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2 Guys Kiss in Texas Restaurant, Get Kicked Out, Threatened By Cops

chicos-tacos

We’ve never eaten at a Chico’s Taco restaurant, but now we know that should we find ourselves at one, we’ve got bigger things to concern ourselves with than what type of meat they’re using between the tortillas. Namely, getting kicked out for a little PDA. And don’t think the Texas police are going to have your back.

Here’s what happened: Two guys kissed while ordered food at Chico’s in the El Paso area. They were among a group of five gay men, who then sat down after ordering. The restaurant’s security staff asked them to leave, and guards forced them out the door. It’s now 12:30am in the early morning of June 29, and the group calls the police, thinking they’ll be backed up for Chico’s discrimination. No dice: A police officer, arriving an hour later, told the group that it was illegal for two men to kiss in public.

Not only is that wholly untrue, but the one law on the books closest to the cop’s reasoning was struck down in a little U.S. Supreme Court case called Lawrence v. Texas. And also? “That same year, the El Paso City Council approved an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation by businesses open to the public,” reports the El Paso Times.

An assistant manager at Chico’s Tacos declined to comment Wednesday, except to say the owners of the restaurant were out of town and could not be reached. An official with All American International Security, the firm contracted by Chico’s Tacos to supply guards, said one member of the security crew was contacting a lawyer. He would say no more.

El Paso police Detective Carlos Carrillo said a more appropriate charge for what happened at Chico’s Tacos would probably be criminal trespass.

“The security guard received a complaint from some of the customers there,” Carrillo said. “Every business has the right to refuse service. They have the right to refuse service to whoever they don’t want there. That’s their prerogative.”

Briana Stone, a lawyer with the Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project, disagreed.

She said the city anti-discrimination ordinance protects people on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in public places. Perhaps more troubling, she said, was that the police officer chose not to enforce that ordinance and might have contributed to discrimination.

“This is such a blatant refusal to uphold the law on account of discrimination,” she said. “The result is devastating. The Police Department is allowing that and even participating in it by refusing to enforce an anti-discrimination ordinance, which is what their job is.”

ALSO: “De Leon said he and his friends left the restaurant after an officer threatened to issue a citation for ‘homosexual conduct.’”

Amusingly, Chico’s Wikipedia page has already been updated. Here’s the second sentence: “Recently made famous for forcefully ejecting five gay men because of ‘that faggot stuff’, after two of the men kissed.”

(Photo via)

By:           editor editor
On:           Jul 10, 2009
Tagged: , , , , ,

  • 31 Comments
    • ThatguyFromBoston
      ThatguyFromBoston

      They should have stuck around for the citation. Imagine the fun they could have had in the courts.

      Jul 10, 2009 at 10:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • koalaboy
      koalaboy

      Oh lord.. I think we found our new gay leaders lol

      Jul 10, 2009 at 10:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dellisonly
      dellisonly

      I’m fairly certain you can’t get cited for “homosexual conduct”. Though I haven’t spent a great deal of time in El Paso.

      Jul 10, 2009 at 11:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matt
      Matt

      Chico’s Tacos has 8,471 fans on facebook. Let’s hope that falls dramatically over the next few days.

      Jul 10, 2009 at 11:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • merkin
      merkin

      Ha ha–I love how freaked-out homophobic cops make up crimes to cite people for.

      And their ignorance of civil-rights laws would be hilarious if it wasn’t so scary:

      “Every business has the right to refuse service. They have the right to refuse service to whoever they don’t want there. That’s their prerogative.”

      Jul 10, 2009 at 11:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gabe
      Gabe

      I am from EL Paso…now I have more of a reason to not visit the god forsaken city, also known as HELL PASO!

      Jul 10, 2009 at 11:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dabq
      Dabq

      In 2009 it seems as though the police are to be feared as much if not more so since they have guns than the rabid , anti-gay church churls. These guys should have stayed, got the citation and had their day in court and mocked these bigots into submission.

      And what’s up with Texas of late??? And you can’t even get good Mexican food in West Texas for what its worth!

      Jul 10, 2009 at 12:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dave
      Dave

      If you want a BETTER alternative to what CHICO’s offers, there is a place on Alameda around Yselta High School that has some awesome tacos and they’ll let you kiss and even hold gay hands. CHICO’s meat is disgusting and you really don’t even want to know what their hygiene is even like behind the kitchen.

      Jul 10, 2009 at 12:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AlanInSLC
      AlanInSLC

      Fuck Texas. Let them secede from the rest of the country. We wouldn’t be missing anything important.

