Gay couple Ron McCoy and Chris Bowers traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico last month for its annual Pride Festival , but it also seemed that they traveled back in time when a driver on an airport shuttle bus demanded that they move to the back of the bus because he was disgusted and appalled that they were holding hands.
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.
A woman, originally from Albuquerque, witnessed the confrontation and jumped in. “I told the bus driver that I was completely appalled that anybody would be treated this way,” said Bernadette Aguirre.
“And the driver looks back at us and goes, ‘I’ll show you what’s appalling,’ and he points to us,” McCoy said.
The back of the bus? RELLY? I ask you is there any location more symbolic of bigotry and in American history?
Thanks to two official documents Santa Fe, New Mexico’s Mayor David Coss, Councilor Patti Bushee and City Attorney Geno Zamora are claiming that same-sex marriage is already legal in New Mexico and are encouraging county clerks in the state to offer marriage licenses to gay couples and allow them to get married.
One legal document, dated March 19, from the city attorney explaining the reasoning that same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico. As noted in the memo, no law prohibits explicitly same-sex marriage in New Mexico and the state already recognizes such unions from other jurisdictions.
“New Mexico law does not define marriage as between a man and a woman,” the document concludes. “Nor does New Mexico law prohibit same-sex marriage. New Mexico already recognizes same-sex marriage performed in other states and our Constitution requires equal treatment on the basis of sex. Same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico.”
In a statement, Pat Davis, executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico, praised the move from city officials.
“It’s about time someone made a legal argument for equality in New Mexico,” Davis said. “Just this month, a Republican Senator publicly came out for his son’s right to marry, Hillary Clinton endorsed full equality and the Supreme Court is prepared to hear landmark arguments on DOMA and marriage. It’s time New Mexico join the ranks of the progressive states and stand up for loving, committed couples who want nothing more than to be treated the same as they already treat their neighbors.”