News :: Workplace

Manhattan Restauranteur Pays for "Pray for Gay"

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Tuesday Apr 3, 2012
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The former owner of a popular Manhattan Tex-Mex restaurant was ordered to pay $1.6 million to a lesbian chef for "making her life a living hell" during the six years she worked at the eatery, the New York Post reported.

Edward Globokar, the former owner of Mary Ann’s on West Broadway in New York City’s TriBeCa neighborhood, was accused of discriminating against employees who did not share the same religious or personal beliefs and told them that they would go to hell if they did not attend church.

A jury said that Globokar had to pay chef Mirella Salemi the hefty sum because he held "employee prayer meetings inside the restaurant." The Post also points out Globokar "prayed to God to heal gay workers."

"He not only threatened her soul, but he also threatened her livelihood," said Derek Smith, a lawyer for Salemi. "He thought praying might cure her of her sexuality, but she is someone who didn’t need to be saved."

Globokar will have to pay Salemi more than $1.2 million in punitive damages and $400,000 in compensatory damages.

Marry Ann’s began in 1986 in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood on Eighth Avenue just around the same time the area was heating up to become Manhattan’s hottest "gayborhood." The eatery was one of the first pioneers on the then-seedy commercial avenue as it was one of the city’s first Tex-Mex restaurants. Marry Ann’s soon gained a huge following that included many gay men.

The restaurant has now expanded to six locations, which were all once owned by Globokar.

The Christian fast-food chain Chick-fil-A also faced some controversy as it made national headlines recently when students from Boston’s Northeastern University voted to block the Atlanta based restaurant from coming to its campus. The school’s main reason for snubbing Chick-fil-A was because of its history of donating millions of dollars to several anti-gay organizations, such as Marriage & Family Legacy Fund, Focus on the Family, Exodus International and Family Research Council.

Last month, three drag queens attacked Chick-fil-A by making a parody music video set to the tune of the 1990 jam "Hold On" by Wilson Philips.

"Someday somebody’s gonna make you want to gobble up a waffle fry," William Belli, Detox, and Vicky Vox sing in "Chow Down (at Chick-fil-A)." "But no go, don’t you know, Chick-fil-A say you make the baby Jesus cry. Please don’t sue us for libel. We just want a little meat without your Bible," they sing.

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