Discrimination | Evangelical Christians | Evangelicals | News | North Carolina

North Carolina Cafe Owner Hands Lesbian Couple Letter Condemning Homosexuality As They Leave


Ariel and Shawnee McPhail, a married lesbian couple from North Carolina, say Ed McGovern, the owner of the Sting Ray Cafe in New Bern, handed them a letter as they left his restaurant, condemning their homosexuality, WCTI reports.

Said the letter:

God said in the last days that man and wom[a]n would be lover of self, more [than] the lover of God.

That man and woman would have unnatural [affection] for one another. Then, the coming of the Son of Man, who is Jesus. So please, look at your life. See how it hurt[s] everyone around you. And ask the Lord to open your eye[s] before it [is] to[o] late.

The Love of Christ

P.S. my daughter also was gay. It destroy[ed] her life and my grandson."

McGovern says he didn't like that the couple was kissing outside his restaurant, which they deny doing.

"First of all, we didn't kiss. We don't kiss in public. We were holding hands," said Shawnee McPhail. "Secondly, if I did kiss my wife in public, what married couple would you go to and say, 'how dare you. You cannot hold hands and you cannot kiss in public therefore you deserve my judgement.'"

Watch WCTI's interview with the couple HERE. Read the letter below.


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  1. @ JON ;
    I could not disagree more.
    What this man has done is expose the underlying homophobia that is pervasive among the evangelicals and those sad lonely bible-only reading people.

    He thinks he talks for god and has some moral superiority above us.
    No straight couple would ever have been treated in this mannner by a gay establishment.
    We are justified in our outrage and it's important that we do not let these petty put-downs go unanswered.....we have to safe guard our equality by being vigilant about our rights.
    We had better be "over the top" in our reaction to these petty slights lest they gain the traction as being called "disordered", per the Pope.
    You can "lie back and think of England" if you want, JON, but I won't tolerate this kind of bigotry from any homophobe....ever.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jan 11, 2013 11:32:15 AM

  2. OS2Guy, we actually have something called freedom of religion in this country, so, as good Americans, we don't ban anyone's religion. If you seriously think that banning Christianity is a good idea, perhaps you would have enjoyed Soviet Russia. Anyhoo - to your point....This one man in North Carolina does not speak for all of Christendom. Get your head out of your ass and realize that, just as all gay people aren't drag queens, or circuit boys, or knitting lesbians, all Christians aren't hatemongers. I assume you missed the announcement from the Episcopal Dean of the National Cathedral in Wshington DC that the cathedral will, immediately, begin to hold same-sex marriage cermonies? Have you missed that there is a widespread movement in the Methodist church of pastors saying that they will violate the church rules and perform gay weddings? Did you miss that the United Church of Christ has, for decades, welcomed gays as ministers and performed gay marriages? It's a big world out there. Explore it.

    Posted by: Sam | Jan 11, 2013 11:32:51 AM

  3. No, actually, Jon, when you do something wrong, expect punishment. Expect condemnation. Expect intolerance when you're not tolerant. I'm not going to tolerate someone who displays no tolerance towards me, and our community. Now, it's we who are taking control of our lives and our place in society. And incidents like this are completely unacceptable. So we're not going to simply allow discrimination occur unchecked, unabridged and not condemned. The only thing that does is make it easier for discrimination to continue.

    As for "convictions", that's not at all a defense for bigotry. If you're a bigot, you're going to be called a bigot. Deal with it or don't be a bigot.

    Posted by: Francis | Jan 11, 2013 11:34:06 AM

  4. Christians use this end of the world stuff since they started to scare people into doing what they want them to do, to be controlled and give them money when they talk about Jesus who of course tells them what to do and then they force that on others. It is a nice scam if you can pull it off and they have been pulling it off for a long time.

    Posted by: Troy | Jan 11, 2013 11:37:40 AM

  5. I'm so sick and tired of hearing about 'God's Love'. I don't need someone else telling me how 'God' hates me. In fact if this 'God' these people talk about were real I'd be happy to never meet it! I'd be much happier going to hell since according to these people everyone else I ever knew would also be there. Besides I think hell would be like a hot bath, at first it's a little uncomfortable but eventually you get used to it!

    Posted by: Will | Jan 11, 2013 11:37:49 AM

  6. It dounds like the owners are only semi-literate. Judging from their misquotes and attributing a half sentence or two out of context as what "God said" they have likely never read (and certainly never understood) the words they're citing, but are sure they "heard somewhere" that God "said" these things.

    One irony (among many) is that their whole business model is based on serving items (scallops, oysters, crab burgers) that the Bible says it is an abomination to eat.

    For example, maybe instead of a tip, patrons dhould be handing the owners a paragraph from Leviticus 11 9-12:

    “These you may eat, of all that are in the waters. Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat. But anything in the seas or the rivers that has not fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you. You shall regard them as detestable; you shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall detest their carcasses. Everything in the waters that has not fins and scales is detestable to you."

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 11, 2013 11:57:51 AM

  7. I love the way the yelp reviews slam these homophobic businesses. The cafe's yelp page has 53 reviews - of which 45 are one star. I'm sure there are more single stars to come.

    Posted by: Glenn I | Jan 11, 2013 12:06:00 PM

  8. Nothing to walk back here, @Jon. No one is infringing on the restaurant owner's right to have convictions, though you seem offended that people here are sharing their own convictions.

