,” says Breedlove, “we asked, ‘Would that be the same if it was a man or a woman?’ Because we see a lot of men and women walking around, holding hands being affectionate and she said, ‘No. It’s because you’re same sex, and it’s not appropriate.'” [ABC 11]
UPDATE: Officials from York Properties, which manages the shopping center, met with the couple Saturday and announced it suspended-slash-reassigned the security guard who asked them to leave, while the guard’s supervisor and other staffers will receive additional sensitivity training. Dan Palatucci, who manages the Flying Biscuit restaurant where the couple ate before being approached by the guard, says he notified Cameron Village brass about the incident. In a statement, the company’s president George York says, “We apologized that the women were offended, and we affirmed that Cameron Village and York Properties, Inc. have no tolerance for discrimination of any kind and believe all people deserve the right to be treated fairly in their work, homes and daily lives.” (York Properties does claim the couple volunteered to leave, countering the claim the security officer told them to go.) Not that the apology means Breedlove is withdrawing plans for a Sunday demonstration across the street.