The River Valley Equality Center claims its fundraiser was canceled by the Sisters Gourmet Bistro after the restaurant found out it was a gay and lesbian advocacy group.
Sisters Owner Richard Hodo told ABC’s Northwest Arkansas affiliate, KHBS, that “there were no reservations to hold any kind of fundraiser” and informed the RVEC that he does not support their cause” and “that if they want to do that that’s their business.”
“I do not care, but I don’t support their lifestyle and their cause,” Hodo added. “This is a private club and I have the right to refuse service to anyone.”
RVEC Director Erin Fowler said Hodo was “embarrassed” to be associated with their group and likened the RVEC to the Ku Klux Klan.
“What I told the lady on the on the phone,” was, Hodo clarified, “if the KKK came here and wanted to hold a fundraiser rally and all that, I wouldn’t allow that either.”
“It felt like he was comparing us as equals with the KKK and we’re about completely opposite things,” said Sarah Sarrubbo, an organizer with the RVEC. They had hoped to raise money to cover the costs of applying for their non-profit status, now as a result they are planning an Awareness Day.
“We feel it is important that this man see who we are,” they wrote on their Facebook wall. “We will just be there to raise Awareness that the LGBT community does exist in this area, including Van Buren, Arkansas.”