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New Mexico

Gay couple says they were forced to sit in the back of the bus for holding hands

Friday, August 2, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A same-sex couple from Portland, Ore., said they received an unfriendly welcome when they arrived in Albuquerque, N.M., recently – they claim they were forced to sit in back of the airport shuttle bus because they were holding hands.

The couple, Ron McCoy and Chris Bowers, said the incident happened on June 28, but that they still haven’t received a formal apology from the shuttle bus company and they are considering legal action, reported KRQE-TV.

“I saw him look at us, look down at his hands and he looked so angry,” McCoy said. “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 and not wanting to cause problems, the couple obeyed.

Watch a report from KRQE-TV:

KRQE reports that a manager for the shuttle operator said the driver’s actions were inappropriate, but that he did not consider it discrimination.

The couple said say they filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union.

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Filed under: New Mexico

120 more reader comments:

  1. Why did they? I would have sat, where I was…..

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:10am
  2. What is the manager´s definition of discrimination then?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:11am
  3. what does the bus driver and other patrons on the bus say..i don´t want just one side it´s not fair

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:11am
  4. What century is this again?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:11am
  5. Didn´t Rosa Parks teach us anything?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:12am
  6. one viewed or sided topics..i don´t care for

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:12am
  7. I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8TUwHTfOOU

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:13am
  8. I would have either say right where he could have seen it the whole ride or got off

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:13am
  9. The driver probably saw them walk up in the bus with their hands interlaced.

    All the same…fire the fucking driver.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:14am
  10. I guess we need a gay Rosa Parks

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:15am
  11. Sounds familiar.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:16am
  12. Fuck dat shit !!! NEVER !!! http://youtu.be/bwXnxltEtAs

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:16am
  13. I´m gonna say it this way, why were they holding hands? Why did they sit in back of bus? Who was on bus(kids, etc)? And why make it an issue without hearing the whole story as Karen said from both sides. I´m sorry but I´m Gay buy have a little class.. you don´t have to flaunt your orientation and that´s the reason I asked if kids were on that bus. Parents shouldn´t have to explain to their kids why two men are holding hands, kissing etc. Yes this is the 21st century but it´s all about thinking before you act and clearly they dis not do this..

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:16am
  14. What “side” do you want Karen Wolfe? The manager already said it was wrong but not discrimination. Of course the driver isn´t going to say anything cause he´s about to be sued.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:16am
  15. You can do more than hold hands in the BACK of the bus. ;)

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:16am
  16. Where were you guys in 1955?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:17am
  17. Rosa Parks ALL over again. We need a gay Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:17am
  18. I would have sat where I wanted to sit. My wife and I hold hands all the time in public. I won´t have some bigots telling me I hold my wife´s hand in public when I see all kinds of group from straight couples in public.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:17am
  19. I would have sat where I wanted to sit. My wife and I hold hands all the time in public. I won´t have some bigots telling me I can´t hold my wife´s hand in public when I see all kinds of groping from straight couples in public.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:17am
  20. Be the next Rosa Parks guys. Apparently New Mexico didn´t learn anything

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:17am
  21. were there other people riding too..what is their say?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:19am
  22. Does it matter if two people are holding hands? I mean for crying out loud, why the hell does it matter?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:20am
  23. there are instances where some glbt people make themselves victims..not saying this is one..but i can´t appreciate when they do when it happens

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:20am
  24. Joshua Becker, what´s wrong with merely holding hands? What´s to explain, and what´s classless about it?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:20am
  25. They were just holding hands oh no the world is going to end. I never knew holding your love one´s hand was against the law and this is discrimination because the driver had no right to tell them to sit at the back of the bus considering we are not in the 1950s anymore. Our freedoms are being destroyed everyday and i wouldnt want to live in a country where holding hands would be the reason to have unfair treatment. If they did more than hold hands like basically having sex on the bus then I would be concerned however holding hands and just a small kiss is ok to do if STRAIGHT couples can hold hands and kiss in public so can LGBT couples as well and I am openly Bisexual and i would exercise my rights to do just that but i do have class and I know what to do and what not to do in public. Also children seeing that should have their questions answered because shielding them away from LGBT couples who do the same thing as opposite-sex couples is downright wrong as well and future generations needs to understand that we are all the same just love differently.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:24am
  26. Joshua Becker, ever so sorry to burst your lil bubble, sir, but you are a shining example of internalized homophobia and it´s not only sad…it´s shameful. Do you also eat at Chick-Fil-A?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:25am
  27. Both sides??? You really want to defend a vile act of discrimination by giving credence to a ´side´.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:27am
  28. Both sides??? You really want to defend a vile act of discrimination by giving credence to a ´side´. That in itself tells us what ´side´ you are on.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:27am
  29. Joshua Becker…..please always sit in the back of the bus. smh. disgrace to the gay community. straight people do plenty of ass slapping, ass groping and full on making out and you want to say that there´s something wrong with a gay couple holding hands in public? what´s classless about that? AND, unless these parents are filling their children´s head with something that is not for the good of the child in the first place then their child probably won´t even bother asking why two men are holding hands

