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Arkansas shop owner tells lesbian couple not to hold hands: ‘I want this to be a family store’



An Arkansas shop owner defended his decision to ask a lesbian couple to stop holding hands in his place of business, saying he wants his store to be “a family store.”

According to Ashley Looper, she and her fiance Jessica Perkins were browsing in Spa City Treasures in Hot Springs when owner Steve Salyers admonished them for holding hands.

“My reaction was, ‘Excuse me?,'” Looper told Arkansas Matters. “We weren’t doing anything but trying to spend money and time together. We weren’t being derogatory. We weren’t being all handsy. Simply holding hands.”


Owner Salyers saw it differently.

“They were loving on each other a lot and holding hands and they pretty much did it the whole way through the store,” he explained. “I just felt like they were just doing something that was inappropriate to have kids around. That’s all. It would have been the same whether it had been regular people or not. I was as polite as I could and said, ‘Please don’t do it while you’re in the store.’ Didn’t ask them to leave. Didn’t escort them outside.”

According to Salyers, what he saw wasn’t the kind of thing children should see.

“I’m a family person so I want this to be a family store,” Salyers said. “It’s like I wouldn’t want to take my kids to a strip club or something.”

Explaining they put back items they planned to purchase and left the store, Looper said there was no reason for Salyers to approach them.

“Holding someone’s hand, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that,” Looper said. “We’re your average couple. We want to be treated that way. I’m not ashamed, she’s not ashamed.”


“Love is love, and no one else should be able to say anything about it,” she added. “I don’t judge people for who they’re with. We don’t want to be judged for who we’re with.”

Watch the video below via KARK:

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2020 Election

We are witnessing the birth of a movement — and the downfall of a president



They almost always begin to right wrongs: illegitimate wars; decades of discrimination on the grounds of gender or racial or sexual identity; killings of innocents by police or gun-toting lunatics; oppression by governments wielding unequal laws; the deeply embedded legacy of centuries of racism.

This article first appeared in Salon.

They are imperfect. Arising out of rage, they can be unfocused, inchoate, contradictory. Protesting violence, they often involve violence. Protesting oppression, they sometimes oppress by destroying public spaces, small businesses, even entire neighborhoods.

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COVID-19 research scandal: Unwanted diversion during pandemic



The first research scandal of the coronavirus pandemic has created unnecessary distraction around the politically divisive drug hydroxychloroquine, scientists say, as questions swirl around the tiny health care company at the center of the affair.

On Thursday, most of the authors of major studies that appeared in The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) retracted their work and issued apologies, saying they could no longer vouch for their data after the firm that supplied it -- Chicago-based Surgisphere -- refused to be audited.

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Marriott ceases Cuban operations after new Trump sanctions



Marriott has been ordered by the US Treasury Department to close its Four Points Sheraton hotel in Havana by the end of August and abandon plans to open others in Cuba, a spokeswoman for the American hotel group told AFP on Friday.

"We entered the Cuban market in 2016, with permission from the US government," the spokeswoman said.

"Our operating license was reviewed and renewed in 2018. We have recently received notice that the government-issued license will not be renewed, forcing Marriott to cease operations in Cuba."

Marriott's entry into the Cuban market came during the administration of US president Barack Obama, a Democrat.

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