Same-Sex Kiss: Prelude to a Diss

7.8.09_abc_7_screenshot Two men who kissed at one of five Chico's Tacos restaurants in El Paso, Tex., were kicked out by guards—and local law enforcement supported the ejection, citing non-existent laws regarding homosexual conduct in public.

The men and three friends were asked to leave after the kiss when security personnel told them they didn't allow "all that faggot stuff" in the establishment, according to Carlos Diaz de Leon, a member of the group.
The men refused to leave, instead calling the police. One hour and multiple slurs later, police arrived and one officer told the men same-sex kissing is illegal in public, and that they could be arrested. (The Supreme Court needs a better publicist—they threw out Lawrence v. Texas six years ago.)

Chicos-tacos Outrageously, Detective Carlos Carrillo said the restaurant had every right to "refuse service to whoever they don't want there. That's their prerogative." The irony was apparently lost on him.

In 2003, the chain's fiftieth anniversary, the Texas House of Representatives honored the family who founded the business.

Some mostly encouraging local reactions here. Contact info and way to "review" Chico's here.


  1. Marlin Bynum says

    While I agree the beginning of this situation was in great error, you have to give the city of El Paso credit for stepping forward and making things as right as possible.

    The officer that arrived made several mistakes — i.e. the right of a public place to refuse service, and homosexual conduct being illegal. His supervisor made some mistakes — saying that the cafe had a right to refuse service, and that they could have been charged with tresspassing.

    The city council confronted the chief of police and he issued a statement within days that stated that his officers were wrong. He went on to say that it is illegal to discriminate in a public place because of sexual orientation according to city law. Furthermore he said the men could not be charged with homosexual conduct.

    While the beginning is bad, the ending seems to be much better. Hopefully soon the eating establishment will step forward and admit their wrong and discipline the security staff — i.e. firing that agency and finding another. Third hopefully this will educate the people of El Paso — and more cities we can only hope, that men can kiss in public, like their heterosexual counterparts and it can be appreciated for what it is — loving affection.

    Here are the articles that pertain to this developing story. (story filed 7/8) (Story filed 7/9) (Story filed 7/9) (Story filed 7/10)

  2. mcc says

    Worth noting: There’s no currently-proposed legislation which have stopped this. The Civil RIghts Act protects against discrimination in employment in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on race or religion; ENDA extends only the employment protection to LGBTs. We may want to start thinking about what other law changes we need to push for once ENDA passes…

  3. le_sacre says

    usually my irony-detector is pretty sensitive, but i’m not picking up on it here. what was ironic, exactly? was it because the police officer was essentially denying service to the kissing patrons, which is not his prerogative?

  4. Drew says

    Come on yall. Giving this place bad ratings because its homophobic isnt going to deter a lot of straight business. Lets give it a REAL review. Like this:

    Chico’s Tacos has to be one of the worst ‘Texican’ eateries I have patronized. First of all, their service is not where it should be, and secondly their food is very low-quality.

    I visited the restaurant for the first time a few weeks ago, but was highly dissatisfied with their ‘customer service’ if you could even call it that. They were highly rude and unprofessional, and their uniforms looked like they hadnt been washed in ages. I heard one of the employees even use a racial expletive which was, again highly unprofessional.

    It took at least 10 minutes to get our food because the employees were not really paying attention to their jobs. The manager was there but he was mainly concerned with flirting this this underage female employee (she couldnt have been out of high school yet). I just have the say the whole experience was revolting.

    Regardless of all of that, our taco’s were dripping in grease, and ended up getting it on my new shorts, and they were ruined. I had heard that the food was really good, but I could hardly even eat it because of the grease. One of my friends taco’s was mainly just bread almost no veggies or meat inside.

    I rate this place with a big fat ZERO. I only put 1 because they was the lowest it would go. These people are racists, and have no work ethic. I dont see how this place is still in business.

    HAHAHA – Thats what I call gay power!

  5. mcc says

    “He went on to say that it is illegal to discriminate in a public place because of sexual orientation according to city law. ”

    Wow, I didn’t know that. Way to go El Paso.

  6. JR says

    I’m gonna say this at the risk of getting a shit storm of hate launched my way…

    Homo’s should be able to kiss each other where ever and when ever they want. God knows me and my boyfriend do. But #1 this happened in Texas. Seriously, use your head. #2 it happened in EL PASO, Texas. I won’t say they were asking for it. But think about it. They had to know some one was going to have a problem with it. BUT, what SHOULD happen is that they should get every homo they know to visit this lame fucking joint on the same night and all start kissing. Let’s see law enforcement do something about THAT.