      Jul 10, 2009 at 12:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Juliana
      Juliana

      @AlanInSLC: Except Austin.

      Jul 10, 2009 at 1:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • walt zipprian
      walt zipprian

      @AlanInSLC:

      There’s still a lot of progressive gay people in places like Houston and Austin. You want to kick us out of the union too? How about you guys who have all the answers come on down and help us out? If all the gays move to texas maybe we can out number the righttards and elect some more liberals. Don’t be hating, come help effect some change.

      Jul 10, 2009 at 1:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • walt zipprian
      walt zipprian

      @AlanInSLC:

      Does SLC stand for Salt Lake City? Because you got some fucktards over there as who could compete with the ones we have in Texas.

      Jul 10, 2009 at 1:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John T.
      John T.

      well I happen to love Chico’s Tacos after a few drinks but I guess I’ll now have to add it to my places to boycott because they are anti-gay.

      Question: Are there really a lot of public places in Texas outisde of the gay enclaves in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and Galveston where you won’t get crap for kissing a member of the same sex? I can’t stand the Bible belt and would never conceive of kissing someone in public there no matter what the laws said. But they should have stuck around for the citation, their lawsuit against the City of El Paso PD and Chicos Tacos would have made them some good money!!!

      Jul 10, 2009 at 1:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ArronC
      ArronC

      Oh jesus people!

      The Bible Belt doesn’t mean that gays get beat in the face for showing public affection.

      I am white and my boyfriend is black and we kiss in public all the time! In fact, we honestly get more stares due to the interracial aspect. Did I mention I live in a mid-sized city in South Carolina?

      What happened at Chico’s Tacos was disgusting and ignorant, and they should pursue lawsuits, etc. But don’t blame it on the region. Ignorant, racist, homophobic people are everywhere! Trust me, I have traveled to the northern states quite frequently.

      Jul 10, 2009 at 2:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane
      M Shane

      The fact that you live in a relatively “nondiscriminatory area and have laws protectiing you does not mean that they will be enforced.
      Here, in “gay friendly” Minnesota I lost one job for a reputable arts organization because a red neck manager from the South saw to it that I was fired. Because two women , one black , were clearly responsible and the Civil Right commission in Minneapolis is run by bigots, I was denied representation.
      The gay organiation didn’t want to make trouble and wouldn’t help; the Mayor, a presumed “liberal”while promising a review neglected to follow up, and the Civil Rights board would do nothing besides fire the resposilbe lawyer because their fraud was obvious.

      I relate this event only because tjhe gay community has become lacidisical about gay rightsm, just as the American people have about human rights . If you don’t demand of your servants and government that they take a proactive stance you can end up with all kinds of laws on the books but no real protection.

      In most places CIVIL RIGHTS mean only the rights of blacks and women; Gays be screwed. Even in the most liberal places. We need our own people in positions of power who are willing to put their lives on the line as in Stonewall: no difference, but a few years. I caught a quote by Tony Kushner the other day that goes like today liberals have become Radicals , Radicals, crazy; reactionaries have become moderates, the insane are solid conservatives.
      We live in a much more dangerous and in many ways more dangerous than before. Laws are only as good as their administrators.

      Jul 10, 2009 at 2:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dave
      Dave

      @ArronC: True that. They are ALL over the OC, those homophobes!

      Jul 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      Lawyer up, and get ready for the kill shot. All I can say is that I hope they’re planning a multimillion dollar lawsuit. What fool in their right mind wouldn’t? The only way things get done is if you sue. That’s life. Money and the threat of complete destruction motivates people to do the right thing, and generally, that’s about it.

      Jul 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Phoenix (Say Hallooo To My Leetle Friend, Dahling!)
      Phoenix (Say Hallooo To My Leetle Friend, Dahling!)

      @ walt zipprian,

      Naturally we’d offer you all in Texas/Oklahoma refugee status. In exchange we’d deport all of our red-neck homo haters.

      p.s. Chico’s is easy to boycott. Their food is crap and their staff is slovenly and rude.

      Jul 11, 2009 at 6:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David S.
      David S.

      The idea of classifying Texas as one single entity is absurd given the geographic and political diversity. I live in Austin, and it’s a much longer (2.5x) drive to El Paso than Mexico or Oklahoma.

