© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

LULAC Defends Business That Allegedly Discriminated Against Lesbian Couple

Ryan Loyd
TPR News

The local business under fire for allegedly discriminating against a lesbian couple is getting the support of a minority rights group.

The director of League of United Latin American Citizens Concilio Zapatista 4383 is siding with Sanchez Ice House, a local business that reportedly told a lesbian couple in early June that they could not kiss because it is a family establishment.

Henry Rodriguez said while the LULAC chapter supports non-discrimination issues, and stood behind the city's revised NDO, he does not believe the business discriminated against the couple.

"We talked to some people there that were there and they have a different story," Rodriguez said. "If it did happen, and I really cannot believe that it did, but we'll let it play out in court. By talking to witnesses, the story doesn't pan out the way that it was presented in the media."

Rodriguez said he has known the owners of Sanchez Ice House, Val and Alice Gutierrez, for years and because of the way they run their business, they've even told straight couples who danced inappropriately that their behavior wasn't welcomed.

"They see it as being a respectful place for families," he said. "It's not unusual to see an entire family with strollers and the whole bit there."

Justin Nichols, who represents the couple, said that his clients stand by their statements and look forward to a full investigation of the facts.

"It's unusual that a group with a longstanding history of advocating for equality would get involved before any investigation has taken place, especially when all parties involved are members of the Latino community, and the complaint is devoid of any racial or ethnic factor," Nichols said in a statement.

A rally of support for the business is planned for Thursday evening.