Just two days after the Supreme Court's historic ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), effectively extending federal marriage benefits to same-sex couples, Ron McCoy and Chris Bowers, a New Mexico gay couple, flew from Portland, Oregon, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to celebrate during that town's Gay Pride Parade.
But instead of celebration, they were received with blatant discrimination and humiliation.
As reported by The Raw Story, after Bowers and McCoy retrieved their bags and boarded the airport shuttle, the couple was ordered by the driver of independent contractor Standard Parking to ride in the back of the bus.
This is what the angry and homophobic driver told the couple, according to McCoy's account to KRQE:
"I saw him look at us, look down at his hands and he looked so angry. He just blurted out at me, he goes, 'Okay, if you're going to do that [holding hands], you're going to the back of the bus.'"
The couple initially complied. But, after an understandable outburst of anger at being blatantly discriminated against, McCoy decided to confronted the bigoted driver and ask him why he had ordered them to sit in the back of the bus.
"I think it was because you didn't like the fact that I was holding my partner's hand," said McCoy. To which the driver responded, "You're telling yourself." "Well, that's discrimination," said Bowers. To which the driver responded, "you're telling yourself again."
Though spokespersons from both the airport and the transit company acknowledged the action was "unacceptable," and that the driver got "carried away," they stopped short of firing — or even disciplining — the "ten-year veteran with no other disciplinary problems." They promised, however, to require drivers to undergo "sensitivity training" in the future.
The two men have filed a complaint with the ACLU.