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:30am
  30. I thought we were done with that back of the bus stuff.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:31am
  31. We are, Becky, except for Josh Becker.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:32am
  32. What side do you need to hear Karen because i have seen worse come from straight couples ok everywhere i turn i see groping that could equal sex happen in public. I am not saying that some LGBT couples might not do that extra stuff in public however these two men only held hands and who gives a damn about who was on the bus they dont matter in this situation because its none of their business who holds hands in public!

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:32am
  33. lord.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:34am
  34. Jeffrey Horn, to be blind to one side is being as ignorant as the people who do not want to hear about LGBT´s side. Theres always three sides to any story, these guys, the drivers/passengers, and the truth. There are plenty of LGBT who do not hear what the media wants to spoon feed them, and there are people like me and the others here, who would like to see the whole story.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:37am
  35. thats just down wrong we should hold hsands on the bus and sit where we want to

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:38am
  36. Homophobia!!´

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:39am
  37. Fuck outta here, if that had been me, I would´ve told the guy to make me move.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:40am
  38. i refuse to be a seocnd class citizin i will not let anyone tell me this

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:42am
  39. It´s against the law in New Mexico to discriminate because of sexual orientation. They have a great law suit. The shuttle buses that run from the Abq airport to Santa Fe are privately owned businesses. If those guys sue they will probably win.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:43am
  40. It is just holding hands for crying out loud!! This driver deserves to be fired.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:45am
  41. Next time, keep your seat.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:47am
  42. And we straight folks need to stop flaunting our orientation as well. Really now. For the children.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:48am
  43. Didn´t want to “cause a problem?” C´Mon, we can´t let people get away with this kind of shit! Remember Rosa Parks????

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:57am
  44. @ Joshua Becker If parents can´t explain to a child why two men are holding hands then they shouldn´t take them out in public. There are tons of things children might witness like teenage boys wearing baggy pants that show off there underwear. You can´t always control what they see. There are worse things to explain to a child like My 5 year old nephew lost his father in a motorcycle accident a few months ago. Try explaining that to a child!!!

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:00am
  45. Since when did public transportation have a sacred covenant against public displays of affection? It´s frowned upon regardless of sexual orientation, but I don´t really think it´s worthy of being shunted to the back of the bus.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:00am
  46. I´ve seen straight couples make far more gross gestures towards one another in front of people. Making out and groping one another in front of god and everybody.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:02am
  47. Hang in there friends… You two are the sweetest couple I´ve ever met and you deserve to be treated better. The nerve to ask you to sit in the back of the bus :( What a Jerk. I hope you get the last word and file a lawsuit. Good Luck and Come by and visit me at hairmasters in Hillsboro. Hugs, Bill

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:04am
  48. *Pops Her Monocle* Holding hands!? How scandalous! My word I think I´ve caught a touch of the vapors just thinking such a thing.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:08am
  49. I´m guessing that bus driver has no concept of irony.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:15am
  50. well, I would have respected the driver and the other riders and not flaunt my lifestyle

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:18am
  51. the driver should´ve been fired immediately upon the couple reporting it

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:20am
  52. The manager said it WASN´T discrimination? What would you call that then? BIGOTRY!!!

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:21am
  53. I would have made them let me put on my “Black Face” Make-up! … Put That in his Pipe & Smoke It!

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:23am
  54. This is insane. Who cares? Two women, two men, a man and woman, a white and African American, who gives a damn?? It´s simple if people do not like the fact turn your head. Never down grade for any reason. Me personally think these people that have to say something such as ” if your going to do that sit in the back ” must be jealous. Let people live their lives. We are no one to judge. This person should be fired.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:31am
  55. Stop going to states that are ignorant – that ought to solve this…

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:32am
  56. What the hell is this, civil right era all over again, but with gays?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:39am
  57. #SMDH

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:45am
  58. Ann Andrews why should people have to stay away from states ? What if they live there? They should be forced to move? I don´t think so, that´s absolutely ridiculous

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:52am
  59. then straights need to stop flaunting their shit everywhere to and maybe they wont have such a high divorce rate..oh wait,they can do whatever they want and where they want.forgot..oh and dont remember a straight couple being forced in the back over a tit grope,do you? anyone who dares claim that this isnt discrimination,needs a punch in the face and your going to tell a human being to stop and pretend? to make people comfortable? all i have to say is *fuck you*

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:56am
  60. Where´s our Rosa?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 5:04am
  61. Aren´t we in the 21st Century now?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 5:13am
  62. Wrong!

