Gay pair drop out of kiss row

By Amelia Wade

Rebekah Galbraith (inset) said she was kicked out of Public in Wellington after kissing her girlfriend goodbye. Photo / Supplied
Rebekah Galbraith (inset) said she was kicked out of Public in Wellington after kissing her girlfriend goodbye. Photo / Supplied

A lesbian couple have dropped their complaint to the Human Rights Commission accusing a Wellington bar of being homophobic.

Rebekah Galbraith, 22, claimed a bouncer at Public bar kicked her and her girlfriend, Jennie Leadbeater, out because they were gay - a claim disputed by the bar owner, who says the exclusion was because they were being "too amorous".

Public owner Gina Mills said the women were first asked to "tone it down" before they became aggressive, which was why the bouncer asked them to leave.

CCTV footage of the couple showed Miss Galbraith approach her girlfriend, put an arm around her and kiss her on the cheek. A doorman is seen walking through the area twice while they are at the bar but does not stop or look closely at the couple.

The couple remained at the bar kissing each other affectionately and hugging, before moving to a corner of the bar out of view of security cameras, Mrs Mills said.

A spokeswoman for the couple said they were standing behind their claims that they were kicked out because they were gay. Queer officer at Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association Genevieve Fowler, who has been speaking on behalf of Miss Galbraith and Miss Leadbeater, said they dropped their complaint because of all the publicity they had received.

She said the couple assured her that their behaviour "was affection they wouldn't be ashamed to show in front of my mother".

"We're pleased that although we've dropped the complaint we've managed to achieve our goals of raising awareness of homophobia which still goes on in our city," Ms Fowler said.

Mrs Mills said that while she was relieved the ordeal was over, she was still upset over what her bar had been accused of.

"Their whole complaint was that they were kicked out of the bar for one gay kiss and that they weren't drinking," she said.

"But we have quite extensive footage of the opposite."

- NZ Herald

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