A gay couple is considering legal action against a bus company after they were allegedly forced to sit in the back of a shuttle bus in New Mexico simply for holding hands.
Ron McCoy and his partner, Chris Bowers, flew into Albuquerque on June 28 for the city's PrideFest and a Southwest road trip, according to local news station KRQE. After leaving the airport, they hopped on a Standard Parking shuttle bus and sat in the front of the vehicle holding hands.
“I saw him look at us... and he looked so angry,” McCoy told KRQE. “He just blurted out at me, he goes, “Okay, if you're going to do that, you're going to the back of the bus."
Shocked, the two moved, but they had some questions for the driver once they arrived at their stop. When McCoy approached the driver and said he thought they were told to move because they were holding hands, the driver responded, "See, now you're telling on yourself."
Last month, weekly publication the Alibi spoke with the shuttle driver, Mychael Jones, about why he made the gay couple to move to the back of the bus. He said he didn't want “women and children” to see the couple's “inappropriate behavior.” When asked to identify the "inappropriate behavior," he would not comment any further.
Bill Alberti, manager of Standard Parking, told Alibi that drivers have the right to ask customers to move if they are unruly or causing a disturbance.
“From what I understand, those people were just holding hands and he [the driver] just got off on the wrong foot,” Alberti said, claiming that Standard Parking employees will now undergo more sensitivity and non-harassment training. “On an issue like this, I think he overstepped a little bit.”
A representative for Standard Parking could not be immediately reached for comment.
KRQE reports the couple has since filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union.
This is not the only instance of discrimination in recent weeks. A gay teacher who taught at a California Catholic school for 17 years was fired after he legally married his partner in July. Last week, it was revealed that law enforcement in Baton Rouge has allegedly been targeting and arresting adult gay males under an invalid, unconstitutional anti-sodomy law. Two Oregon lesbians claimed they were recently kicked out of a cab on the side of freeway after the driver saw them holding hands and kissing in his car.