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 5:20am
  63. @Carlos are fucking kidding me?!?! Since when is holding hands flaunting. A lifestyle?!? Why don´t you tell that to straight people when they hold hands?!?!

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 5:23am
  64. I would have started kissing…just like a straight couple

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 5:23am
  65. It´s just the way ABQ is…they don´t mind having a show that basically sort of ran their justice system into the ground there but gay couples, it´s just taboo. Carlos, you are a mindless bigot who needs to learn to have an open mind instead of an open mouth. Had that been MY bus they were on, i would´ve let them sit up front and i´d have wanted to hear the details of their wedding.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 5:34am
  66. Tell everybody the buscompany or and agent ….

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 6:05am
  67. Hello… Did Rosa Parks not fight for what is right? Sorry, guys, as a gay man I support your right to hold hands, but we ALL have to rise up and fight for our rights. Stonewall was not the end — merely the beginning. An opportunity for civil action MISSED.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 6:15am
  68. sad and wrong.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 7:29am
  69. Sigh

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 7:30am
  70. Moving was their first mistake. Come on, guys.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 7:41am
  71. that is funny :-)

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 9:35am
  72. Where´s Rosa Parks when you need her? This is very symbolic and very sad….

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 9:57am
  73. “shocked and not wanting to cause problems, they obeyed.” well, no Birmingham bus boycott for you two, sweeties. and you can sue, but as far as i know, NM does not have a gay rights law, so it´s probably legal to discriminate. Welcome to the world – those of us who have fought discrimination for 50 years tried to protect you-all, but it´s your turn now. And next time, be men enough to sit still and say, “we are fine right where we are, thank you.” Otherwise, drop the suit.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 10:03am
  74. I think we´ve got much bigger injustices to organize around than what happens on an airport shuttle bus (eg murders and assaults, dangers faced by our brothers and sisters abroad, growing economic disparities, and cultural degradation, just to name a few…). Rosa Parks was not protesting an isolated incident but a national, organized, official SYSTEM of discrimination. They did the right thing in reporting, but it doesn´t rise to the level of a major cause.
    Why they complied, I cannot understand. Bet they won´t do that a second time.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 10:49am
  75. A little civil disobedience can go a long way.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:34am
  76. Forced how ? Did someone physically move you back there ? You should have just sat there until you got to your stop. Remember Rosa Parks ? She stayed on that bus where she was until the police removed her. Stand your ground. I doubt the police would have removed you from the bus, but if they did, then it would just be a bigger story. Never bend to the winds of discrimination.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:45am
  77. @Michael not everyone is Rosa Parks, she did what she did. Some day someone will step forward.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 12:24pm
  78. I´m surprised that happened in NM. We´re pretty damn laid back here. But, that said…why did these two obey? I would have been like, “F off.” and sat wherever I wanted.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 1:02pm
  79. @ Joshua: I have compassion for you, but what I´m really hearing from you is internalized oppression. I hope you can accept your orientation someday. Peace.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 1:11pm
  80. So lets sit in the back of the bus and ENJOY…..! ha!

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 1:12pm
  81. usa = terorist government

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 1:13pm
  82. well gays and blacks are not acceptble

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 1:51pm
  83. “Seats taken”

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 2:45pm
  84. Stand up for yourself and don´t be so passive. I would have refused and then asked for his supervisor´s name and contact info. What´s he going to do? Call the police?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:08pm
  85. Yeah, grow some and stand up for your rights. Unless there were children present; then I´d consider them.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:28pm
  86. Why consider the children? Is it bad to hold hands in public? Al – you sound a little bit uncomfortable with it yourself. There is absolutely no difference between two men holding hands and a man and a woman holding hands or two women holding hands. I am sick beyond of belief of people saying “consider the children” when there is murder and sex rampant on TV yet we have to “consider the children” when we want to hold hands.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:44pm
  87. I am appalled being a Albuquerquean!!

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:00pm
  88. ,

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:01pm
  89. not a bad idea

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 4:23pm
  90. stupid

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 5:02pm
  91. They are allowed. They have (or should) have equal rights as hetero people. Everyone should have equal rights. They have a constitutional right to be there and sit wherever they want.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 5:23pm
  92. Bullcrap!

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 6:34pm
  93. BIGOTS should be illegal.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 6:36pm
  94. I´m sorry, I am homo, but I would never be sent to back of bus AND not everything should be litigated. We need to just relax, our day is coming. Besides, it is NM…

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 7:48pm
  95. They can´t stop what´s coming, haters! Let people be and not NAZI them around!

