What's wrong with a little PDA? If you're in El Paso -- and gay -- it may get you threatened with arrest over a nonexistent law, a group alleges in a suit.
A trial court ruled the four men, led by Carlos Diaz de Leon, could not sue the city over the incident, but the 8th Court of Appeals has now ruled that they can.
Diaz de Leon, Daniel Marquez, Kimo Sylva and Gabriel Morales say they went into a Chico's Tacos in El Paso in 2009 and, while waiting at the counter, two of them kissed briefly twice.
According to the appellate court's summary of the allegations, the restaurant security guard later approached their table and said, "If you continue with your clowning around, we will throw you out of here. We won't allow you to do faggot things here."
The guard also called them pigs.
When the manager of the restaurant declined to do anything in response to their complaints, the four men called the cops and waited 45 minutes.
They shouldn't have bothered, if what they claim is true.
The men say two El Paso cops arrived and one told them it was "against the law for two men to kiss in public" and that he could arrest them. He then kicked them out of the place, saying, "You should know the law before calling the police" and "You are lucky you are not going to be ticketed for homosexual activity."
The cop didn't say whether "homosexual activity" is a misdemeanor, felony or capital offense, but maybe it depends on whether it involves a playful peck, a deep soul kiss or a loud, energetic butt-reaming romp.
The city of El Paso argued they should be dropped from the suit, for a bunch of the usual legal reasons involving government immunity. The appellate court said if the group's claims were true, the cops "denied them the protection of the city's antidiscrimination ordinance and forced them to leave the restaurant against their will."
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.