Lambda Legal has filed suit against a Chicago-based cab company after one of its drivers allegedly ejected a gay couple for kissing in May.
Sun Taxi and Associates has been hit with an Illinois Department of Human Rights complaint over the May 30 incident.
Steven White and Matt McCrea made headlines in June when they alleged that driver Jama Anshur ejected them from his cab late at night on a trip back from O'Hare Airport.
The couple previously told Windy City Times that after they exchanged a peck, Anshur pulled over on the side of the Kennedy Expressway and told them to get out in the rain.
"I was in shock, and I was like, 'We're not getting out here,'" McCrea said. "I was not going to get out on the expressway, and I made that explicit to him."
The complaint accuses Anshur of pulling back into the expressway and driving erratically before pulling off at the Cumberland exit in Park Ridge, where the couple called police and documented the incident.
The complaint alleges that Anshur violated the Illinois Human Rights Act, which guarantees equal access to public accommodations regardless of sexual orientation. It seeks unspecified damages. It goes onto note that Anshur was fined $1,540 for failing to show for a hearing before Chicago's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, following a complaint White and McCrea filed.
Christopher Clark, a Lambda Legal attorney representing the couple, said that since White and McCrea's story came to light, others have reported similar experiences in Chicago cabs. He hopes the case will send a message that discrimination against same-sex couples will not be tolerated in the state.
"They were put in a very scary and very dangerous situation because someone did not like that they kissed in a cab, and I will tell you this was a peck," said Clark.
Jong Lee, a manager at Sun Taxi, said he cannot comment on the case until he has had time to review the complaint. But he said that Sun terminated the driver's lease following the incident.
McCrea and White said the company never followed-up with them after the alleged incident or informed them that the driver had been released.
The two said they hope that others with similar experiences will come forward and also file complaints.
"I think we feel good to bring some attention to the issue," said White. "Because things like this are still going on, we think it's a story worth telling."