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Two lesbians claim a minister had them thrown off the premises of a Tim Hortons in Blenheim, Ont., because of their sexual orientation.
But Rev. Eric Revie of Glad Tidings Community Church says he thought they were a heterosexual couple inappropriately kissing outside the window of the Tim Hortons during the last week of September.
Revie, who was at the restaurant with his family, asked the manager to instruct the couple to tone it down.
Riley Duckworth, 25, of London, Ont., and her partner Patricia Pattenden, 23, say they did nothing wrong.
They claim they were outside holding hands and enjoying a coffee when they kissed each other on the cheek.
Revie and the Tim Hortons manager both felt the kiss went too far.
"We weren't making out or anything," Duckworth told CBC Windsor's Early Shift. "We weren't doing anything grotesque."
Duckworth said Pattenden's mother was sharing the bench with the couple so they wouldn't have dreamed of doing anything offensive.
Duckworth said the manager told them their behaviour was unacceptable and that they had five minutes to leave or the police would be called. So they left.
"We didn’t want any more of a scene. We were already embarrassed," Duckworth said.
"The guests' behaviour went beyond public displays of affection and was making other guests feel uncomfortable," Tim Hortons manager of public affairs Alexandra Cygal wrote in an email to CBC News. "The management has apologized to Riley and Patricia and invite them back to their restaurant."
Duckworth said she emailed Tim Hortons immediately following the incident in September, but never heard from anyone until after the company issued a public statement this week.
She said she is still waiting for, and wants, a personal apology.
The couple are planning to return to the Tim Hortons location in Blenheim — to protest what they call discrimination.
Duckworth, Riley and a community group pushing the issue plan to occupy the area around the coffee shop Thursday afternoon to send a message to the company.
"As far as we're concerned, the corporate chain has a responsibility to discipline their franchise and make it clear that when you see that big Tim Hortons sign it's not representative of no gays allowed," said social justice activist Tracy Lamourie, who is helping to organize the protest.
"We don't want this to happen to anyone else," Duckworth said.
According to a news release issued by the couple and distributed by Lamourie, the minister also held a prayer service to "save the couple's souls" right in front of them in the parking lot.
CBC News tried unsuccessfully to reach Revie at his church in Blenheim.
Pamela Baurer, a Blenheim resident and Tim Hortons patron, defended Revie's complaint and character.
"I've been in situations with my three kids before and there's been inappropriate language or sexual content in a park where I've said politely, do you mind taking this somewhere else?" Baurer said.
Source CBC News
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