February 3, 2012 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Rehoboth restaurant guilty of anti-gay bias
Dan Truitt and Mark Queen, gay news, gay politics dc

Dan Truitt and Mark Queen brought the suit against Summer House Saloon to the Delaware Human Rights Commission. (photo courtesy Mark Queen)

A three-member panel of the Delaware Human Relations Commission on Dec. 2 issued a unanimous decision that the Summer House Saloon and Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Del., engaged in illegal discrimination against two gay men last March based on their sexual orientation.

The ruling followed a Sept. 13 hearing in which the commission listened to testimony from witnesses who said an employee of Summer House refused service to Daniel Truitt and Mark Queen, the two men who filed a discrimination complaint against Summer House.

The 27-page decision cites testimony from a Rehoboth police officer that the employee, Nick Hutu, shoved Queen while Queen was dancing on the Summer House dance floor. The decision says the police officer also testified that Hutu reportedly said to people who were with Queen, “Why don’t you go to the gay bar Cloud 9,” which is located near the Summer House.

“The Panel finds that based on the evidence presented at the hearing, Mr. Truitt and Mr. Queen proved by a preponderance of the evidence that Summer House discriminated against them based on their sexual orientation and that the reason offered by Summer House was a mere pretext,” the decision says.

“The Panel finds for complainants Daniel Truitt and Mark Queen and against respondent Summer House based on respondent’s violations of the Delaware Equal Accommodations Law,” it says.

The decision orders Summer House to pay a civil penalty of $5,000, provide evidence within 30 days that it has provided training to all current employees about the state’s Equal Accommodations Law, and that all new employees receive such training.

Summer House must also post a written non-discrimination policy in English and Spanish in a location where all employees see it where they sign in or clock in for their shifts, the decision says.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

20 Comments
  • Proud to call these guys my friends.

  • Fighting for what’s right! So glad u stood ur ground!

  • I hate to say it but after living in rehoboth for 3 years I have learned to stay away from the summer house. Its no secret the owners and staff for the most part don’t like the gay’s so I’m glad someone finally put them in their place thanks boys.

  • Proud to call this man my brother and proud to call Daniel my friend! Nice to see that justice CAN prevail.

  • The Summer House may have been taken behind the woodshed, but the owners are now sure to be more incensed than ever. One thing for sure: never piss off the chef. I’d stay clear of the Summer House now more than ever; I wouldn’t want to be concerned I’ve got an out-of-date fish/steak with a loogie on top as a fresh garnish.

    Bottom line: it’s easier to take your business elsewhere.

  • My partner and I have always been treated fairly by the owners of the Summer House and I do not believe this report of an employee’s behavior is indicative of at least one of the owner’s attitudes. It’s wrong however, and training plus a strong position of intolerance of discriminatory behavior by employees is definitely in order based on this report.

  • Now I hope you’ll tackle those obnoxious anti-trick riding laws.

  • Sounds like an assault if the guy was shoved? Was the employee arrested? Is there a civil suit?

  • This is a joke… this was done on purpose by these guys, they were carrying on worse that a straight couple.. sickning.. I am gay and patronize many straight bars and restraunts, but These 2 guys were at fault as well as the SummerHouse….

    • As a gay man who frequents many gay and straight establishments this is the first time this sort of thing has happened to me. There was no “carrying on”.

  • This matter is absurd and yes joke like. These guys need to understand that you need to uphold civilized behavior whilst in a public place, regardless of it being or not being a gay establishment. Just because the Summer House is Not a gay establishment it does not mean they are anti gay and or do any gay bashing. The drunken behavior of this guy was the cause of this altercation.
    My friends and I are proud of who we are and we frequent the Summer House very often and not once have we ever been treated anything but courteously.
    Getting overly drunk in public does not give rights to anybody to fling accusations.
    When next in Rehoboth Beach, go to the Summer House and you will see for yourselves what a nice friendly family restaurant the Summer House is!

    • This is no joke, all of this actually happened on a night when I had almost nothing to drink.

      Daniel

    • I would like to know what kind of behavior I am guilty of?!? I was pushed twice in that bar by the bouncer, told to go down the street to the gay bar (which I did after leaving the ONE drink I ordered there half drank), and upon my return when I wanted to tell the manager about this bouncer I was asaulted by that bouncer. I even asked the summerhouse twice for video of that night that would show what happened, but amazingly the video of the night was lost by them. SO if you witnessed anything from that night please speak up, but somehow I doubt you were there….

  • Raz, your Ignorance must be Bliss.

  • What a shame for the Summerhouse. We’ve (my partner and me) have been going there for years and we have never been treated less than the utmost respect and pleasantly. Of course, we act as adults should behave when out in public and with respect for ourselves and the rest of the patrons. I feel that if this treatment was in fact displayed, the (BOYS), deserved it. I certainly hope the owners and staff fight this ruling in court. You do not have a successful business if the gay patrons are treated this way. There are many, many gay people in Rehoboth Beach that dine at the Summerhouse. What a shame. All of this for $5000. GET REAL!

  • The Summerhouse DOES discrimiate against gay people; at least they did the time my friend and I went in there to sit down to eat. That was in 1987 or 88. The staff would not come near our table; did not give us menus or anything! I think my partner and I will pay them a little social call the next time we go to Rehobeth and if they give us any crap we will take action to press a lawsuit!

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