Nothing Resolved At Rally With NDO Complainants And Business In Attendance
A well-established business in San Antonio is defending itself after allegations that a security guard discriminated against a same-sex couple. Thursday night, a rally was held at Sanchez Ice House, where the owner's daughter, Sharon Castillo, read a statement.
But also present at the gathering were the complainants in the case, Maricela Fonseca and her girlfriend, Gina Ramirez.
The get together also featured patrons to the bar, where people relaxing with beer buckets could be seen unwinding from the week.
Fonseca said a peck on the lips in June got her thrown out of the bar. While Toby Keith's song, "I Love this Bar," played in the background. Fonseca said the security guard asked them to leave because she and her partner showed affection in public.
"He apologized to us for even having to tell us to leave and he even mentioned that he didn't think we did anything wrong but the owners didn't condone the lesbians dancing or kissing here," Fonseca said.
Castillo publicly defended the business, saying the couple's passionate public display of affection became excessive and prompted action. But she denied Fonseca and Ramirez were treated differently because of their sexual preference.
"The complaint brought upon by the complainants alleging that they were discriminated due to their sexual preference is false," Castillo said over a loud speaker set up outside the bar. "Sanchez Ice House does not condone or support any form of discrimination."
Patrons cheered and nodded their heads in agreement that Sanchez Ice House is a family place. San Antonio's LULAC Zapatista chapter put together the rally. After Castillo spoke, the LULAC chapter president, Henry Rodriguez, went to discuss the matter with Fonseca's attorney, Justin Nichols, who also attended the gathering.
"Putting on a fancy show just for the show of it and having a bunch of people hoot and holler is not the way to get this resolved," Nichols told Rodriguez during the impromptu meeting.
Rodriguez pointed out that he supported San Antonio's revised non-discrimination ordinance.
"I support you big time," Rodriguez said.
But Nichols wants a full investigation into what happened and hopes the owners will resolve the issue.
"The proper thing to do at this point is not to hold press rallies and beer parades but instead to come to the table and be serious about talking about my clients' concerns," Nichols said.
The business could face a fine of up to $500 if found it violated the NDO. Fonseca and Ramirez stand by their statement and say they did not take things too far when they kissed.