Proposed Jim Crow laws for gay people are already taking effect in Kansas.
38-year-old Johnny Quinns-Smith wanted to get an egg-salad sandwich for himself and his fiance, Erique Boltzman. He went to his local diner outside Franton, near Scranton, a place where he and Boltzman had occasionally ate over the past 6 years. In fact, it was at this diner that the two met during a lunch hour.
But today, Quinss-Smith encountered something he thought he would never see in his lifetime: a sign. A sign that said, “Service Refused To Gay Couples.”
“I was in absolute shock, I mean, I could not even fathom what was going on,” he said. When he went into the restaurant, all went silent. The locals looked at him, with several pointing and whispering. Wiping out a cup, a server behind the restaurant’s main ordering station stared at him and then looked over at one of the newest signs next to the cash register.
“I looked at where several people’s eyes were tracking. Then there it was, it was a sign that said ‘No Gay Eating Here’.”
Not wanting to make a scene, Quinns-Smith quickly walked up to the stand where he had always been able to order his food. The server who had taken his order and brought him his food for years stood there in front of him and asked, “How can we help?”
“What is wrong. What is this sign meaning,” Quinns-Smith asked, feeling uncomfortable as eyes rested on him.
“It means you and your boyfriend can’t come eating in here no more, unless you find God,” a customer seated offered a response before staff said anything.
“You need to find God and the Bible,” someone else yelled out. The floodgates were open.
“We don’t want your germs on the silverware.” ”Just repent son, you can still be forgiven and be normal.” ”Being gay is not natural. It is not God’s way.”
Quinns-Smith ran from the restaurant, utterances from the customers making him absolutely horrified and uncomfortable. When he closed the door behind him, he saw the sign boldly positioned on the front door, right above business hours, “Service Refused to Gay Couples.” Quinns-Smith had not even noticed it when he walked in.
While he does not plan to return to the restaurant, Quinns-Smith is worried that so many people in town were so bold to talk him down about his lifestyle and that the restaurant was supporting their views, telling him he needs ‘Jesus and to read his Bible’ and to just ‘stop being gay.”
The Kansas House of Representatives recently passed a bill with a 73-49 vote that allows government workers and businesses the right to refuse services to gay couples. Fortunately, the bill lost traction in the Kansas Senate, but it is still alive and could become law in the state.
The story of this restaurant will become reality for more gay couples across the state, facing an unprecedented showing of ignorance that has unfortunately reached back from the turbulent 1960s and into our modern age of progress.
When Johnny Quinns-Smith hopped back into his car, his fiance was surprised. “Where’s our lunch?”
“I had to explain to him, that because we are a gay couple, some people already felt they had the right to deny us any service, and that included getting an egg salad sandwich so we could eat outside for lunch and enjoy a rarely warm winter’s day.”