A Gay Couple Was Kicked Out Of A British Supermarket For Holding Hands, Is An Apology Enough?

A gay couple was kicked out of a British supermarket for holding hands and generally being affectionate with one another, and even though the store has apologized, they are still not satisfied.

As BBC News reports, Thomas Rees and his boyfriend, Joshua Bradwell, were shopping at a Sainsbury’s in Hackney on Monday night when the incident happened. Sainsbury’s, for those not familiar with British grocery stores, is the second-largest chain of grocery stores in the U.K. Hackney is a neighborhood in London.

Rees says that after they paid for their goods, and were making their way out, a security guard stopped them and asked them to come outside with him. The guard then said that another shopper, an unidentified woman, had complained about the couple’s behavior. The guard was himself apologetic.

“He explained that he was brought up to believe ‘live and let live’ but he had to let us know that a complaint has been made and he kept repeating this complaint which was infuriating.”

Rees admits that he and his boyfriend were being affectionate, but denies they were doing anything inappropriate.

“We weren’t celebrating good news, we weren’t all over each other, we weren’t in the throes of passion — it was essentially just holding my boyfriend’s hand as I do every day. I’m very much in love and that’s how I express my love.”

Later that night, Rees took to twitter to publicly call out Sainsbury’s for the incident. And Sainsbury’s responded.

Sainsbury’s has since tried to make things right: they offered the couple a voucher for £10 (about $13 at current exchange rates). But for Rees, that’s not enough. He wants more than just an apology and a voucher from Sainsbury’s: he wants a phone call, and he wants to talk about the training that security guards receive.

As it turns out, this is not the first time a gay couple has had trouble in a Sainsbury’s.

Back in 2014, according to a Daily Mail report from the time, a lesbian couple was kicked out of Sainsbury’s for kissing in the store. Annabelle Sacher said that she was at a store in Brighton — an English city with a vibrant gay scene — and on national Coming Out Day, no less, when she spontaneously gave her girlfriend a quick smooch on the cheek. Just like in Thomas Rees’ situation, another customer complained, and the security guard asked them to leave, according to Sacher.

“The security guard later apologised, saying that she herself was gay and had simply been asked to speak to us by another customer who found us ‘disgusting’ and was ‘worried for her child.'”

And in the United States, in a disturbing story out of Hawaii, a lesbian couple was kicked out of a Honolulu grocery store for holding hands — and that would just be the beginning of their problems. According to NBC News, when Honolulu cop Bobby Harrison told the couple to “take it outside,” they refused. The couple allege that Harrison then roughed them both up while cuffing them. They would go on to spend two days in jail on charges of assault against a police officer — charges that were later dropped. They would go on to win an $80,000 settlement from the City of Honolulu.

Do you believe that they gay couple thrown out of Sainsbury’s deserves more than just an apology and a voucher?

[Image via Shutterstock/Dragon Images]