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New Mexico

Shuttle company apologizes for ordering gay couple to sit in the back of the bus

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The company that runs the shuttle service to the Albuquerque airport’s rental-car center is apologizing after a driver allegedly ordered a gay couple to sit in the back of the shuttle bus.

Standard Parking Inc. said it respects the equal rights of all customers and doesn’t tolerate discrimination of any kind. It also said the driver was suspended after the company learned in July of the late June incident.

Ron McCoy (right) and Chris Bowers

The couple, Ron McCoy and Chris Bowers of Portland, Ore., claim they were forced to sit in back of the airport shuttle bus because they were holding hands.

“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.”

The city’s Human Rights Office will look into the incident, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry said he believed the driver behaved inappropriately.

“We’re out there aggressively making sure this never happens again because this does not belong in Albuquerque, New Mexico,” Berry told KOB-TV. “This does not reflect Albuquerque, New Mexico, and as the mayor I’m upset about it, and we want to make sure we get to the bottom of it.”

The incident comes as the New Mexico Supreme Court considers a case involving an Albuquerque photography business whose owner declined to shoot the commitment ceremony of a lesbian couple.

The couple alleged discrimination. Their attorney argued the business openly advertises its wedding photography services, and as a public business is required to follow the same anti-discrimination laws as any other company.

An attorney for owner Elaine Huguenin said gay marriage is against Huguenin’s religious beliefs, and she was exercising her rights to free speech and artistic freedom.

It’s unclear when the high court will rule.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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25 more reader comments:

  1. the question is, WHO in the world would move to the back because some ignorant basstard tells him/her to? This is where I would´ve immediately call management or the local police station. Enough is enough!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 3:22pm
  2. ´allegedly?´ What is this ´allegedly´ crap? The guy discriminated…plain and simple.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 3:27pm
  3. I would have told them NO! Then told them to call the police and have me arrested. It makes no sense that they felt that they could hold hands and even show affection but not fight back? It seems kind of false and fishy to me?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 3:28pm
  4. It never should have happened in the first place…And frankly, the company saying “I´m sorry” doesn´t mean a fucking thing..The apology needs to come from the driver who discriminated against them! Too little, too late!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 3:29pm
  5. That´s nice that they apologized. Have they fired the guy yet? That would actually be something more substantial.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 3:30pm
  6. I find something in this story a bit amiss? It is suspicious that they felt that they could be intimate on the bus and were being forward about their sexuality and then did not fight back at point blank. If they had said…. Hell No…. that driver would have looked like a fool. There are other people who say that these guys followed the drivers discriminatory instructions. FIGHT BACK!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 3:35pm
  7. Oh, how nice. An apology. Fuck that — SUE their asses!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 3:39pm
  8. What I have been saying for years. Gauss are now the social class Blacks were forced into in the 50s and 60s. Being put to the back of the bus is a demeaning action done to show superiority to those deemed inferior to society. A few Federal lawsuits simply put in violation of civil rights and soon this would stop! Where is the ACLU?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 3:41pm
  9. Fire the driver so or tax monies can support him to lay around for 2 years? Oh no make him suffer as in publicly apologize plus a sign on his shuttle in large letters say: I am learning how to treat people nicely. If I do anything that offends you please call (supervisors cell number) and report me. Watch the turn around them. Punishment must be just. Must match the offense.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 3:45pm
  10. only suspended? wtf.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 3:47pm
  11. Uh-uh bitch! An apology ain´t gonna do it!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 3:47pm
  12. Too little, too late!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 4:23pm
  13. Too little too late..

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 4:33pm
  14. they shouldn´t of done it in the first place

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 4:46pm
  15. Did they fire the BIGOT for doing such a stupied thing?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 4:46pm
  16. Really??? Sitting at the back of the bus? That´s a familiar tune when it comes to prejudice and discrimination. The driver should be placed in a sensitivity training class and be forced to undergo counseling (cuz remember, there´s a deeper reason why gay people bother him so much) before he can return to his job.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 4:57pm
  17. Reading the article answers many of these questions. The city and company reacted very promptly and humanely.

    Good job, Albuquerque.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 4:59pm
  18. Ignorant…..

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 5:07pm
  19. As they should!! Deww reips are in order!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 5:15pm
  20. Nobody put the gay couple in the back uh duh bus

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 5:52pm
  21. Okay, I´m going to be the a**hole here, and point out the obvious (as I see it). I´ve taken a lot of public transportation – buses, taxis, shuttles, etc. Many, many, many of the drivers I´ve encountered have been Middle-Eastern. In San Francisco, while attending SF Pride, I actually had a taxi driver try to make small talk by asking if I was “one of these gay boys” in the city “for this homosexual gay thing”. He started this chatter the moment I got into his cab. When I told I was (in a less than polite tone), he immediately laughed, and let me know he doesn´t “go into that sh**”. I responded with “of course not, you´re Muslim”. He confirmed he was. My point is I´m wondering how many of these rude bus (taxi, etc.) drivers we keep reading about are indeed Muslim.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 6:27pm
  22. Did the MF telll straight couples to sit in the back if they were holding hands? I think not. He needs to be FIRED!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 7:44pm
  23. Was he fired? No? Then he needs to be repeatedly punched in the head.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 9:44pm
  24. Oh, so it wasn´t a public bus,my misunderstanding. I´d still sue the ass off ´em.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 9:57pm
  25. Finally!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 10:01pm