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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Texas Dance Club, Asks Gay Couple To Leave

Posted by on Dec. 26, 2013 at 4:21 AM
  • 92 Replies


Cactus Canyon, Dance Club, Asks Justin Meyer And James Douglas, Gay Couple, To Leave

Victoria Advocate, Texas  |  By Carolina Astrain Posted:

A gay couple continues to question why they were pulled from the Cactus Canyon dance floor Saturday.

They were told by management that it was against the club's policy for two men to dance to country music together, but they have since learned no such policy exists.

"I don't like that we were lied to," said Justin Meyer, 21 of Victoria. "The confrontation never would have happened if they hadn't lied about the policy."

However, a bar manager said the couple was told to leave because they were disruptive.

On Saturday night, James Douglas, 30, of Karnes City, questioned whether the club actually had a policy or whether the company was discriminating against them.

Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, said the line between a private company's and an individual's rights in cases like this largely depends on city ordinances.

"Austin has accommodations that would have prohibited that type of discrimination," Harrington said. "But a lot of it depends on the facts of the case as it emerges."

The city of Victoria has no accommodations.

During his four years as city attorney, Thomas Gwosdz said the city has not considered regulating who would be able to come onto a private business' property.

"The city has not gotten involved with that," Gwosdz said.

The incident started as the closing notes of "Cowboys and Angels" ended, when a member of club management informed Douglas that dancing with his boyfriend, Meyer, was against the club's policy and posed a safety risk for the country music night club.

"Why?" Douglas asked the manager. "Why is it not OK for me to dance with my boyfriend when there are girls here who dance together all the time?"

Douglas said he assured management they would be able to fend for themselves in the event of an attack.

Robert Dillender, director of operations for Cactus Canyon in Victoria, said the couple was asked to leave because they were being disruptive, not for dancing.

Dillender said no such policy exists barring same sex couples from dancing together.

"We've never kicked anyone out of the club for dancing," Dillender said.

"Our obligation to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is to maintain the peace."

How the company interprets that obligation is under review, Dillender said.

"We apologize for the misunderstanding," Dillender said.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission enforces the state's liquor laws and issues liquor licenses to clubs.

After being told they could not dance to country music, Douglas closed his tab and went outside, where Meyer asked management for proof of the bar's policy.

The general manager denied Meyer's request.

Meyer then raised his voice and poked the manager in the chest, Dillender said.

But no poking took place, Meyer said.

From there, the manager told the couple they would be arrested if they returned to the club, Douglas said.

"We didn't want to create a problem," Douglas said. "We just wanted answers as to why we couldn't dance together."

The couple left the club soon thereafter.

News reports of the country bar ousting spread nationwide and caught the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said Tom Hargis, ACLU-Texas director of communications.

The organization plans to reach out to the couple, Hargis said.

"We encourage all people to stand up for their individual rights," Hargis said.

Two-Step Nightclub and Lounge President Bryant Price said his club in Victoria has no policies against lesbian or gay patrons.

"We don't do that at our club," Price said. "We have a number of gay and lesbian people who come into our club."

The Texas Civil Rights Project has sued a few places in El Paso and Austin, claiming discrimination, with cases resulting in settlements, Harrington said.

Discrimination against gay couples in private businesses is not uncommon.

A gay couple was told to leave a taxi after kissing in October in Chicago, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune.

In Oklahoma, a Wal-Mart janitor asked a gay couple to leave the store while they were buying cookies, according to a report by the Express-Star in Chickasha. The janitor was later fired.

Wild West, a country-Western bar in San Antonio, kicked out a gay couple for dancing and cited the same safety reasons provided by Cactus Canyon, according to QSanAntonio.

And in some places, discrimination has gone the opposite direction.

Last year, the Copenhagen Post reported a straight couple was kicked out of a gay bar for kissing.

In the Cactus Canyon incident, during their initial confrontation, the manager told Douglas it was acceptable for them to dance together for genres like rap or hip-hop -- just not country music, Douglas said.

