Lambda Legal Sues After Cab Driver Kicks Out Gay Couple for Exchanging a Kiss

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October 28, 2013

Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit today on behalf of Steven White and Matthew McCrea, a gay couple who were unlawfully refused service and forced to exit a Chicago cab after they exchanged a kiss.   

McCrea says:

When the driver demanded that we get out of the cab, I was afraid. It was late, there was a storm, we were on an expressway, and I can’t imagine what would have happened if the driver had actually kicked us out of the cab.

On May 30, White and McCrea were leaving O’Hare International Airport and secured a taxi from the dispatch line outside of the airport terminal. Toward the beginning of their ride home, the couple exchanged a brief kiss, after which the cab driver flashed the interior lights on and off. The driver then pulled over to the shoulder of the John F. Kennedy Expressway and demanded that White and McCrea get out of the cab. It was raining, and the couple refused to exit the cab. Instead, they called 311, the city’s municipal information number.

The driver then abruptly re-entered the expressway and sped towards the nearest exit, prompting the operator to transfer the couple’s call for help to 911. The driver exited the expressway, stopped at a nearby parking lot and again demanded the couple get out of the cab. The couple was told by the 911 operator that a police officer would be sent to meet them. The couple remained in the cab until the officer arrived.  The officer then waited with White and McCrea until another taxi came to pick them up.

Lambda Legal Senior Staff Attorney Christopher Clark says: 

A taxi-cab company, like any other business in Illinois that offers services to the public, is bound by the Illinois Human Rights Act to not discriminate based on sexual orientation, among other protected categories. What happened to Steven and Matthew was not only hurtful and unlawful, it illustrates exactly why Illinois’ citizens need the state’s long-standing Human Rights Act to protect them against dangerous situations like this.

Learn more about the case.

Read the complaint.

Read the press release.