Tags: matthew mccrea | steven white | gay | cab | kiss

Matthew McCrea, Steven White File Lawsuit Over Gay Cab Kiss

Image: Matthew McCrea, Steven White File Lawsuit Over Gay Cab Kiss
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 08:38 AM

Chicago couple Matthew McCrea and Steven White are suing the Sun Taxi company, claiming that they were kicked out of a cab and denied service after their driver objected to a kiss.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the lawsuit was filed Monday in Cook County, alleging that the driver's conduct violated the Illinois Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

According to the suit, the couple picked up the white taxi van at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, and were headed to McCrea's apartment in the Lakeview neighborhood when he "leaned in toward his boyfriend and gave him a simple, one-second in length kiss."

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The driver then started flashing the interior lights on and off. McCrea asked him what was going on, and the driver allegedly said, "This is public transportation," and pulled over on the side of the Kennedy Expressway. He demanded the couple get out of the cab right then and there on the side of the road where it was dark and raining.

They refused, saying it was dangerous, and convinced him to take the nearest exit while they called 311. An officer was dispatched, and arrived as the driver was dropping them off in a grocery store parking lot.

The driver told the police officer that the couple was "making sex" in the cab.

"This is something a heterosexual couple wouldn't have to think twice about if they want to exchange a kiss, whether it's in a cab or anywhere else in public," White told ABC's Chicago affiliate WLS.

The taxi authority, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, handled the complaint by scheduling the driver for a hearing last summer, but he skipped it. He was issued unsafe driving, refusal of service, and discourteous conduct violations, and fined nearly $2,000.

The couple's larger discrimination suit was filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights in October, but the department said it had no jurisdiction over private corporations, and the suit was dismissed.

LGBT legal organization Lambda Legal helped the couple file the new suit against Sun Taxi and its parent corporation.

"We want to let people know that this is not acceptable and you cannot be treated like this. And if you are treated like this, you need to say something," said McCrea.

A representative of Sun Taxi denied responsibility for the discrimination, saying, "I feel bad for what happened. I don't have anything against anybody. But these guys are independent contractors. I can't control them. This is being blown out of proportion."

The representative said that the driver, Jama Anshur, had already been fired. ABC News reported via The Associate Press that the driver claims he was not kicking them out, but merely asking them to stop kissing.

"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."





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Chicago couple Matthew McCrea and Steven White are suing the Sun Taxi company, claiming that they were kicked out of a cab and denied service after their driver objected to a kiss.
matthew mccrea, steven white, gay, cab, kiss
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2014-38-28
Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 08:38 AM
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