Restaurateur defends Westmoreland grocer after gay comments

Restaurateur defends Westmoreland grocer after gay comments

Restaurateur defends Westmoreland grocer after gay comments

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by Cornelius Swart, KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on April 4, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Updated Sunday, Apr 6 at 5:41 PM

PORTLAND -- A prominent Portland restaurateur has stepped into the social media fray swirling around the controversial comments made by a Sellwood grocer.

Nick Zukin, owner of Mi Mero Mole has defended the owner of the Moreland Farmer's Pantry, calling her critics "thought police."

Neighbors in Westmoreland, where the farmer's pantry is set to open, have been buzzing ever since owner Chauncy Childs' controversial Facebook posts about gay rights surfaced.

More: Sellwood grocery wants to make amends after comments

Childs posted on her personal Facebook page that she believed that gay marriage might lead to  pedophilia and bigamy. Thursday she told KGW she also believed she had the right to refuse service to gay people, though in practice she would be open to all.

Mainstream and alternative media picked up the story once Westmoreland resident Sean O'Riordan posted a YouTube video outing Childs' personal views on Tuesday.

A Facebook page called Boycott Moreland Farmers Pantry was created Thursday.

Zukin weighed in on social media about the uproar and tweeted that a public piling-on wan't fair.

In a long thread of comments on Zukin's Facebook page, Zukin said he thought the stir was harmful.

"This thought-police mentality that supports segregation based on mere beliefs is a real and present harm."

Zukin believes that its best to respect other people even if you disagree with them. If Childs actually refused to service gay customers, he said he not shop there.

"You're not bringing communities together, you're tearing them apart, creating competing factions within the community and losing sight of the prize: equal rights," he wrote in another exchange.

Zukin and EATER writer and KGW partner, Byron Beck have crossed verbal swords in social media over the issue.

"I'm boycotting Nick and his businesses," Beck told KGW Friday.

Beck, who is gay, said no one he knows is organizing a boycott of either Zukin or Childs' businesses, but he personally is going to stay away.

"The reality is you are entitled to your beliefs," Beck said. "But once you chose to share it on a public platform [social media], it's no longer your belief it's your action. And I'm just not going to give them my money."

Zukin declined an on-camera interview with KGW's Pat Dooris.

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