Wal-Mart responds after gay couple told to leave
CHICKASHA, Okla. – Wal-Mart parking lots are usually packed with people, all different, in and out every day, but for Jonathan Pacheco and his boyfriend, Miguel, a stop for cookies wasn’t so sweet when a janitor approached the couple.
“We weren’t holding hands. We weren’t kissing. We weren’t doing anything inappropriately,” said Pacheco. “We were looking at cookies, and he asked me did I hear what happened in Anadarko? I was like, ‘No. What happened in Anadarko?’ and he said, ‘Two guys got married.’ And I said, ‘Cool.’, and he said, ‘No. Not in my Bible. In my Bible it’s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.’”
Pacheco says the janitor made it clear.
“He said you’re not allowed in my store,” said Pacheco.
Hurtful words to the Chickasha couple.
“I was upset,” said Pacheco. “I was just angry at the whole situation.”
After telling a Wal-Mart manager, Pacheco and his boyfriend left.
“Out of everywhere that we shop in Chickasha, Wal-Mart is the first place that we can’t go now because we’re gay?” said Pacheco.
Shoppers were outraged.
“It’s not something that’s fair,” said Misty Woods. “You ought to be able to go where you want and be with your girlfriend or your boyfriend without being harassed.”
“Of all the places, Wal-Mart. Some place real active in the community, they do a lot of things, they’re involved a lot. So for them to paint that picture it’s just shocking,” said Robert Pereda.
The American Civil Liberties Union says this encounter comes at an interesting time. Senators just passed a bill preventing employers from firing people based on sexual orientation.
“Then we hear right here in our own backyard where a couple doesn’t even feel comfortable going shopping in their hometown,” said ACLU’s Ryan Kiesel. “So I think, that on one hand it says that we’ve made a lot of progress as a society, but it demonstrates we’ve got a long way to go.”
Wal-Mart Spokesperson Kayla Whaling told NewsChannel 4, “This is completely unacceptable to us and our customers, and the associate involved is no longer with the company.”
As for Pacheco and his boyfriend, he says the janitor’s words changed them.
“I can’t be myself because people are going to come up to me and start hating me for something that’s not even involving them,” Pacheco says.