Quite a few conservative outlets hit the story of PolitiFact defending President Biden's gays thrown out of restaurants claim:
The Big Issue: Inconsistency
We did not find the biggest issue dealt with in those stories. PolitiFact used a totally different approach with Biden's claim than it has used in other cases, such as with respect to the legality of abortion up through the moment of birth.
Iowa Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks, for example, received a "Mostly False" rating after claiming the "Women's Health Protection Act of 2022" would allow abortion "up until delivery."
PolitiFact justified the ruling by claiming that such late abortions would only be allowed in limited cases (bold emphasis added):
The bill, which passed the U.S. House but is considered unlikely to win approval in the Senate, would permit abortion up to delivery, but only in limited cases — when medical professionals determine that an abortion is necessary to save the life or the health of the mother. Such situations account for a tiny fraction of all abortions, federal data shows. Ignoring this qualifier is misleading.
PolitiFact, for its part, misleadingly ignores the fact that the "health of the mother" represents an easily accessed loophole for achieving the effect of elective abortion.
We found an abortion story at FactCheck.org that emphasized the conflict over the "Mother's health" ambiguity:
The disagreement centers on what each side interprets the “health” exception to mean, Mary Ziegler, a professor of law at the University of California, Davis and the author of six books on the abortion debate and the law, told us. “Republicans view those health exceptions as sort of like a blanket permission to have an abortion whenever you want.” Democrats say “it’s an exception for life or health.”
Of course, saying "it's an exception for life or health" fails to resolve the ambiguity of the term "health." The bill in question in both fact check articles, in fact, refers to risk to the life or health of the mother. Pregnancy is inherently risky. The law the Democrats proposed draws no lines on those risks, apparently leaving it entirely to the discretion of health providers.
PolitiFact's fact check offers no parallel to the key information included in the FactCheck story.
Does the proposed abortion rights law then allow abortion up through the moment of birth? Yes, it does. PolitiFact admits as much in its summary paragraphs. But PolitiFact rules that claim "Mostly False" because the ambiguous language of the bill blurs the line between elective abortion and an abortion intended to save the life of the mother.
Of note, the article from FactCheck.org reports the majority of third trimester abortions are done because of fetal abnormality. To be sure, a fetal abnormality may represent a risk to the life of the mother. But the statistic doesn't allow us to distinguish between those cases and ones where the mother simply elected not to birth an abnormal baby.
Issue Two: Anecdotal proof?
It seems PolitiFact has never looked for examples of late-term elective abortion to stack up against Democrats' claims about the legality of elective abortion up through the moment of birth. But if PolitiFact could find examples of restaurants denying service to gays, even if unmarried, it could use those to support Biden's claim. Or something.
PolitiFact claimed it found examples supporting Biden's claim:
It’s unclear how frequently people are denied service based on their sexual orientation. PolitiFact found several news stories detailing such reports between 2014 and 2021.
Breitbart questioned it:
When it came to actually citing instances of discrimination, Politifact offered questionable anecdotes. One in Florida, for instance, centered on a transgender person being kicked out of an establishment for trying to use the women’s restroom. Another story allegedly happened in Texas close to a decade ago in 2014 while another anecdote allegedly happened in the ultra-progressive bastion of New York City in 2021. Politifact also failed to note that the New York restaurant apologized to the couple and fired the employee who reportedly kicked them out.
How do PolitiFact's "several" examples stack up?
"Several" News Stories "Detailing Such Reports"
- NBC News, "Gay couple says NYC restaurant kicked them out because of their sexuality," Jan. 25, 2021
A gay New York City couple say they were harassed and asked to leave a restaurant this month because of their sexuality.
Bizarrely, the article fails to offer any reporting in support of the claim the couple was asked to leave. The story reports that an employee used "homophobic" language, land later apologized. And the employee was later fired while the gay couple was offered a meal. But the story has no description of anyone asking the couple to leave the restaurant. It just has the summarized claim from the lede. That's it. It's "He said" without the "She said."
