Gay couple thrown out of cab in Philly win discrimination case almost a decade later

Derek de Koff

When Mark Seaman kissed his partner on the top of the head in December of 2009, he had no idea the chain of events it would spawn. The two were leaving Philadelphia International Airport that evening and as their cab pulled away, Seaman gave his partner the quick smooch that would reverberate for almost a decade.

“You cannot do that in here,” the cab driver told the men before pulling over and throwing them out of his cab at the closest taxi stand. He drove off so fast, the passenger door was left flapping as he pulled away.

“I just remember thinking, ‘Gee, what a nice welcome home to Philadelphia,’” Seaman told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Now, almost a decade later, Seaman has been vindicated. Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations has ruled that PHL Taxi violated the city’s non-discrimination law and ordered the company to pay him $500.

The taxi company had argued that their employees were contractors and, therefore, they were not responsible for the cabbies actions. The ruling will establish the precedent that they are. The company will also be required to educate drivers about the city’s non-discrimination policy.

The reasons why the decision took so long is still unclear. Rue Landau, the commission’s executive director, said there were a number of factors that led to delays but she wouldn’t go into details. Normally cases like these are wrapped up between six months and two years.

Seaton filed his complaint within a week of the incident.

“I am disappointed and perplexed about why it took eight years,” Seaman told the Inquirer. “And I’ve never been offered an explanation.”

He has since moved to Washington, DC. The driver is still a certified cabbie in Philly.

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