A couple from the US state of Texas have said they were told “we don’t serve fags here” whilst leaving a local restaurant.

Colin Dewberry and his partner Kelly Williams say they were leaving Big Earl’s restaurant in Pittsburg, Texas on Tuesday morning when the waitress made the remark.

The couple said they had lived in East Texas their entire lives and had never faced derogatory language like that.

They said the waitress said: “Here at Big Earl’s we like for men to act like men and for ladies to act like ladies, so we want you to never return.”

Because they had eaten and already paid, they were shocked at the sentiment, which is also displayed on a sign at the front of the establishment.

They said the owner told them that because they had touched legs, they had broken the policy, and that they had the right to refuse service to them because they did not follow the rules.

“I didn’t go over there to inspect to see what he was rubbing. That’s just not appropriate in a family restaurant that has a sign on the front door that we just don’t do that here,” Earl Cheney, the restaurant owner, said.

The waitress who made the comments was Big Earl’s daughter. He said: “She’s a young lady, didn’t know what else to say, and they just kept on and she finally said we just don’t like fags,” he explained.

“I laughed. I was shocked. I didn’t know really how to react,” Dewberry said.

In a Facebook update since the incident, Big Earl’s said: “My goodness, does anyone read or study? Big Earl has spent his life in the military to defend this country and will be happy to explain the constitution to you. Earl is well versed in the Bible and Christianity, has travelled the world and is well educated. It would have been nice for the full interview to have played in order to explain the background to what caused the incidence. The quote “we don’t serve fags here” was never said, instead, after being badgered, the young lady said “We do not like fags”. The behavior portrayed by the young couple was simply inappropriate and would have been considered so no matter what sexual orientation.”

The owner claimed that many gay and lesbian couples eat at the restaurant, and are welcome to do so as long as they follow his policy, which apparently bans any displays of affection.

When asked to clarify the policy, he told KLTV: “The same thing it says. That a man’s supposed to stand up and be a leader. He’s not supposed to be a woman. He’s not supposed to come in here in a dress.”

The restaurant was subjected to a deluge of negative reviews by people who had heard about the incident.