The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) has ruled that Pioneer Valley Transit Authority and Hampshire County Transit must pay Joane Rome over $30,000 for being ordered off a bus in 1994 for kissing her lesbian lover.
Driver Stephen Follett pulled the bus over and ordered Joane Rome out because she and her girlfriend’s display of affection was inappropriate. “There are little kids in here. You can’t do that in front of families,” he said. Rome said that a heterosexual couple on the bus was being affectionate as well, but Follett claimed not to have seen them. After criticizing her, he allowed Rome to continue her bus ride. She said she felt “excruciatingly embarassed and upset” that she had been “ordered off the bus in front of all the other passengers.” After she got off the bus, Rome went directly to MCAD to file her complaint.