A Greenwich Village restaurant owner is facing a lawsuit over charges that he canceled a same-sex wedding dinner claiming it would be bad for "feng shui."
Newlyweds Barrett Greene and Thomas Eng say the owner violated their civil rights.
The New York Daily News reports it all started last March when Greene met with Amber Village manager Tommy Ho to plan a wedding rehearsal dinner for 40 and the wedding reception for 200 guests. Greene paid a $750 deposit.
The couple's lawsuit claims that a man identified only as Mr. Fong told Ho to cancel the event. "Fong was visibly angry and told Ho that he didn’t want any ‘gay parties’ at Amber Village.” “Fong instructed Ho to ‘make an excuse’ and tell Greene that his rehearsal dinner could not take place at Amber Village and that his wedding could not be catered by them either. Fong also told Ho that it's ‘very bad’ for Amber Village to book ‘gay parties’ and that big groups of ‘gay partiers’ are especially bad for feng shui.”
The lawsuit then alleges that Fong fired Ho who then texted Greene that he had been fired and their wedding event couldn't be held at the restaurant. In documents filed with the court, the company is owned by Qi Yeng Lin and Fong is allegedly Lin's son.
The suit claims the restaurant discriminated against them based on sexual orientation and seeks unspecified punitive damages as well as their $750 deposit.
Bo Lee, manager of one of the other restaurants in the Amber chain, says he's surprised by the allegation. “Feng shui has to do with luck and fortune. It has to do with where do you put your plants and flowers, your furniture. It has nothing to do with who are your clients.” And Lee says the company wouldn't discriminate against gays, "This is the West Village. We don’t turn away anyone. We have gay managers.”
Despite the scramble to find a new location, the Greene and Eng got married as scheduled on June 9.