Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gay Rights Activists Stage 'Kiss-In' at Alsip Restaurant

Via the Trib:

About 100 gay rights activists puckered up to prove a point at a south suburban restaurant Friday night.

"It's to educate people that homophobia of any kind is unacceptable," said Frank Nielsen, who organized the "kiss-in" demonstration after being asked by the restaurant's owner last month to stop kissing boyfriend Danny Hankes.

"My boyfriend and me are like anyone else," said Nielsen, 22. "I have straight allies and gay allies with me here tonight."

The protesters, men and women, straight and gay, were greeted calmly by both clientele and the owner of La Fiesta Azteca in Alsip, where at least four police cars idled outside. Once inside, the group clinked water glasses, kissed and applauded.

"They have their opinion, and I have mine," said restaurant owner Jaime Esparza. "I don't feel like I did anything wrong when I told them to leave."

Nielsen and Hankes said they kissed while having dinner at the restaurant in the 12600 block of South Pulaski Road on May 7, then were approached by the owner and told to stop.

"We kissed a few times on the lips, but it was not vulgar," said Hankes, 19, who lives in Lemont.

After being reprimanded, the couple decided to leave, Hankes said. But the owner blocked their path until they paid for their appetizers and drinks.

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