Matthew McCrea, Steven White sue taxi company, allege taxi driver kicked them out after kiss

Two men who said a taxi driver told them to get out of the cab while on a busy expressway in the rain after they exchanged a kiss are suing a Chicago-area taxi company.

Matt McCrea and Steven White filed the suit on Monday in Cook County Circuit Court. The couple filed a human rights complaint against the taxi company in October of 2013.

McCrea and White said they had never had any problems with discrimination before. But they said what happened in a cab in May of 2013 was frightening. They said a cab picked them up at O'Hare and was taking them to McCrea's home in Lakeview. But after McCrea leaned over to give White a quick kiss, the cab driver pulled over on the side of the Kennedy Expressway and told them to get out.

"He told us that it was a public transportation and I couldn't kiss him," said Matthew McCrea.

"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," said Steven White.

They said they told the driver they refused to get out on the expressway and he then drove them to a parking lot off the Cumberland exit, where they waited for a Park Ridge Police officer to document that the driver refused to transport them. That could be an important piece of evidence in the complaint they filed on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 with the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

"The law makes it clear that you cannot deny those services on the basis of sexual orientation," said Christopher Clark, Lambda Legal.

The complaint names the cab driver Jama Anshur, Sun Taxi, and their parent corporation. While they declined to talk about it on camera, a representative from the taxi company told ABC7 Eyewitness News' John Garcia last year that he has no way to control what the drivers do. "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 suit does not name the cab driver as a defendant.

White and McCrea said it's important to stand up for principal here.

"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.

The complaint the couple filed asks for unspecified damages. The City Cab Regulatory Department already fined the driver more than $1,500 for the incident according to the complaint, and Sun Taxi has already fired him as well.

The single-count suit alleges a violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act and seeks an undisclosed amount in damages.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
Related Topics:
lawsuitgay rightstaxitaxi driversPark RidgeChicago - LakeviewChicago - O'Hare
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