In a city as large and diverse as Houston, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in one’s own pace of life, and very easy to not be involved in local politics. That is until local politics gets involved with you in the form of discrimination, malicious activity or an accident. As ABC 13 reports, this is what happened to one couple enjoying a night on the town…
Travis Player and his partner, Andres Orozco, were dropped off Several blocks from their home in the Museum District recently.
“We thought he was joking until he actually pulled over,” Player said.
A cab ride home from F Bar took the fun out of Sunday Funday for them.
“We gave each other a kiss and he told us to get out of the car,” Player said.
The couple says a Yellow Cab driver kicked them out of his cab after the two started kissing, keeping it PG, in the back seat.
“The man just turns back to us and tells us that he doesn’t give gay people rides,” Orozco said. “And he proceeds to tell us we’re going to hell for being gay.”
In response to our questions, Yellow Cab sent us a statement:
“Yellow Cab immediately investigated this allegation of discrimination, including talking to the independent contractor driver. the driver stated that he would have taken the same actions if it was a man and a woman in the taxicab. Evidently, the driver was overly sensitive to passengers kissing. Yellow Cab does not have a policy about passengers showing affection in taxicabs. in fact, we encourage kissing in our taxicabs.”
“The sad reality is that it is completely legal,” said GLBT community advocate Noel Freeman.
Freeman says in the last six months, he’s heard 4 other similar stories: gay couples getting kicked out of Yellow Cab taxis, for being affectionate.
“There are no laws in the state of Texas that protect people from discrimination in public accommodations like cabs. So someone can be kicked out of a cab because they’re gay, black, because they’re a woman,” Freeman said.
The whole incident serves as a stark reminder why laws like the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance are so important. Were the HERO law in effect today, people like Travis Player and Andres Orozco would have a direct local channel to file a complaint against that cab driver for discrimination within public accommodations. Changing the law also decreases the incidents of discrimination because people know it’s against the law to discriminate, and they know that doing so could result in them being fined or losing their position.
Yet forces in the city of Houston are still fighting tooth and nail to destroy HERO, based on erroneous information. For this couple’s sake, and all the other citizens of Houston, let’s hope they do not prevail.
This November, Annise Parker and none of the City Council members that passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance are on the ballot. But if you care about equality throughout the state of Texas, make sure to vote for pro-equality candidates like Leticia Van de Putte, Wendy Davis, David Rosen and others. The only way to protect all Texans from discriminatory incidents like this one is to put people in office that care about ALL Texans.