A British gay couple has triggered fresh debate over public displays of affection after claiming they were thrown out of a London pub for kissing.
As the Guardian reports, Jonathan Williams and James Bull said they were ejected from the John Snow in Broadwick Street pub in London's Soho after their kiss was deemed "obscene" by the woman claiming to be the landlady.
"We weren't being over the top; there wasn't anything that would be deemed unseemly," Williams, a financial journalist, is quoted as saying. Both men claim they were not indulging in a "huge display of affection" but were merely sharing what they describe as a "hands-above-the-table" kiss on the lips. "I'm not the kind of person to do that kind of thing in public," Williams added.
Officials for the John Snow pub and Samuel Smith's brewery, which owns the central London venue, have thus far not commented on the incident, the Associated Press is reporting. Though London's Soho area has a number of gay pubs and other alternative venues, the John Snow pub is not designated and such. Still, other pub owners have slammed allegations that Williams and Bull might have been treated differently because they are gay.
Daniel Griffiths, owner of the Miners Rest in Barnsley, said the couple's sexual preference had no impact on the pub's decision. "From a personal point of view, whether they were gay, whether they were lesbians or whether they were heterosexuals, I would still have thrown them out," Griffiths told the BBC. "We make the house rules and we stand by those house rules. If he doesn't like the house rules, don't use the pub."
Bull isn't so convinced. "I felt so belittled, and to be made to feel so dirty and cheap over something like that - it's just wrong," he told the Telegraph.
The incident has inspired the couple to launch a tongue-in-cheek liveblog, and hundreds of gay rights' advocates have launched a Facebook page to mobilize a three-hour "kiss-in" at the pub as a protest.