Hoquiam restaurant becomes target of protest

by: Chris Legeros Updated:

HOQUIAM, Wash. - The Backstage Café in Hoquiam has only been open for eight days and now some people are threatening to protest and to try to shut it down. 

The controversy started with a quote in the Daily World newspaper. Owner Luis Mestas said he wanted to host wholesome, family-friendly events, including a couples night where people could celebrate their marriages. Mestas said, "Traditional marriages between a man and a woman- the way God intended." 

Hours after publication, the complaints started to appear online. Some called Mestas a bigot. Other accused his restaurant of discrimination. A protest was quickly organized on Facebook for Saturday. Dorinda Nelson said, "the message is going to be that we're not accepting intolerance in our community." 

Luis Mestas and his manager, Jenny Foster, said they do not discriminate. Foster said no one is turned away based on their race, color, or sexual orientation. Foster said, "it's not something that even crossed my mind." 

Mestas admitted that he is a Christian who believes in traditional marriage between a man and woman. He also said that his personal beliefs don't carry over into the way he does business.

When KIRO 7 asked him directly whether gays or lesbians would be welcome at his restaurant, Mestas said, "I welcome any human being. Everybody's welcome."