With its breathtaking sunsets and picturesque views of the Rocky Mountains, Coors Field is acclaimed as one of the most beautiful ballparks in baseball. This past weekend, it also proved less than welcoming for two women of color and resulted in the Colorado Rockies apologizing for the actions of an employee who was enforcing a longstanding stadium policy.

Jaelyn Coates and her partner, Jenny, attempted to celebrate their anniversary on Sunday by taking in a Rockies game together. However, their enjoyment of Colorado’s walk-off victory over the Miami Marlins was marred when a Coors Field employee named “Karen S” decided to make an issue of the couple sharing a kiss.

Jaelyn Coates, left, and her partner, Jenny, at Coors Field on Sunday, August 18, 2019

Later that evening, Coates tagged the Rockies on Twitter to report how she and her partner had been singled out and shamed for displaying their affection for one another:

It’s not difficult to parse what “it’s a family park” and “it’s a Sunday” mean in this context. As if to underscore the subtext, this Sunday’s game was also designated as the Rockies’ annual Faith Day at Coors Field.

After her original tweet went viral, Coates posted a Twitter thread providing more details of the altercation. In an online conversation with Outsports, she further elaborated on her interaction with the employee:

“We asked Karen why she was approaching us, if she would say this to a straight couple… and she said yes, became very dismissive, told us we could file a complaint, and eventually walked away from us.”

As Coates related on Twitter, they were not making out, but “casually” kissing one another.

In another tweet, she said Karen cited the Coors Field policy prohibiting “strong displays of affection.” Apparently in Karen’s judgement, a kiss between two lesbians fell under that classification. When the couple asked Karen if a similar policy applied to straight couples, Coates recalled: “She said it’s up to the staff’s discretion, which I’m like … excuse me?!”

After things came to a stand-still, Coates posted that Karen abruptly walked away, and engaged another staffer wearing Rockies gear in a conversation that made them feel like they were being watched. What had begun as a fun way for this couple to celebrate their anniversary by watching their home team play major league baseball, ended with them being scolded, monitored and scrutinized by Coors Field employees.

If Trevor Story were to do this at Coors Field, he might get a stern lecture from stadium security.

While the usher claimed that such a “strong display of affection” violated Coors Field policy, it’s hard to imagine ballpark security cracking down on a straight couple sharing a simple kiss. As Coates later noted, several baseball teams actually feature a Kiss Cam segment between innings to encourage this kind of behavior. This is also far from the first instance of same-sex fans being scolded for kissing at baseball games. In fact, the very first MLB Pride Night came after Dodgers security removed two women from a game for kissing in 2000.

Outsports contacted the Rockies for comment on Karen’s actions and to find out what if anything the team would do to prevent such a thing from happening again. Speaking on background, a team official reported that they had reached out to Coates and her partner, apologized for the incident, and offered them free tickets to a future game.

As of press time, the Rockies did not answer questions from Outsports about the rule against PDAs, the couple’s violation of that rule, and next steps for the team, but did point us to the team’s “House Rules” website which state “Guests will refrain from displays of affection not appropriate in a public, family setting.” Outsports also contacted MLB officials for comment but so far have not received a response.

Back in the days when Colorado last made the World Series in 2007, the Rockies made it publicly known that their organization embraced and adhered to a “Christian-based code of conduct.” Rockies General Partner Charlie Monfort went on the record to claim “Christians, and what they’ve endured, are some of the strongest people in baseball.” While the team’s front office and management have turned over since they made that declaration about their Christian values, Monfort is still entrenched as the team owner.

After the Rockies contacted Coates, she tweeted an update regarding how the team planned to work with them to move forward:

Coates told Outsports the team reached out to her again on Tuesday to make good on the offer of free tickets, and promised her “They’ll follow up with me soon.”

Hopefully the Rockies are serious about listening to Coates and her partner discuss inclusion. Because the most beautiful view at Coors Field should be that of all fans feeling comfortable sharing a ballgame with whomever they love.

Editor’s note: An Outsports reader reached out to remind us that this has happened before, just three years ago this month, in fact. And it happened to her and her girlfriend.

In August 2016, Cyd Zeigler reported that Giuliana Garcia and Calista Nabors attended a Seattle Mariners’ home game against the Anaheim Angels.

Sometime around the seventh inning, an usher told them that a complaint had been filed and that they needed to stop “being affectionate” because this was a “family friendly environment” and their actions were against the park’s code of conduct. That code of conduct bans “displays of affection not appropriate in a public, family setting.”

At first the Mariners apologized to the lesbian couple, and offered them free tickets, like the Rockies did for Coates and her partner. But then a team spokesperson told Outsports the women were inappropriately kissing during the game, something the couple denies. “We would never do that in public,” Garcia told Outsports. “It was just a quick kiss.”

Also, in 2008 another lesbian couple accused the Mariners of treating them badly after they kissed one another. Just like with Garcia and her girlfriend, that couple was accused by the team of “making out” despite the women maintaining that they did nothing more than “exchanging pecks” on the lips.

So we’re left wondering… What’s the deal, Major League Baseball? Why are lesbians being singled out time and time again?