CHICAGO — An Illinois couple is continuing their fight against a Chicago cab company after they claim a driver tried to kick them out of his taxi for kissing in the backseat.
Matthew McCrea and Steven White have filed a lawsuit against Sun Taxi after their original complaint, filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights last October, was dismissed because the department said it had no jurisdiction because the driver was an independent contractor.
The couple alleges that on May 30, 2013, White and McCrea were leaving Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and secured a Sun Taxi operated cab from the dispatch line outside of the airport terminal. Towards the beginning of their ride home, White and McCrea exchanged a brief kiss, after which the cab driver allegedly flashed the interior lights on and off.
McCrea says it was a closed-mouth kiss that lasted all of a second. It did not go over well with their cab driver, the two men said.
The cab driver exited the freeway; local police were called where the couple was dropped in a supermarket parking lot shortly before midnight. The cab driver claimed the couple was “making sex,” but police found no evidence to support that claim.
“When the driver demanded that we get out of the cab, I was afraid,” said McCrea. “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.”
Lambda Legal claims the cab driver violated the state’s Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, which regulates Chicago taxis, scheduled a hearing for the driver last summer, which he skipped. He was issued several violations, including unsafe driving, refusal of service and discourteous conduct, and was fined around $1,500.