An Australian restaurant has been fined for refusing entry to a blind man’s guide dog because staff believed that the dog was gay.

Ian Jolly, his girlfriend Chris Lawrence, and his guide dog Nudge went to the restaurant Thai Spice in Adelaide but were turned away because one of the waiters misunderstood Lawrence when she described Nudge as a “guide dog”.

According to a statement from the restaurant’s owners, Hong Hoa Thi To and Anh Hoang Le, the waiter thought that “she wanted to bring a gay dog into the restaurant”.

“The staff genuinely believed that Nudge was an ordinary pet dog which had been desexed to become a gay dog,” said the statement.

This was despite the couple showing staff a guide dogs fact card and the restaurant displaying a “guide dogs welcome” sign.

At an Equal Opportunity Tribunal hearing on Friday, the restaurant agreed to give Jolly a written apology, pay him $1500, as well as attend an Equal Opportunity education course.

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