    The couple entered a business, minding their own business, paid to be there and to be treated gracefully, and the owner harassed them after collecting their money. They did nothing wrong, in their behavior at the restaurant or in exposing his bigotry to warn others. If he can't treat all his customers, even those whose values he may not share (cause, you know, a married lesbian couple is so threatening), with respect, he should get out of the public accommodations business.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jan 11, 2013 12:14:06 PM

  9. Ah Yes! The good ol' south! Where bigotry is not only widespread but a way of life.

    Posted by: Audi-owner | Jan 11, 2013 12:22:44 PM

  10. "It destroy[ed] her life and my grandson."

    Sounds like HE destroyed her life.

    Posted by: danswon | Jan 11, 2013 12:25:31 PM

  11. I am not interested in "walking back," which sounds suspiciously like hiding in the closet. When I go out in public and go to a business I expect to be treated the same as all other people. A few years back I was at a pizza place and these two teenagers were talking loudly and using anti-phrases. No one said anything and finally I turned and shouted so everyone in the place could hear, 'Cut the gay crap!" and they immediately apologized. If we don't speak up and stand our ground, nothing will change.

    Posted by: jht | Jan 11, 2013 12:36:43 PM

  12. LOL. North Carolina. The whites are bad, the blacks are worse, and the gays are worst of all.

    Posted by: Yupp | Jan 11, 2013 12:59:06 PM

  13. Nutjobs. Nutjobs everywhere. Being religion the common catalytic it’s gonna take a longer time for LGBT to be accepted. Sort of.

    Posted by: SayTheTruth | Jan 11, 2013 2:25:31 PM

  14. Unfortunately, they are too blind to realize that they and their condemnation of her is what destroyed her, if she indeed was destroyed, it wasn't homosexuality, it was the people around her who mostly crippled her.

    Posted by: nick | Jan 11, 2013 3:02:42 PM

  15. and I thought only the gay community preached, proselytized and recruited....This restaurant owner is way out of line not only with the religious stuff, but IT IS NONE OF HIS BUSINESS...and I hope the bad PR puts him out of business

    Posted by: Bernie | Jan 11, 2013 3:12:46 PM

  16. Can someone publish the telephone number of this cafe so we can all call them and complain ?

    Posted by: Icebloo | Jan 11, 2013 3:15:06 PM

  17. no family has ever been destroyed by homosexuality.

    only ever by anti-gay bigotry.

    kudos to these women for exposing this galling inhumane bigotry.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 11, 2013 3:23:40 PM

  18. as a lesbian and married woman myself i find ed mcgoverns actions tasteless - reprehensible judgemental and totally wrong he should be totally ashamed of himself

    Posted by: allyson nicole anderson - baxter | Jan 12, 2013 12:55:01 AM

  19. I am so sorry for what this couple encountered. Come to Canada sometime and see what America might be like 200 years from now.

    Posted by: Randal Oulton | Jan 12, 2013 2:55:58 AM

  20. Does this mean we won't be reading the headline: "Ed McGovern Named PFLAG Parent of the Year?"

    Posted by: ohbear1957 | Jan 12, 2013 1:50:54 PM

  21. I hope he starts handing out notes to all those adulterers in his cafe and calls for their deaths, as the Bible mandates.

    Posted by: Daniel Curzon | Jan 12, 2013 2:03:28 PM

  22. Ernie, how is it even possible to "infringe on one's right to have conviction?" Force them to take mind-altering drugs? Lock them up in a mental hospital and use psychological torture devices to get them to "recant" a set of beliefs? The purpose of beliefs is to act upon them. Even a totalitatian government can't literally get inside a person's brain and remove thoughts.

    I agree that the owner of the cafe behaved inapprorpiately. These people brought him business. They caused no trouble and their sexual orientation should not have been an issue. These women have every right to feel offended at receiving his note. But in fairness, there is no such thing as a constitutional right not to be offended. Disagreeing with people, or trying to change their views/behavior by handing them a note is not "direspecting" them. Who forced them to read the note? They don't have to do anything in particular to reject this man's beliefs.

    If these women asked me to I'd be willing to write the cafe owner a note saying that as a fellow Christian I side with the lesbian couple here. There is a time and place for evangelizing - in some instances it is awkward and counter-productive to engage in it. Also, he is likely to lose customers, both gay and straight, if he continues this.

    My point is that the cafe owner didn't do something illegal just because the women were offended. People do gauche and tacky things all the time, and we don't call on the law to reign them in. I know you'll be annoyed, Ernie, but I still have to say that its best not to take the other side's bait. They'll surely be presenting this as: "Poor Christian cafe owner faces boycott after handing lesbian couple a note offering them the love of Christ." They're getting desperate and this kind of misrepresentation is about all they have left.

    Posted by: Mary | Jan 12, 2013 2:47:13 PM

  23. There are gay and straight Christians on the side of the LGBT community fighting for the right to be exactly who God made each of us to be. The extreme language condemning all Christians as judgmental is to ignore the Christians that teach justice, freedom and peace and focus on the two Great Commandments Christ named -- love God and love your neighbor. The understanding is everyone is a neighbor. LGBT couples have friends in the Body of Christ. These friends believe judgment is God's business and fidelity one to the other matters. Friends also matter in the overall scheme of things.

    Posted by: Hannah Janine | Jan 12, 2013 6:02:26 PM

  24. The letter righter is obviously not a very bright bulb. The letter looks like it was written by a third-grader which is probably the grade that the person writing the letter stopped paying attention at school.

    Posted by: Bob | Jan 12, 2013 6:49:24 PM

  25. I wander if mr. mcgovern hands out letters to couples who have been divorced and remarried with children from more than one spouse? the bible is very clear on this issue. this is hypocracy and biggotry southern style.

    Posted by: willis mcgranahan | Jan 12, 2013 6:49:29 PM

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