Henry 'El Zapatista' Rodriguez was named 2012 LULAC
Texas Man of the Year. (Photo: lulaczapatista.org)
LULAC leader defends Sanchez Ice
QSanAntonio, July 25, 2014
Henry 'El Zapatista' Rodriguez, president of LULAC Concilio Zapatista
4383 says that Sanchez Ice House did not violate the city's nondiscrimination
ordinance when it ejected a lesbian couple for kissing.
On June 7, Marciela Fonseca and her girlfriend Gina Ramirez say they were
asked to the leave the ice house because they had kissed on the dance
floor. (See related story link below.)
The security guard who escorted the women out told them Alice Gutierrez,
the owner's wife, said to tell them, "This is a family establishment
and we don't let lesbians kiss." The couple recently filed a complaint
against the ice house under the city's nondiscrimination ordinance.
Rodriguez, who was named 2012 LULAC Texas Man of the Year, told Texas
Public Radio that his chapter supported the NDO but he doesn't buy the
couple's version of events.
"We talked to some people there that were there and they have a different
story," he told TPR. "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
Rodriguez is a long-time friend of ice house owner Val Gutierrez and his
wife. He grew up in the neighborhood is now a political activist for a
variety of issues.
On February 18, Rodriguez spoke at a protest rally organized by a coalition
of streetcar opponents that included his LULAC chapter, local tea partiers
and the Homeowner-Taxpayer Association of Bexar County.
A 2012 article in the San Antonio Current recalls that during the Henry
Cisneros administration, Sanchez Ice House was almost demolished as part
of an urban renewal plan. Federal money was being used to convert the
blighted inner-city neighborhood into an light industrial area. Many businesses,
including the ice house, faced the wrecking ball.
The Current reported that with the help of COPS (Community Organized for
Public Service), Rodriguez, in his role as a LULAC leader, "rallied
to protect the interests of the neighborhood citizens, and soon thereafter,
neighboring bars as well." The story goes that Sanchez Ice House
survived thanks to Rodriguez's efforts.
Henry 'El Zapatista' Rodriguez spoke
at a February 18 protest rally organized by a coalition of streetcar opponents.
(Video capture: KSAT-TV)
On Thursday night, the Concilio Zapatista chapter held a rally in support
of Val and Alice and their ice house. Rodriguez and the owner's position
is that Sanchez Ice House is a family hangout and the couple were ejected
not because they are lesbian but because of the public display of affection
-- they would have been thrown out even if they had been straight they
Before the couple had legal representation, they sought
help from the Orgullo de San Antonio LULAC Council 22198 which is an LGBT
chapter. Members of Orgullo stood outside Sanchez Ice House with Fonseca
and Ramirez on Thursday evening to help bring attention to the couple's
story to news reporters who were there to cover the rally.
The women's complaint is the second filed under the nondiscrimination
ordinance. The first was filed last January by Matthew Hileman, a transgender
man who says he was unfairly dismissed from a job at AT&T after he
reported transphobic harassment by fellow employees. Attorney Justin Nichols
is representing both cases.
In terms of what happened at the ice house, Nichols is clear about what
his clients want.
"Under the nondiscrimination ordinance it makes it a crime to discriminate
on the basis if sexual orientation. So one of the things we're asking
the city to do is prosecute the Sanchez Ice House and that would be done
in municipal court and the fine is up to five hundred dollars," he
Sanchez Ice House #1 (Photo: Facebook)
couple say they were escorted out of bar because they kissed
QSanAntonio, July 3, 2014
A lesban couple in San Antonio say they were asked to leave an ice house
in Southtown last month because they had kissed.