A restaurant at which a lesbian waitress was told by a family that she would not receive a tip because of her “lifestyle”, has said they can return, as they legally can’t turn them away.

Dayna Morales, a waitress from New Jersey who had previously served in the US Marines, was denied a tip last week because of her “gay lifestyle.”

The gay former marine is a server at Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, New Jersey. When Ms Morales introduced herself to a couple and their two children, the mother was allegedly shocked by Ms Morales’ short hair (she never told the family she is gay).

The mother is believed to have said: “Oh I thought you were gonna say your name is Dan.”

She continued: “You sure surprised us!”

The $93.55 (£58.22) bill was paid with no tip. But Ms Morales found a note on the receipt which read: ”I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I don’t agree with your lifestyle & how you live your life.” The waitress sent the offending note to the LGBT Facebook group, Have A Gay Day.

Now the manager of the restaurant has said that, because “by law we can’t stop them”.

“My initial reaction was a little angry, but if they come here we can’t stop them,” general manager Byron Lapolla said on Tuesday. He said they had received requests to name and shame the family, but had declined to do so.

He said an item was removed from the bill later in order to provide Morales with a tip. Waiters in New Jersey depend on tips heavily because the minimum wage for them is $2.13, rather than $7.25.

As of Tuesday, Morales, 22, said she had received attention from media from across the US, and that she had received around $1,700 in extra tips and donations as a result of the story going viral.

She said she would donate most of the tips to the nonprofit Wounded Warriors Project.

“It was never about the money in the first place,” she said of her decision to speak out about the note.

In an e-mail to the group, which was posted to Have a Gay Day’s Facebook page, Ms Morales previously wrote: ”I am THOROUGHLY offended mad pissed off and hurt that THIS is what her kids will grow up learning and that I served in the Marines to keep ignorant people like them free.”

She said: “Sorry lady but I don’t agree with YOUR lifestyle and the way you’re raising your kids but you didn’t see me throwing that in your face and giving you shitty service.”

“Keep your damn mouth shut and pray we never cross paths again.”

With over 5,000 likes, 2,000 comments, and 1,000 shares on Facebook, Ms Morales later responded that her faith in humanity was now restored.

She wrote: “You all have put the BIGGEST smile on my face tonight and made me realize that there are more good people in the world than bad,’ she wrote.”

In September, a Yorkshire bar apologised for identifying two straight male patrons as “gay guys” on their till receipt.