  7. jtramon says

    Well. This is one reason I don’t step foot in most of these shit hole towns in the south. Why would some one in their right mind want to live in this kind of environment?

  8. patrick nyc says

    I’ve been to 47 of the 50 states and Texas is one of the most racist and homophobic of them. My best friend lives in Dallas for over 15 years and I told him I’d visit him anywhere but there.

  9. Alex says

    Yeah I was going to bring up the fact that Lawrence v. Texas does not allow gays to kiss in restaurants and not be refused service. The restaurant was well within its right to refuse service for it. Sad, but true.

  10. Craig says

    Good for the El Paso city council in stepping in. I wonder how the publicity suits the owners of this fine little hell hole of a restaurant? Looks like a flourishing little place, doesn’t it? The place to go for fine cuisine? The comments about grease somehow seem apropos? And the city cop? Doesn’t it feel great to have your ignorance of your own job displayed on the national media like that? Kind of like the moron DPS trooper a few years ago that stopped a gay couple from kissing on the capital grounds in Austin – and ended up having a judge order him to take remedial training in what the laws of Texas actually said. All without pay, by the way.

    Wonder if that judge is still available.

    The business is well within it’s right to refuse service to everyone, just like it’s our right to plaster them all over the news. Fair trade, but I wouldn’t want to have made this bargain if I owned that business!

  11. anon says

    There is no state protection for gays in TX, so it depends on city ordinances. Refusing service depends on whether you are part of a protected class and whether your behavior violates local norms. They were not asked to leave because they were gay, but because they were kissing. There is a fine line here in the law and it depends on precedent. Cops can say whatever they want, but they must act within the law. If they tell you they you must go because of XYZ and you go, you’ve left voluntarily–they did not force you to go. They’d have to arrest you for trespassing to for the law to apply–otherwise they are trying to trick you to get the situation under control.

  12. alex in boston says

    I agree with JR above! Shit storm or not – YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH YOU ARE STEPPING!!! Yes, in a perfect society everyone, gay or str8, ought to be able to be themselves, but this isn’t a perfect society and there are those who want nothing to do with us and will make our lives miserable using existing Laws!!

  13. says

    There have been so many stories like this recently. I’m 52, live in the [relatively] sane state of Connecticut (with legal gay marriage), but i have to say the preponderance of anti-gay occurrences i’ve read about in the blogs lately, is troubling. Personally, as late as 2 years ago i had the ”Fbomb” hatefully hurled at me by a 70 year old retired rocket scientist-I kid you not. I REALLY thought that by this point in my life, having endured homophobia for close to 35 years (in every part of the country), that it would be done by now. I thought the ‘Age of Aquarius’ I heard about when i was 12, would be in full-swing. There comes a point when throwing open one’s windows and screaming, a la ‘Network,” isn’t enough. Y’know?

  14. Fed. Civil Rights Now! says

    This story illustrates why we must amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include LGBT people. It protects various minorities against discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation, securing financial credit, etc.

    ENDA only covers employment. Why have we as a community accepted the goal of attaining only a fraction of the federal protections afforded to other minorities? And why have we become so focused on DOMA and DADT instead of broader civil rights protections that would help everyone?

    Right now, there are ZERO federal civil rights protections for LGBT Americans. Your rights depend on where you live and if that city/state passed laws to help you. Don’t expect Uncle Sam to care if you’re kicked out of a restaurant, denied service or fired from your job.

    There is a movement to get Congress to amend the Civil Rights Act. Sign the petition at

    Read stories about it at:

    Full disclosure: I wrote the articles, and the paper is now defunct. But the topic remains relevant. Pass along the info.

    End of soapbox.

  15. NYCGuy says

    An interesting note about TX is that all of the major cities, went for Obama in the last election. The state was even considered too close to call for a while.

    It is correct that the current atmosphere in TX is extremely homophobic, but there is a very strong trend in the other direction. It used to be a Democratic state, until the Bushes.

    Patrick – I lived in Dallas for many years. It is an exception. The sheriff is gay. There are several gay city officials. There are city laws on the books prohibiting discrimination against gays. It’s a pretty forward thinking city. I don’t know what your friend’s experience has been, but mine has always been great. Just an FYI. You should at least visit him.

    Ft. Worth, on the other hand. . .that’s a different story.

