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Bigotry lives on: Gay couple barred from dancing in a Texas country Western bar, told it's "unacceptable"

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Cactus Canyon nightclub in Victoria
Cactus Canyon in Victoria — located two hours southwest of Houston — is being accused of discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation. Photo by Rob Garrett
Justin Meyer and James Douglas
Justin Meyer and James Douglas were told to leave the Cactus Canyon nightclub after they danced together to a country song. Photo courtesy of KAVU
Cactus Canyon nightclub in Victoria
Justin Meyer and James Douglas

After being ejected from a nightclub in Victoria — little more than two hours southeast of Houston — a young gay couple is trying to fight back against bigotry.

Twenty-one-year-old Justin Meyer of Victoria and his boyfriend of nine months, 30-year-old James Douglas of Karnes City, were simply dancing to a country song at the Cactus Canyon Club when the couple was told by management that it was against the club's policies for two men to dance to country music together.

"He told me they have a policy that states that they don't allow males to dance with males to country songs," Douglas tells KAVU-TV. "I said, 'Just country?' and he said, 'Yes.' " 

After the pair was told they couldn't dance together to country music, Douglas proceeded to close his bar tab and went to ask management for proof of the bar's policy. Meyer's request was quickly denied and the bar manager insists this is when a confrontation took place — although Meyer vehemently denies this — and that confrontation was the reason the couple was asked to leave the club and were issued a "no trespassing" warning.

 "It's not acceptable for men to dance together in the type of business that we run." 

A corporate spokesperson for Cactus Canyon, Roger Gearhart, said that there is a policy prohibiting men from dancing together, but that the couple was asked to leave for being confrontational and disruptive and not because of their orientation.

"For many decades, it's acceptable for women to dance together in all kinds of clubs, but it's not acceptable for men to dance together in the type of business that we run," Gearhart told KAVU.

The openly gay couple says they were discriminated against for their sexual orientation. "Why should we feel like we are afraid to go out in public just because of the way we were born?" Douglas asks.

This incident is just the latest high-profile incident of its kind.

A Chicago taxi driver told a kissing gay couple to get out of his vehicle in October, as detailed by the Chicago Tribune.

A janitor at an Oklahoma Walmart asked a gay couple to leave while they were buying cookies, according to a report by the Express-Star in Chickasha. The janitor was soon fired.

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.

Meyer says he had been visiting Cactus Canyon since he was 18-years-old. "I'm just kind of shocked," he says. "They know my face, I've been here hundreds of times and it was just really hurtful that we couldn't dance together."

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