- News12, "Bronx Couple say they were kicked out of Restaurant for being gay," January 17, 2021
This is the same case as the one above. The gay couple is named, and the names are the same as the NY couple in the NBC News story.
The News12 version at least contains reporting bearing on the "kicked out" part of the headline, even if the support only counts as partial:
They say although the female employee asked them to leave the restaurant, none of the other employees enforced it.
So one employee asked them to leave, but without support from other employees (including the manager or owner?). The couple canceled their order and left on account of offense, not because the restaurant kicked them out.
- Yahoo News, "Gay teens say they were kicked out of restaurant for hugging: "we don’t want your kind here," may 17, 2019
"Allegedly." Seriously. It's in the story. But that's good evidence in PolitiFact's eyes.
Also (bold emphasis added):
Dana Kozlov, with CBS 2, attempted to interview the employee identified by the students, but he said he was just a customer. Another employee told the station to turn off their cameras.
Does this count as an example supporting Biden if it was merely another customer kicking the gay couple out of the restaurant?
- WFLA-TV, "Florida trans woman kicked out of nightclub for using women’s restroom," September 7, 2022
- ABC News, "Video shows transgender woman being aggressively kicked out Los Angeles bar after Pride event," August 25, 2019
- The Dallas Morning News, "The East Texas restaurant that banned a gay couple is being ripped apart on Yelp," May 29, 2014
- CBS, "Transgender Woman kicked out restaurant after refusing to show ID to use the restroom," June 25, 2018
- News Channel 8, "Florida trans woman kicked out of nightclub for using women’s restroom," September 6, 2022
CAPE CORAL, Fla. (WFLA/NBC) — A transgender woman in Florida said she was kicked out of a nightclub after she used the women’s restroom, according to a report by NBC affiliate WBBH.
The stories are identical, in fact. Why include two links to the same exact story by Nathaniel Rodriguez? And why not cite the story Rodriguez cited as his source?
The primary source confuses matters with its reporting (bold emphasis added):
But that fun didn’t last long. Ayers said after she used the restroom, things quickly went wrong after security told her she had used the men’s restroom.
The reporting is inconsistent with the story's headline. So it's most likely a typo or transcription error.
- KRON-TV, "Anti-trans rant at Cheesecake Factory in San Francisco caught on video," March 19, 2023
- NBC News, "Gay couple say kiss got them kicked out of pub," April 15, 2011
We found no evidence at the Internet Archive that the story's title had changed. We did find a story with a matching headline and 2011 date, but the events took place in London, England. Getting booted out of a pub in England doesn't help Biden's point much, as far as we can see.
- CBS News, "3 Transgender Women Thrown Out of Downtown LA Bar Speak Out," September 16, 2019
- Washington Post, "Cuba Libre: Transgender woman Charlotte Clymer says she was asked for ID to use restroom, kicked out of D.C. restaurant," June 24, 2018
Simply put, a person who identifies as, or presents as, a man should be permitted to use a men’s restroom, and a person who identifies as, or presents as a woman, should be permitted to use a women’s restroom. Refusing to allow individuals to use bathrooms or facilities that are congruent with their gender identity or expression is a form of discrimination under the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.
- News12, "Bronx couple says they were kicked out of restaurant for being gay," Jan. 17, 2021
- Dallas News, "The East restaurant that banned a gay couple is being ripped apart on Yelp," May 29, 2014
- Advocate, "Married Gay Couple Allegedly Kicked Out of California Burger King," August 4, 2021
- NBC News, "Missouri restaurant refuses to host lesbian couple’s rehearsal dinner," June 17, 2019
- The Bronx couple who were told to leave by one employee, with no enforcement of that request.
- The Dallas case from 2014 where the restaurant claimed the gay couple broke its rules of decorum (best example, by our reading)
- The California Burger King case. Was the restaurant open or closed? He said, she said.
- The lesbian rehearsal dinner canceled (second-best example, by our reading).
PolitiFact claimed it had several examples.