  16. Drake says

    Prepare for lots more incidents like this, and the bar raid and like the bar raid in Fort Worth’s Rainbow Lounge and the gay bashings in New York’s upper east side after Pride last week, now that all these anti-gay images from Bruno are circulating everywhere, whether on Letterman, Youtube, or worse, the movie itself. I do not understand how a gay site such as this has given so much promotion to all these negative stereotypes about gays. Of course the media and the general culture influences people. This movie is bad news for us.

  17. Johnny says

    Drake, I disagree.

    The Bruno movie skewers the publics ongoing ignorance about gays using humor and “punked” type situations. You may not like the style or the actors, but the point of the movie (much like Borat) is to point out real society’s misconceptions and horrid homophobia in ways they are not expecting.

    I think a total, massive gay Kiss-in is in order at that shithole resturant, even if only on the sidewalk near it.

  18. says

    Posting a link to Yelp so people write a disparaging review is bad form. Seriously. Boycott the establishment if you so desire, even organize a kiss-in protest outside the store, but don’t encourage people to post reviews of an establishment they’ve yet to patronize–a violation of Yelp’s terms of use.

  19. dino says

    My guess that detective’s comment can be seen as ironic because of his ethnicity?

    this is the last paragraph another commenter linked

    “Federal public accommodation laws which prohibit discrimination, and their local counterparts that extend rights to groups beyond race, religion and nationality, came at a time when signs that said “No Mexicans, no dogs” were common in restaurants and other public establishments in West Texas, Graybill said.”

  20. Mick says

    Drew’s comments above were the best as far as good advice on how to f**k this business out of existence! THAT’S the way to do it!

    Good going, Drew!

  21. Tralfaz says

    My review of Chico’s on yahoo:

    I loves me some good ol’ cheap mexican food. So when I was on a road trip to Austin I stopped by Chico’s for quick bite.

    Well, the place was filthy. The staff was rude and bascially threw the food at you. The tacos were pretty greasy but what do you expect. I mananged to finish them off and got back into my car and drove off.

    I was just outside of town when I thought I was going to die. I pulled into a gas station and ran to the rest room where I spent the next hour throwing up and crapping. Luckily the attendent of the gas station heard my cries for help and called 911.

    When the paramedics arrived and put me on the strecher one of them noticed the Chico’s soda cup I was drinking water from. He yelled to his partner “HEY LANORE, we got another Chico’s victim”. They rushed me to the nearest hospital where I ended up staying for 5 days. I was so weak when I was released from the hospital, my cousin from Austin had to fly to El Paso and drive me back to Los Angeles.

    I don’t think I’ll be back to Chico’s anytime soon.

  22. Marilee says

    The fact that its El Paso, Texas and gay people feel they can’t express themselves there is exactly the reason why we MUST go there and do things like this. Its not wrong, its an expression of love and we should be able to express ourselves just like anyone else. Change starts by this exact type of action. I won’t hide, I shouldn’t have to.

  23. Melanie says

    El Paso is actually one of the most liberal counties in Texas. Of course, there are homophobic jerks everywhere, so I’m not surprised that this happened. But I don’t want people to get a bad impression of El Paso as a whole. It has a good-size gay community that is generally accepted by the whole city. I live in Dallas now, and although there is a large gay community here and there are many gays in local government, I have seen more discrimination here than I ever did in El Paso.

    And it sucks this happened at Chico’s Tacos. I loved going there after late nights at The Mining Co.

  24. Pickle says

    I think the “irony” comment pertained to the fact that the officer’s name – Detective Carlos Carrillo – is obviously Latin. For him to defends the rights of an establishment to discriminate against clientele, he’s obviously not thinking about how some parts of Texas (well, the whole country, really) would do just the same against his kind as well.

  25. cMal says

    “Fulfill all your wishes
    with my taco-flavored kisses!
    Taco taco.”

    Posted by: crispy | Jul 10, 2009 2:54:33 PM

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! I couldn’t call myself a ‘South Park’ freak if I didn’t catch that hilarious reference!

  26. Paul R says

    Obviously the police were in the wrong, I’m not sure what these guys were expecting by calling the police. A taco escort? An arrest for a verbal slur?

    I can see getting very pissed off (though I wouldn’t be kissing my BF in an El Paso fast food chain), but I can’t see waiting an hour for the police to do…I’m not sure what.

