By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com August 04 2013 5:00 AM ET
A gay couple from Portland found an unfriendly welcome when they landed in Albuquerque, and a shuttle bus driver told them to sit in the back of the bus if they wanted to hold hands.
Ron McCoy and his partner Chris Bowers say they flew into Albuquerque International Sunport on June 28, just two days after the Supreme Court issued landmark rulings in favor of marriage equality. They were planning to attend Albuquerque's Pride festival that weekend, then kick off a road trip of the Southwest, according to Albuquerque's KQRE.
But when the couple boarded an airport shuttle to pick up their rental car, they say they sat down toward the front of the bus and took one another's hand.
"I saw him look at us, look down at his hands, and he looked so angry," McCoy told KQRE. "He just blurted out at me, he goes, OK, if you're going to do that, you're going to the back of the bus."
Flabergasted by the driver's tone, the couple complied and moved to the back of the bus. But when the shuttle stop, the couple approached the driver to inquire about why he demanded they move.
McCoy told KQRE he said to the bus driver, "I think it was because you didn't like the fact that I was holding my partner's hand." Then McCoy says the driver responded by saying "'See, now you're telling on yourself.' My partner responds, 'Well, that's discrimination,' and the driver responds, 'You're telling on yourself again.'"
KQRE spoke with a woman who witnessed the exchange, and said she was appalled by the driver's behavior.
A spokesman for the airport confirmed that the driver had acted inappropriately, and called the driver's behavior "absolutely unacceptable."
A manager for the company that runs the shuttles, Standard Parking, told KQRE the driver "was inappropriate and got carried away," but that he did not consider the incident discrimination. The manager told KQRE the driver in question was still working for the company.
But McCoy said no one from the airport or Standard Parking has contacted him, leaving he and his partner without any closure. They are considering legal action, and filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union.
Watch KQRE's report below.
Gay couple forced to back of bus