"So you're telling me it's OK for me to bump and grind on my boyfriend to the song 'Bubble Butt,' but we can't dance a two-step?" Douglas responded.

Meyer said he has gone to Cactus Canyon since he was 18 years old.

"I'm just kind of shocked," Meyer said. "They know my face, I've been here hundreds of times, and it was just really hurtful that we couldn't dance together." ___

(c)2013 Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas)

Visit Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas) at www.victoriaadvocate.com

by on Dec. 26, 2013 at 4:21 AM
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Replies (1-10):
yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 9:05 AM
3 moms liked this

 People get kicked out of clubs all the time for being disruptive...being gay doesn't make it newsworthy.

 

greenie63
by Silver Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 9:12 AM
3 moms liked this
Why not? Discrimination comes in many ways and this is one. Until it stops it's always "newsworthy. "

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 People get kicked out of clubs all the time for being disruptive...being gay doesn't make it newsworthy.


 

tanyainmizzou
by on Dec. 26, 2013 at 9:15 AM
3 moms liked this

They say it is discrimination.   But a waitress also said they didn't tip her because she was gay.


Why not wait until all information is in?   The business is claiming they were disruptive.   Oh no, disruptive drunks.  That never happens.

Quoting greenie63: Why not? Discrimination comes in many ways and this is one. Until it stops it's always "newsworthy. "

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 People get kicked out of clubs all the time for being disruptive...being gay doesn't make it newsworthy.


 


yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 9:16 AM
6 moms liked this

 

Quoting greenie63: Why not? Discrimination comes in many ways and this is one. Until it stops it's always "newsworthy. "

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 People get kicked out of clubs all the time for being disruptive...being gay doesn't make it newsworthy.


 

 Sorry, but being gay doesn't mean you get to be disruptive in a bar.  Being gay doesn't mean you get to call discrimination every time something you don't like happens to you.

 

 

billsfan1104
by Jules on Dec. 26, 2013 at 9:20 AM
3 moms liked this
Again, another story that we should wait until ALL the facts come out.
tossed
by Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 9:26 AM

This article is poorly written and implies that laws in Austin or the Ausin city attorney would have any impact in Victoria. They are different cities in different parts of the state. Given the errors in that basic fact, I tend to question other conclusions. Where do some of these writers go to college?

greenie63
by Silver Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Good point about waiting until all information is in. I agree no one should be disruptive in a bar and alcohol makes people idiots too. 

Quoting tanyainmizzou:

They say it is discrimination.   But a waitress also said they didn't tip her because she was gay.


Why not wait until all information is in?   The business is claiming they were disruptive.   Oh no, disruptive drunks.  That never happens.

Quoting greenie63: Why not? Discrimination comes in many ways and this is one. Until it stops it's always "newsworthy. "

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 People get kicked out of clubs all the time for being disruptive...being gay doesn't make it newsworthy.


 



DestinyHLewis
by Destiny on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:10 AM
4 moms liked this

First reaction is that they were probably discriminated against for being gay. However, once agin, I'm going to wait until all the facts are in. Were they sloppy drunk and causing an issue? I don't know. Either way making up a ridiculous policy like that to get someone out of a bar is ludicrous. 

Bookwormy
by Platinum Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:25 AM
3 moms liked this
assuming that the story is 100 percent accurate, it's disappointing but not at all illegal or surprising. It is legal in the state of Texas to discriminate against its citizens for being gay or lesbian. in Austin Texas City Limits it may not be but virtually everywhere else in Texas it is. this is also the case in the majority of states in the USA.

if you think this is wrong then you should fight for the changing of the laws in the USA. gays and lesbians can be fired from their jobs for being gay or lesbian, they can be evicted from their homes for being gay or lesbian, and they can be refused service is at any public accommodation, in the majority of states in the USA. Don't think this is right? Fight for it to change. Think discrimination based on sexual orientation its a good thing? You apparently live in the right country...
FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:30 AM
2 moms liked this

It is hard to determine who is telling the truth in this story.


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