  27. says

    Pickle wins the prize (I’m thinking…a free taco?). I’m actually really bored/annoyed with the tendency among white gays like myself to scream “YOU’RE BLACK!/LATINO!/[insert useful minority]” anytime a gay-rights issue comes up, but in this case it’s just too rich to be a Mexican man (just a guess, but he ain’t Irish) in fucking Texas and be sticking up for a restaurant’s right to refuse service since his argument should explicitly apply to any other nonsensical reason, like, “Get out of my place, YOU’RE BLACK!/LATINO!/[insert useful minority].”

  28. Superman says

    @ Former Chico’s Patron: That makes two of us!

    @ Drew: You were fairly spot-on in your “review” of the restaurant–up until the description of the tacos. The reality is much worse. Instead of grease, these “rolled tacos” are soaked in…wait for it…water! They add a bit of weak tomato sauce to the water and call the horrid concoction “Chico’s sauce.” They then top this glop with “government” cheese. Lastly, they serve the tacos (either a “single order” of 3 tacos or a “double order” of 6) with green jalapeño salsa in containers similar to thse that come attached to Pepto Bismol bottles. This, of course, is to kill the taste of the tacos. Too bad the Pepto isn’t included because that’s what you’ll need after you eat this slop. The fact that this dump–which is, by the way, a haven for six-footed vermin–is a popular local attraction after an evening of heavy drinking says it all. The rent-a-cops are there to keep order among the thugs that flock to this rat’s nest because the fare is dirt cheap. The low prices reflect the quality of the ingredients, especially the “meat” (is it a coincidence that one of the restaurants is located between a zoo and a cemetery?).

    Anyway, that is Chico’s Tacos “cuisine” for you. The restaurant should definitely be boycotted until a formal apology is made to the five young men who were publicly humiliated without the restaurant’s staff lifting a single finger to intervene. That was simply passive-aggressive homophobia.

    Even after the apology is made, El Pasoans should continue to boycott the dive for its substandard slop, which has contributed significantly to the city’s obesity problem. What a nasty, filthy place.

  29. Philip Wester says

    Only morons would watch Brüno and have it bolster their prejudices against homosexuals and think it gives them a right to discriminate against LGBTs.

    Morons that would be doing it even without Brüno. People are homophobe whackjobs because of a reason and in 99 out of 100 cases, it’s not because some gay person wronged them or they’ve got any “evidence” that gay people are bad (like the Bruno movie). They are just homophobic because of their upbringing.

    A viewing of Brüno or promo material for Brüno will change much.

  30. NYSmike says

    Nowadays, with the economy in shambles, it will be well worth our while to spend our gay dollars wisely and where they are more than appreciated.

  31. Wheezy says

    @ NYSMIKE,

    Yes, hit them where they live. “Don’t like our queer asses? Then you must hate our queer ca$h!” No more MR NICE GAY and NO MORE QUEER $$$ FOR BIGOTS. Take your gay money to gay owned businesses.

  32. Raul says

    As a gay El Pasoan, I have have never been harassed for kissing my boyfriend in public. Living here I don’t feel like I’ve ever been discriminated against because of my sexual orientation. I also believe that El Paso is, in fact, a very liberal city, especially for Texas. Our county sheriff (who was also the previous chief of police) is gay and won the 2008 election in a landslide. With that being said, I feel like this is an isolated incident and put the blame solely on the security guard(s) and the police officer.

    On another note, the fake reviews of Chico’s Tacos seem to be fairly accurate, with the exception that the tacos contain absolutely no veggies whatsoever.

  33. CHRISTOPHER says

    As sad as this is. Thank God this isn’t a BLACK HOMOPHOBIA ISSUE one that has been reported more than anything in our community.
    We now see someone else doing it!

    El Paso is 85% Hispanic. This goes to show Homophobia knows no race!

    Now lets fight this on all fronts not just Black Homophobia!


  34. Kevin says

    Well geez…I guess I’ll have to mark El Paso off my list of places I’d like to visit one day.


    Oh wow! What a surprise! It wasn’t on my list to begin with….

    And eating at place called ‘Chico’s Tacos’ sounds like a great way to get amoebic dysentery, salmonella, Hepatitis A. Those of you watching your figures, go for it. I’ll pass, thanks though.

  35. Rob says

    Yelp sent me an email saying they were deleting my review because it was not an in-store experience. Apparently they are not too fond of free speech.

  36. Bryan says

    Well, we can sit around and whimper about how mean those bad straight people are to us, or we can take 5,000 faggots and go fuck on their table tops, then keep on fucking as we overflow the local jail.

    Which do you think sounds like more fun? Which sounds more likely to accomplish anything? Discuss amongst yourself – I’m going to go jerk off into a taco now.

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