A gay couple is angered when addressed as ‘Mr. and Mrs.’ Is it homophobia?

Dear Civilities: My husband and I recently traveled to Hawaii to celebrate one of his milestone birthdays, and we decided to splurge on a very expensive private dinner on the beach at a four-star hotel. Before the trip, I e-mailed the events coordinator and spoke with her several times on the phone. I’m sure it was clear I am male. I explained that dinner was for my husband’s birthday, which obviously made us a same-sex couple.

Upon arrival, however, we were presented our customized dinner menus. Alas, they referred to us as a heterosexual couple, “Mr. & Mrs.” We were shocked at first, but the more I thought about it, the angrier I became.

We made the most of it and tried to have a good time, but when it came down to it, we were very disappointed. I don’t really have a question — I’m just angry and upset that our special evening was marred by their lack of attention to detail. — Paul in New York

Answer: I believe this is your question: Is what happened some form of anti-gay discrimination or homophobia — or is it just another example of carelessness and thoughtlessness in the hospitality biz?

Regardless of your particular circumstances, it’s difficult to ignore that some hotels, restaurants and even bakeries continue to discriminate against gays and lesbians. In January 2013, an Oregon bakery was in the news for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. (A discrimination case is ongoing, and the owners are reportedly facing a $150,000 fine.) Both Arizona and Kansas mounted strong legislative efforts to permit business owners to refuse service to LGBT customers if doing so violated their religious beliefs. In England, the Christian owner of a bed-and-breakfast was convicted of discrimination when she refused to allow a gay couple to stay in her guesthouse…

 

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