      Moreover, it’s an incorrect generalization. Behavior like this wouldn’t fly in Austin. A state trooper tried something similar against a gay couple kissing at the capitol, and local groups got that officer suspended:

      http://www.pamspaulding.com/weblog/2004/12/texas-trooper-suspended-for-telling.html

      Our liberal cities (Austin, Dallas, and, to some degree, Houston) have similar political demographics to the rest other U.S. liberal cities. Moreover, such state/city disparity is quite common. New York City, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Charlotte are all strong, liberal political outliers in conservative states.

      I’m getting a little tired of judging entire states, whether it be for discrimination in El Paso or for voting in Prop 8. “Texas” and “California” are just states, not states of mind.

      On an unrelated note, please stop referring to the Lawrence v. Texas case for this. L v. T was decided on the basis of privacy, not scrutiny for sexual orientation-based discrimination. It’s unlikely to be useful in any way against a *public* gay kissing ban (which doesn’t exist in Texas, anyway).

      Jul 11, 2009 at 1:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dennis
      Dennis

      This isn’t a “Texas” thing…it’s an America thing…outside of dedicated gay enclaves or neighborhoods, this type of homophobic fuckery is always a possibility (not guaranteed) but definitely a possibility. North, south, east, west, in rural areas and even some large cities, gay hate can and does rear it’s ugly, inbred head at any time.

      The (limited) upside of this situation is it gives progressive and/or GLBT supportive El Paso-ans an opportunity to be seen and heard, defending that their city isn’t solely populated with retrograde fucktards.

      Jul 11, 2009 at 1:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joanaroo
      Joanaroo

      Hi Arron C., David S. & Dennis! I’m guilty of lumping everyone in a state as guilty too and shouldn’t since I’m in PA and we have plenty of haters here, unfortunately. With the talk of gay marriage in PA, there has been ugly shit hitting the fan and I’m sure there’ll be much more.

      Jul 11, 2009 at 2:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David S.
      David S.

      @Dennis:

      No, it’s not an “America” thing, either, unless your idea of the rest of the world is select countries in Europe.

      There are plenty of places in the world where gays face persecution, both de facto and de jure:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_by_country_or_territory

      Jul 11, 2009 at 3:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BillR
      BillR

      Unfortunately, it is a world thing. I live in the gayborhood in Dallas and I don’t know what the f*ck why all of these instances are happening in Texas.
      The TABC closed another gay bar in Dallas Friday night. I honestly believe that if they don’t back off and stop trying to put us in our place Dallas will be the site of a new Stonewall.

      Jul 13, 2009 at 12:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Martin
      Martin

      I’ve been a lurker here for a long time, but this was just what it took to motivate me to actualy post.

      As a vegetarian, I haven’t eaten at Chico’s in a very long time (although I’ve been there to watch my family eat), but I now have reason never to set foot there again in my life. I live off the same street as the restaurant, too (the restaurant pictured is not the location this happened at, either). That creeps me out now.

      Perhaps the worst part is that Chico’s Tacos is extremely popular here and seen as a source of pride for the city by many. The chances of any boycotts seriously affecting them are slim (especially since the LGBT-friendly population in El Paso is quite small, too.

      Jul 13, 2009 at 12:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David S.
      David S.

      @Martin I’d stage a kiss-in (gay and straight). Get a sizable crowd. Contact the media. Make sure everyone participating in the kiss-in stays calm and doesn’t unnecessarily escalate the situation. Keep the kissing tasteful; everything should be done so that it would be easily accepted there if it were all straight. You may even want to have each person participating buy something so you’re all legitimately customers.

      If nothing notable happens, then great. If something does, the media will be filming gay people being removed from the restaurant for kissing.

      Jul 13, 2009 at 1:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eddie
      Eddie

      This Article does not state exactly what happened, it wasn’t the group of men that called the police dept, it was rather the security guard. And the men were kicked out for dancing around the aisles after being asked to please settle down. Look I’m a supporter of the gay community, but honestly do not think the issue here was the kiss but rather their actions. I frequent Chicos and have seen people get kicked out for acting inappropriately regardless of sexual orientation.

      Jul 13, 2009 at 1:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dave
      Dave

      Eat at the HAMBURGER HUT off Alameda…I remembered the name. The tacos are better there and don’g give you the shits.

      Jul 13, 2009 at 1:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sm
      sm

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YF-B-Y7nDU
      just take a look at how individual get kicked out for unruly behavior, discrimination? sure is

      Jul 17, 2009 at 11:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      @sm:

      Drawing a comparison, asshole? Because as far as I can tell, you DON’T KNOW DICK about what actually unfolded, and apparently, it WAS THE KISS THAT GOT THEM BOOTED.

      Jul 17, 2009 at 11:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
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