Gays Protest “No Kissing” Restaurant, ACLU Calls For El Paso Police Inquiry

LGBT protesters staged a kiss-in outside of Chico’s Tacos in El Paso, Texas on Friday after a group of gay men were booted from the restaurant because two of them kissed. El Paso police made the situation worse by telling the men that it was against the law in Texas for two men to kiss.

The head of Chico’s Tacos’ security company is now claiming that one of the men was dancing around the restaurant “like a ballerina” and that’s part of why they were thrown out.

“While at their seats, two members of the group did proceed to engage in kissing and other lewd conduct,” the statement said. “It wasn’t until another member of the group started to dance around in the aisle like a ballerina, that our officer approached them and asked them to settle down or they would be asked to leave.”

Gamboa said a member of the group “turned on the security officer, causing the officer to back away and call the police.” He added that at no time was the group asked to leave the establishment or refused service. The men, who appeared intoxicated, entered the establishment and engaged in disorderly conduct before claiming discrimination and gaining sympathy from the public, he said.

Upon seeing the statement while at the protest, Diaz de Leon was appalled. He disagreed with the contention that anyone began dancing and said five people were in his group at the restaurant, not eight. “That security company is ridiculous,” he said. Representatives from Chico’s remained silent and did not return several calls to their restaurants on Friday, choosing instead to make no comment. Police also released no new information on Friday, including the name of the officer involved or whether any disciplinary action will be taken.

On Friday the ACLU demanded a full inquiry into the response of the El Paso police department.

The ACLU of Texas, the state affiliate of the national non-profit civil rights organization, and Equality Texas, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, urged city officials push for an investigation of this reported incident as advocacy groups mobilized to protest both Chico’s and the City’s actions relating to the matter. “We’re extremely concerned that the actions of the restaurant employees and the El Paso police may have violated the law,” said ACLU of Texas legal director Lisa Graybill. “The City of El Paso prohibits restaurants from refusing service to anyone based on their sexual orientation, and the police should have enforced that ordinance.”