Last updated: 11:08 AM ET, Thu July 16 2015

Passenger Removed from JetBlue Flight After Confronting Texas Governor

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | July 16, 2015

Passenger Removed from JetBlue Flight After Confronting Texas Governor

A man who accosted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in regards to the politician's position on same-sex marriage was removed from an Austin, Texas-bound JetBlue flight on Tuesday night, the Austin American-Statesman's Jonathan Tilove reported.

Abbott's Communications Director Matt Hirsch told the Statesman that the man approached the governor at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, shook his hand, and then loudly said "I hope you [expletive] go to hell because of your stance on gay marriage."

After Texas state troopers traveling with the 57-year-old Republican Governor asked the 32-year-old unidentified man to step away, he told Abbott "I'm going to see you on the plane," Hirsch told the Statesman.

Soon after, JetBlue security informed the man that he would be bumped from the flight and put on the first scheduled flight to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Wednesday morning. 

Hirsch told the Statesman that the man was provided a hotel room in New York for the night.

The man was not arrested as Port Authority officers determined that "no direct threats were made." However they did run his name through the Joint Terrorism Task Force database. Nothing came of the search, though, and JetBlue security was given the green light to take over.

Abbott, who was critical of the Supreme Court's ruling last month in favor of same-sex marriage, was in New York to promote Texas as a business destination.

"The governor respects and is always willing to listen to the viewpoints of others," Hirsch told the Statesman. "He's grateful for the airport officials who handled the incident in a professional manner."

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