An Irish bar in Sunnyside Queens has reiterated its support of hosting same-sex wedding celebrations, despite opposition from locals on the issue.
Molly Blooms pub on Queens Boulevard raffled off an all inclusive wedding reception for a same-sex couple, to celebrate the legalization of same sex marriage in New York in June. But a New York Times article reports that some local immigrants have mixed views on the issue.
The owner of the popular Irish eatery, Ciaran Staunton told IrishCentral that in his opinion same sex marriage is a civil rights issue.
“It’s about the right of a couple to enjoy their life together, whether they are a bi-sexual, gay, lesbian or otherwise, there should be no difference,” said Staunton, a well known community activist.
The prize offered by Molly Blooms includes a three-hour open bar, food, a D.J., photographer and a horse drawn carriage.
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Larry Yang, a Korean-American who owns the hardware store next door to the Irish pub told the New York Times he is committed to shielding his children from the wedding celebrations.
“If that horse-drawn carriage rides by my store, I will make sure my kids do not see it,” Yang, (45) said. “I am worried about what kind of message gay marriage is sending.”
Staunton, a father of two who lobbied legislators on the same sex marriage bill, admits he is not looking for public approval for his efforts.
“I never poll the community, “ he told IrishCentral.
“I see this as a civil rights issues, the right of the individual to live their life according to the American constitution, including liberty, happiness, freedom and without any kind of discrimination,” he added.
Sunnyside, a popular neighborhood in Queens is a melting pot for immigrants. A former police officer from Turkey, Aliihsan Simcek (63,) reminded the New York Times that Islam regards homosexuality as a sin.
“Here in America, everything is possible,” he told the newspaper. “I am not against gays, just gay marriage. I don’t want to see two guys kissing or two men adopting a child. I’ll never go to this Molly Blooms. What they do behind four walls is their business.”
The lucky winners of Molly Blooms prize were Janice Velten and Patrice Pfirman, who are due to wed on October 1, after spending the past 24-years together.
“They are a wonderful couple, who is anyone to deny this couple the right to be happy?” Staunton said.
When asked what his motive was for running the raffle, the businessman said “this was done pure and simply because it was the right thing to do, to be part of the historic celebrations”.
“I have being involved with this issue for many years and I have never cared what others thought, because if that was the case we would never do anything,” he concluded.