LGBTQ San Diego County News
A recent homophobic incident between a San Diego Uber driver and two married gay dads from New York received national media attention and continued criticism of how Uber conducts business and its relationship with the LGBTQ community.
The two husbands/fathers and their 1-year-old child flew into San Diego from Hawaii during vacation for a stopover visit to the San Diego Zoo. The men called an Uber to take them to the Marriott Hotel by the Bay. On their way to the hotel, the Uber driver began to question the two passengers as to where the baby’s mother was and when the men tried to explain that they were married and the legal fathers of their child, the Uber driver proceeded to tell them that “even Jesus had a mother.” After the continuation of a most uncomfortable ride to their hotel and checking into their room, the two men called the Uber complaint line to inform the company of the homophobic incident. Uber responded only by informing the men that their ride to the hotel would not be charged. They then retired for the night with their child when at 1:30 a.m., there was a knock on their hotel room door and standing before them were two San Diego Harbor Police officers who uncomfortably began to question them. It soon became apparent to the two men that the Uber driver had called the police about his concern about a “motherless baby” and the possibility of child endangerment or child kidnapping/child trafficking.
The following morning, when City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez was informed, he immediately contacted San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit, who was on vacation but quickly looked into the incident and gave a full report back to Commissioner Ramirez. The two men and their child flew back to New York after the traumatic incident and received a phone call from Commissioner Ramirez expressing his outrage that such an incident happened in San Diego and promised the New Yorkers that our city would contact Uber. After discussions with Ramirez, both Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Chief Nisleit called the men to express their concern and apologized for the homophobic incident. The mayor’s office contacted Uber officials to express their outrage at such treatment and Uber’s handling of the situation. Uber committed to rectifying the situation. Commissioner Ramirez stated that there would be a complete report and follow-through with Uber so that no LGBTQ+ family would again be subjected to such treatment. Also, Ramirez commended and thanked Mayor Faulconer and Police Chief Nisleit for their quick response and immediate outreach to the New York family.
Mayor Faulconer issued the following statement to LGBTQ San Diego County News: “San Diego is a city that accepts and embraces all people — regardless of color, gender, religion or who they choose to love. The discriminatory ride-share experience described by visitors does not represent the values we hold as San Diegans. San Diego welcomes this family, and all LGBTQ+ individuals, openly to our city.”