Some abortion opponents who were in San Francisco for the Walk for Life over the weekend say they were outraged after they claim they were told to leave an art gallery in the city because of their views on the issue.
The group of students from California State University, Sacramento said around 9:15 p.m. Saturday they entered the Dennis Rae Fine Art gallery located on Beach Street. They said a woman working at the gallery approached them and asked if they were part of the anti-abortion walk. After responding with a yes, the students claim the woman told them to leave.
"Just an FYI, we're getting kicked out because we're pro-life," someone can be heard saying in a video that captured part of the encounter.
"Good, yes, yes," the woman at the gallery says in response. "I am pro-life. I am pro-choice. You are pro-death."
The gallery owner, David Schach, said what happened was a misunderstanding, and the students weren't asked to leave because of their political views.
"We respect your rights, we respect your views, and I apologize," Schach said. "We were just trying to close the doors. It was late in the evening around 9:15-9:30. I’m sorry this happened to you. We were not trying to force you to leave or be mean to you."
Workers at the art gallery declined to speak on camera, but they said they were trying to close the gallery when the students walked in.
The workers added that the students wouldn't leave and that the woman seen in the video felt threatened.
The students maintained they were respectful and did nothing wrong.
"I felt like it was very like 1950s, like getting kicked out of a restaurant because of your race," Carmen Perez said. "But in this case, it was because of our political views."
The students later issued a statement, saying they "appreciate the owner's partial apology," but they added that the owner "fails to address the misstatements made by his employees to us."
"We were peaceful and we respectfully left even though we were treated disrespectfully," part of the statement read. "This apology does not acknowledge what happened to us as Profile advocates from California who were in San Francisco utilizing our constitutional right to free speech...Never in our lives as Prolife advocates have we ever experienced such fear, disrespect and hostility for our political and religious beliefs. The owner failed to mention that his employee was clearly throwing us out for our prolife views, as she states it in the video."
The students closed the statement by writing, "We send the owner and the employee love and prayers and hope that this was a one-time event and that such discrimination will never happen again on their business premises. We were taught to give respect and that is what we gave the employees at the gallery."