Five gay men were recently asked to leave a restaurant in El Paso, Texas after two of the men kissed each other. The restaurant’s security guards were overheard saying that they do not allow “that faggot stuff” in the restaurant.
Carlos Diaz de Leon, one of the gay men who was asked to leave, told the El Paso Times that he called the police at 12:30am after they were blatantly discriminated against by the guards on June 26.
However, when the officers showed up an hour later, the policemen refused to hear their side of the story and spoke to the guards first.
De Leon said the officer then told the group that it was illegal for two men or two women to kiss in public. The five men, he said, were told they could be cited for homosexual conduct.
However this law was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 2003. That same year, the El Paso City Council approved an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation by businesses open to the public.
Lisa Graybill, legal director for the ACLU of Texas, said patrons can be asked to leave for lewd conduct, but this standard must apply to all customers. “If a straight couple wouldn’t have gotten kicked out for it,” she said, “a gay couple shouldn’t.”
This incident follows a recent homophobic raid on a gay bar in Fort Worth, Texas, in which patrons were allegedly brutalised by officers, leaving one man with serious head injuries.