Three gay men who sued Disneyland over the right to slow-dance with each other have dropped their lawsuit in exchange for a pledge by the amusement park not to discriminate based on sexual orientation.
Eric Hubert, Christopher Drake and Jeffrey Stabile Jr. sued Disneyland in 1988, claiming that their civil rights were violated by a security guard who allegedly told them that “touch dancing is reserved for heterosexual couples only.” The case was to have gone to trial earlier this month.
Leroy S. Walker, the Los Angeles lawyer representing the men, declined to comment beyond a one-paragraph statement saying: “Disneyland reaffirms that its written policy prohibits discrimination based upon sexual orientation. The lawsuit has been dismissed by the plaintiffs.”
Disneyland spokesman Bob Roth acknowledged that the suit was dropped, but he had no other comment.
This lawsuit was the second one the Anaheim park has faced concerning gay dancing. In 1980, Andrew Exler of Palm Springs successfully sued Disneyland after guards stopped him from fast-dancing with another man. A Superior Court judge ruled that the guards violated Exler’s civil rights and Disneyland subsequently lifted its ban on gay-dancing.
Exler said he and a group of about 15 other gay men and lesbians went dancing at Disneyland earlier this month and were permitted to dance with each other during both slow and fast songs. “The final chapter has been closed on this issue,” he said.