Lambda files complaint after Chicago cabbie kicks out gay couple over kiss

Mon. October 28, 2013 10:29 AM by News Staff

steven white and matt mccrea forced from cab

photo credit // cbs2chicago

Chicago cabbie tells gay couple to get out of taxi on busy expresswa

Chicago, IL - A complaint filed Monday by Lambda Legal alleges a Chicago cab driver unlawfully refused service to a gay couple after they exchanged a kiss. The driver is accused of trying to force the couple to exit the cab on the shoulder of the busy Kennedy Expressway.

"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," Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal, said in a released statement. "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."

According to the complaint, Steven White, 29, of West Hollywood, and Matthew McCrea, 30, of Chicago were leaving O'Hare on May 30 in a Sun Taxi Association cab. After the couple exchanged a kiss the driver, identified in the lawsuit as Jama Anshur, then pulled over to the shoulder of the Kennedy Expressway and demanded they get out of the cab.

Since it was raining and at 11:30 p.m., the couple refused to exit the cab along the busy expressway -- instead they called 311. 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.

"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."

The driver then reportedly exited the expressway, stopped at a nearby grocery store parking lot and again demanded the couple get out of the cab. Police arrived and waited with White and McCrea until another taxi came to pick them up.

Anshur has been fined by the city and fired by Sun Taxi over the May incident. Both Anshur and the taxi company have been named in the complaint filed with the Illinois Deptartment of Human Rights by Lambda Legal. Anshur now drives for Yellow Cab, according to the Chicago Sun-Times

CBS2 Chicago originally reported the story in June: