Alleged Discrimination against Gays Leads to Restaurant Boycott

September 13, 2010

A decision by the management at a Costa Rican restaurant to confront two gay men about “inappropriate behavior” has erupted onto social media networks across the country as gay-rights activists come to the defense of the two men involved.

The men allegedly greeted each other with a kiss on the cheek, prompting the management of La Buca restaurant, in the eastern San José suburb of San Pedro, to send over a waiter to ask them to leave. In Costa Rica, a kiss on the cheek is the standard greeting between women, and between men and women.

“To these people, a hug and a kiss on the cheek was the last assault on morality and decency,” said William Alvarez, one of the men, writing about the incident.

The restaurant later responded that it does not allow public displays of affection between either heterosexuals or homosexuals.

But an Internet-inspired boycott had already been launched, and news of the alleged discrimination reached international media venues such as Yahoo! and MSN.

“If this situation is true, I will definitely stop going to this place and tell my friends not to go,” wrote one commenter, Francisco Madrigal, on the website of popular Costa Rican radio host Amelia Rueda. He called it “an issue of rights that transcends sexual orientation.”

Another, commenting on the Yahoo! Travel website, said, “It’s outrageous that in a country that prides itself on being tolerant and peaceful, these hateful things happen. I’m never going back to the place, my money, apparently, is not welcome.”

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