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Restaurant denies Christian group service for staff "safety"

A restaurant in Richmond, Virginia, refused to host a private event for a conservative Christian organization over the group's position on same-sex marriage and abortion rights.

The restaurant, Metzger Bar and Butchery, called itself an "inclusive" establishment that has rarely refused service to willing patrons, but said it denied service to the group in an effort to protect its staff, many of whom are women or members of the LGBTQ+ community.

"Recently we refused service to a group that had booked an event with us after the owners of Metzger found out it was a group of donors to a political organization that seeks to deprive women and LGBTQ+ persons of their basic human rights in Virginia," the establishment said in a recent post on Instagram.

The move was consistent with Metzger's past practices and was made out of respect for its staff, according to the post.

"We have always refused service to anyone for making our staff uncomfortable or unsafe and this was the driving force behind our decision," the post read. "All of our staff are people with rights who deserve dignity and a safe work environment."

It added that it strives for a work environment where it staff "can do their jobs with dignity, comfort and safety."

In a subsequent Instagram post, the restaurant thanked its patrons for supporting the establishment following the incident. Metzger's included an image of a cocktail named "Cracks in the Foundation" and said it would donate all sales proceeds to Equality Virginia, an organization advocating for LGBTQ equality.

"Top Chef" alumna

The restaurant's lead chef and co-owner, Brittanny Anderson, was a contestant on the "Top Chef" cooking competition show.

The president of the Christian group, called The Family Foundation, authored a blog post after the episode last week entitled "We've Been Canceled! Again."

"Have you ever been denied a meal because of your beliefs? Last night, our team and supporters got that firsthand experience when Metzger's Bar and Butchery in Richmond, VA refused to service our pre-reserved event, leaving us scrambling just moments before," Victoria Cobb wrote.

Cobb said one of the restaurant's owners called her to cancel the reservation about an hour and a half before the event was set to begin.

She compared the experience — and today's cultural climate — to "the 1950s and early 60s, when people were denied food service due to their race."

She then called on readers for monetary donations.

"Will you consider a donation today to support our efforts to ensure that no Virginian will ever have to worry about being refused a simple meal because of his or her religious beliefs?" the post read.

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