Virginia restaurant denies service to right-wing group based on their anti-LGBTQ policies
Photo: Shutterstock

The Supreme Court heard a case this week on a Colorado web designer who denied service to an LGBTQ couple getting married. Colorado, unlike many states, has its own anti-discrimination law, which prevents a denial of service "based on disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, or ancestry."

The web designer case is arguing that her First Amendment rights supersede the Colorado law because as a designer, she is using her own expression through her artistic interpretation. Thus, forcing her to do a same-sex marriage website would be a violation of her First Amendment rights. She's never been asked to design a same-sex marriage website, so her issue is hypothetical not based on any case.

In Virginia, however, another case is likely to become a larger story after a right-wing group was denied service for an event at a restaurant that doesn't share the values of the right-wing group, Virginia Business News said.

Metzger Bar and Butchery, in the Richmond Union Hill neighborhood, posted a statement on Instagram about the company's decision to cancel the reservation for the Family Foundation.

IN OTHER NEWS: 'The damage has been done': Fox Business host refuses to let Trump walk back threat to Constitution

"Metzger Bar and Butchery has always prided itself on being an inclusive environment for people to dine in," the restaurant said in the statement. "In eight years of service, we have very rarely refused service to anyone who wished to dine with us. Recently we refused service to a group that had booked an event with us after the owners of Metzger found out it was a group of donors to a political organization that seeks to deprive women and LGBTQ+ persons of their basic human rights in Virginia.”

Unlike Colorado, Virginia doesn't protect a group based on their political beliefs. The state's Human Rights Act covers "unlawful discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, or disability."

The denied group, the Family Foundation, proclaims on their website that they're not a church nor are they pushing a specific religion, but rather their interpretation of the Bible on government laws. Their goals, as stated, are an "advocate for policies based on Biblical principles that enable families to flourish at the state and local level." They don't cite a specific religion outside of the Bible.

That includes advocacy against marriage equality and LGBTQ+ human rights, they deny gender identity outside of male or female, the group also pushes a policy that parents should be able to do whatever they want to their children without government involvement and they deny a woman's right to choose.

The restaurant explained that many staff members were LGBTQ or women and that they shouldn't be forced to serve a group like the Family Foundation, which "seeks to deprive women and LGBTQ+ persons of their basic rights in Virginia."

Despite the issue being a political one, the Family Foundation's director of government relations, Todd Gathje, is trying to paint it as religious discrimination, which could make it difficult since the group indicates they're pushing political policy, reported WRIC News. Gathje makes the case himself in the group's public statement that they aren't a church organization but a political one.

“We’ve had events at restaurants all over the city and never encountered a situation like this,” Gathje said. “It’s no secret that we are very much engaged in the public policy debate on a number of controversial issues. But we never expected that we would be denied service at a restaurant based on our religious values or political beliefs.”

The restaurant is now under attack by the right-wing with activists flooding their Yelp and Google reviews for being against the right-wing political group.

Read the full report here.