Gay couple says Volusia restaurant told them to stop being affectionate

Port Orange restaurant says couple wasn't told they weren't welcomed

PORT ORANGE, Fla. – A gay couple felt singled out after they said a Volusia County restaurant told them to stop being affectionate with each other.

"Kissing on the lips, hugging, holding each other. Just being like a normal straight couple, and they were pretty much offended by it," said James Lacey.

Lacey, a U.S. Marine veteran, said it happened Sunday afternoon at the Original First Turn Restaurant in Port Orange.

"We were just having a good time," he said.

Lacey said a group of men, including his boyfriend, were having drinks when a manager pulled Lacey to the side.

"She said some of the customers were complaining about our PDA and were offended. The manager told us that it's not welcomed here," he said.

Lacey said he returned to the table and the group decided to leave.

"I'm pretty sure if you saw a man and woman giving kiss on the cheek or a kiss on lips, they're not going to say that's not tolerated here, that's not welcomed. That's ridiculous. I truly feel it's because we're a gay couple." Lacey said. 

News 6 spoke with a manager over the phone who said they never once told Lacey he wasn't welcomed, and said, "We are a patriotic and family restaurant of more than 30 years. We don't discriminate against anybody. We never have and never will. Safety and comfort for all our customers is top priority."

But for Lacey, he said he will not be coming back.

"Everybody's willing to take us in, but the second you show public affection, there's somebody who's offended by it. And we're the ones who pay the price. We're the ones who need to leave,."

About the Author:

Loren Korn is a native Texan who joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2014. She was born and raised in Houston and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Journalism.