Almost 60 years after Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement, another overzealous bus driver is in hot water after asking a gay couple holding hands to move to the back of the bus.
The internet has exploded today with the story of Ron McCoy and Christopher Bowers, a gay couple from Portland, Ore., who claim they were the subject of homophobic abuse during a recent trip to Albuquerque, N.M., to attend the city's annual Pride festival.
Ron McCoy and his partner, Chris Bowers, flew into Albuquerque from Portland, Ore., 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 PrideFest.
The couple was here for a long-awaited road trip through the Southwest, but their excitement soon died down.
McCoy said he and his partner sat in the front of a shuttle bus, holding hands when a driver discriminated against them.
“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.
Once the shuttle stopped at its destination, however, the couple asked the driver why he forced them to move.
“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,’” McCoy said.
The couple is seeking an apology from the company that operates the airport shuttle buses, according to KRQE. Legal options are also being considered.
But Standard Parking, the company whose driver is in question, came down rather soft on the news.
A Standard Parking manager told KRQE News 13 that the driver was inappropriate and got carried away, although he did not consider it discrimination.
Again, from KRQE:
The driver in question is still working for Standard Parking.
The manager said he has worked for the company for more than 10 years, and they have never had problems with him in the past.
The company will now require all drivers to take sensitivity training.