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 9:34pm
  96. How is this not discrimination? Really?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:04pm
  97. Discrimination. Shame.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:04pm
  98. Forced…? They should have stood firm against this bigot and refused to budge. I wasn´t there of course, but would have certainly become… difficult!

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:05pm
  99. Sigh.. LGBT+ community is now the new Black… x( so messed up and so stupid! -_-

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:05pm
  100. THATS BULL!

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:05pm
  101. We need another Rosa Parks.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:07pm
  102. if the driver had said that to a black person/couple it would have been discrimination. How is this any different??

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:07pm
  103. Rosa Parks stood her ground! You should have also! You pay your fare just like everyone else didn´t you?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:08pm
  104. its is a lil bit funny.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:08pm
  105. How is that funny, Roscoe?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:10pm
  106. They should SUE and sue for a huge amount of money. That is The ONLY way that the company will take them seriously and the only way that they will give this dumbass bus driver and others like him human rights training.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:14pm
  107. Not a good case for drawing tourists to Albuquerque. I´m surprised the bus driver didn´t think of Rosa Parks when he told these guys to move to the back of the bus. I wonder what background/color the bus driver was. I would have started yelling that the bus driver get his supervisor on the radio and if he threatened to call the cops or anything unless I got off or the couple or anyone I would have said: “Fine, we aren´t going anywhere and will just wait until your supervisor and the cops come.”

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:15pm
  108. I would have been laughing @ the absolute ABSURDITY of it. Like, “Seriously? The back of the bus? Like some sort of pre-civil rights thing? Yeah, uhm, no.”

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:15pm
  109. Not discrimination? Ummm… are you shitting me?

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:31pm
  110. I would have stood my ground and then destroyed the bus company by taking them to court

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:37pm
  111. Well Albuquerque certainly won´t be in my travel plans. Honestly, I would have said something like, “Omg, are you serious? How did you know that´s my favorite place to sit!? You´re the nicest bus driver ever!” just so he couldn´t get any enjoyment out of his own bullying.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:41pm
  112. Seriously? Grow some balls and quit bitching! I would have sat where I wanted. But come on people quit complaining about it and stand up for what is right. Don´t file a complaint or threaten to sue.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:44pm
  113. Yeah bigots should be illegal but according to them we should be illegal blacks should be illegal there will always be a bigotry there will always be people out there hating us and if they don´t hate us they hate something else its called human nature and so you know I am a lesbian I stand up for what I believe in when I feel it´s necessary or I´m in danger or someone I care about is in danger but as far as human beings go we are all evil people everyone of us do something bad in our lifetimes and nothing in this world will ever change into humans are completely gone it´s human nature to hate we are the only species on the planet that targets people for the differences we are the only species on the planet that horrificly murder each other for what they are if there´s one thing history has taught us is that hate will always exist

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:47pm
  114. Albuquerque is a very gay friendly city – me and my husband feel as comfortable being openly gay here as we did when we lived in Key West – and NM actually has laws to protect gay people as opposed to Fl. Openly gay men and women thrive here in all aspects of society. Do not judge our city or our state by one asshole on a privately owned bus shuttle. Those guys can sue and win – it is against the law to discriminate based on sexual orientation in New Mexico.

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:49pm
  115. I would have told him to have the police come and arrest me? If it serves my mind correct their was a woman named Rosa Parks (who is now a bit famous and on a US Postage Stamp and was the 2nd US civilian to lay in the Capitol Rotunda at her death) who set this issue straight in a Supreme Court Case in 1955. All the LGBTQ people in Albuquerque should raise a total stink!

    Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 11:49pm
  116. Gays and Lesbians need to be more assertive and know their rights. I would have told the driver to arrest me! I would have dared him… Have my partner and I arrested… I dare you! I fucking dare you…! They actually went to the back of the bus? Kind of cowardly if you ask me! Hell no! I hope the company is sued out of commission and existence.

    Posted on Sunday, August 4, 2013 at 12:09am
  117. they shouldn´t have moved, but I can understand why they did.

    Posted on Sunday, August 4, 2013 at 3:35am
  118. LOL, no way

    Posted on Sunday, August 4, 2013 at 6:40am
  119. There´s no mention of eye witnesses and no camera footage. I´m not saying that it´s so, but they *could* have just fabricated a story about the whole incident.

    Posted on Sunday, August 4, 2013 at 6:44am
  120. ACLU are you kidding me? Why not report it to the Pope geesh

    Posted on Sunday, August 4, 2013 at 4:04pm