Kevin Riordan: Charming Christian innkeeper with anti-gay views

Sign outside Carole Lokan-Moore's Whitebriar Bed & Breakfast in Edgewater Park, Burlington County.
Sign outside Carole Lokan-Moore's Whitebriar Bed & Breakfast in Edgewater Park, Burlington County. (KEVIN RIORDAN / Staff)
Posted: August 02, 2012

Carole Lokan-Moore, who's as charming as her opinions about gay people are charmless, proudly shows me around her Edgewater Park bed-and-breakfast.

With its tasteful antiques and organic breakfasts, Whitebriar could be in Provincetown.

Except that a sign outside this lovely establishment promotes Wednesday as "appreciation day" for Chick-fil-A, the fast-foodery whose president's distaste for gay nuptials has become more famous than his chain's "hand-spun" milkshakes.

Lokan-Moore's "one man, one woman" marriage sign, not far from Route 130 on busy Cooper Street, drew the ire of Burlington County resident Joianne Fraschilla, whose electronic exchanges with Lokan-Moore are being passed around the Internet.

No wonder: After asserting that "queers and gays" are a modern invention and suggesting, erroneously, that the Bible cautions against lying down with dogs, etc., the innkeeper wrote, "I guess that's why God invented AIDS."

Standing on the shady lawn of Whitebriar, I can't believe that this lady, who cares for "50 runaway farm animals" - and can't wait to show me her hand-painted heirloom china - would say something so cruel.

But Lokan-Moore, 66, doesn't back down. She repeats the sentiments of her exchange with Fraschilla almost verbatim, although she now says AIDS "is nature's way of culling the herd."

She says it twice, as if I might have missed her meaning.

This from a lady who also tells me, with serene conviction, "I don't do negatives. I'm a Christian." And who claims to accommodate "many" gay guests at her B&B, although I find the idea of spending a night under her roof unimaginable.

"In the old days, if two old ladies lived together, they didn't shove it in my face," says Lokan-Moore, who owns the Whitebriar with husband Bill. "I don't want it shoved in my face. And I don't want it compared to my marriage of 47 years. I dated my husband for five years, and I was a virgin on my wedding night. And so was he."

A dozen years ago, such outspokenness - "God gave me an ability to attract attention" - helped bring Lokan-Moore to the attention of local Republicans.

She went on to wage four unsuccessful campaigns, three against State Sen. Diane Allen, a fellow Edgewater Park resident. She won't rule out another try.

"I know what the Bible says. That's why I got involved in politics," Lokan-Moore says. "I know I'm doing the right thing. I don't really care what people think of me."

Comments have been pouring onto Whitebriar's Facebook page and over the phone since the controversy hit the liberal website ThinkProgress.org on Tuesday, as well as gay news sites such as Towleroad.com. Fraschilla, whom I was unable to reach, has started an online petition drive on Change.org demanding an apology from Lokan-Moore's business.

"A whole lot of criticism isn't going to change my mind," Lokan-Moore says. "I have very tough skin."

Don't let the sweet demeanor fool you, in other words.

"I am always very, very pleasant" on the phone, Lokan-Moore says, although she will silence abusive callers with a blast from the whistle around her neck.

After one called to ask "if we serve 'bigoted pig' at my cafe, I told her, 'No, you'll have to go to a homosexual restaurant for that,' " Lokan-Moore says, giggling.

Some who have posted on her Facebook page have uploaded photos of victims of antigay violence. Others have unloaded the sort of scatological vitriol Lokan-Moore won't repeat, although she does spell for me several swear words.

She insists she can tell which commenters are gay by their profanity.

"I don't use it, and I don't acknowledge people who use it," she says. "I think they're weak and uneducated and low-class."

Lokan-Moore also believes the controversy will be good for her business, which she describes as "overflowing" with customers, most of them Christians.

Before I take my leave, exhausted by Lokan-Moore's hospitality, she offers some final thoughts.

"I don't think it's Christian to be gay or lesbian," she says, freely exercising her rights.

Including the right to be wrong.


Kevin Riordan:

Edgewater Park innkeeper Carole Lokan-Moore shares her views on marriage: www.philly.com/Whitebriar


Contact Kevin Riordan at 856-779-3845 or kriordan@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @inqkriordan. Read the metro columnists' blog, "Blinq," at www.phillynews.com/blinq.

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