Matthew McCrea and Steven White are a couple who shared a brief kiss in a taxi and the two claim they were subject to discrimination by the taxi cab driver. The cabbie pulled over and demanded they get out of his cab after witnessing the kiss. McCrea and White are suing the taxi cab company over this incident, according to News Max on Aug. 28.
The couple caught the cab outside of Chicago O’Hare International Airport and they were headed to McCrea’s apartment. The taxi driver was driving on a dark rainy night when the short kiss was first acknowledged by him as he flashed the interior lights on and off, reported by ABC News.
The taxi driver became adamant that they exit the cab when the men asked him what was wrong after the impromptu light show. He pulled over on the Kennedy Expressway for the men to get out, saying “this is public transportation,” and letting them know that he thought the kiss was inappropriate.
The men told him it was too dangerous in the dark and that it was raining. They asked that he at least drive them to the next exit, which he did. The men called the police, who were able to talk to the taxi driver. The driver, identified as Jama Anshur, told the police that the couple was “making sex” in the back of his cab.
The couple said that their short kiss was something any heterosexual couple could do without drawing any negative repercussions, it would be totally acceptable. The complaint was handled by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and they scheduled the driver for a hearing, but he just never showed up.
They fined him $2,000 and issued various violations, which included refusal of service, discourteous conduct and unsafe driving. The larger discrimination lawsuit filed by the couple with the Illinois Department of Human Rights was dismissed because the department has no jurisdiction over private companies, which is what Sun Taxi falls under.
The couple has filed a new discrimination suit with the help of the LGBT legal organization, Lambda Legal. McCrea wants to send the message that this type of behavior is not acceptable. Sun Taxi’s rep denies responsibility for the driver’s actions. The drivers who work for the company are independent contractors.
The company fired the driver, who maintains he was not kicking them out, just asking that they stop kissing. The driver said it was a distraction on a rainy night when he needed to concentrate on his driving for safety. In his own words:
“I told them to stop,” he said. “It was raining. I couldn’t drive with something like that. I have to drive safely because it’s raining.”
The couple is asking for an undisclosed amount in damages for this discriminating incident. They claim the driver violated the Human Rights Act of Illinois.