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Albuquerque gay couple told to sit on back of bus

Albuquerque gay couple told to sit on back of bus
Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 6:29pm

A gay couple said a shuttle bus driver in Albuquerque told them to sit in the back of the bus because they were holding hands.

Ron McCoy and his partner, Chris Bowers, flew into Albuquerque from Portland on Friday, June, 28, two days after the nation's highest court made historic rulings for same-sex marriage couples, and the day before Albuquerque's "Pride Fest."

They were there for a long-awaited road trip through the southwest, but they're excitement soon died down.

McCoy said he and his partner sat in the front of one of these shuttle buses holding hands when he said a driver discriminated against them.

"I saw him look at us, look down at his hands and he looked so angry. He just blurted out at me, 'OK if you're going to do that. You're going to the back of the bus,'" said McCoy.

Shocked, and not wanting to cause problems, the couple obeyed but asked the driver why he had the move once the shuttle stopped.

"I said I think it was because you didn't like the fact that I was holding my partner's hand. He goes, see now you're telling on yourself. My partner responds, well that's discrimination. And the driver responds, you're telling on yourself again," said McCoy.

Bernadette Aguirre witnessed the incident.

"I told the bus driver that I was completely appalled that anybody would be treated this way," said Aguirre.

McCoy said the driver responded to Aguirre by saying, "...and the driver looks back at us and goes, 'I'll show you what's appalling,' and he points to us," said McCoy. 

McCoy said no one ever apologized to him or Bowers.

"I took it personally, and I'm still upset. I don't have any closure. Neither of us does."

McCoy said before flying home, he and his partner had a different shuttle bus driver and had no problems holding hands. The two have filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union.

The company is now requiring all drivers to take sensitivity training.




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