Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gay marriage holdouts? Or, where can one get a reliable ride home?

Officials from Indiana and Wisconsin were in Chicago this week to try to defend their states’ refusal to accept the idea of marriages for gay couples being legitimate, only to find the Court of Appeals panel not so acceptant.


This shouldn’t come as a surprise. State after state is getting on board with the concept that there isn’t a legitimate reason to deny the perk of marriage for those gay couples so inclined, but there are also those whose attitudes are so engraved in stone they will never come around.


I DON’T DOUBT when a federal appeals judge in Chicago pointed out the change in our society’s attitude toward interracial marriage, there were those people who wanted to say that such marriages also are wrong.


That is what popped into my head when I read a Chicago Tribune report about a lawsuit filed against a taxicab company which has a driver who kicked a couple out of his cab because he objected to their kiss in his vehicle.


This particular couple of men caught a Sun Taxi Association cab at O’Hare International Airport and wanted a ride back to their apartment in the Lakeview neighborhood.


When the driver saw them kiss in the back seat, he began flashing the internal car lights on and off, and initially tried to kick them out of his vehicle alongside the Kennedy Expressway.


WHETHER IT WAS a sense of compassion, or the realization that stopping his cab alongside the Kennedy Expressway was as dangerous to himself as it was to the passengers he was abandoning, the cab driver ultimately went to the nearest exit before kicking the couple out at a supermarket parking lot.


The couple is working with Lambda Legal in their lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court. They’re asking for notices about the Illinois Human Rights Act to be posted in all taxicabs in Chicago, and for the cab company to get stuck with paying the legal fees connected to this lawsuit, the Tribune reported.


Which I’m sure will infuriate the critics who side with the cab company – who would probably rather have the company pay some large settlement to the two men if they didn’t have to admit to doing anything wrong in this particular case.


Because I’m sure they’re going to want to believe that cab drivers have a right to selectively pick whom they offer transportation to – even though such an attitude is so absurd it is almost laughable.


EXCEPT FOR THOSE moments when a driver is trying to dump someone off alongside an interstate highway. That moment alone ought to be the one that kills the cab company’s chances of success in court.


It may well be because of attitudes like this that many people in need of a ride prefer to use the ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft. I literally have heard people say that such services offer cleaner, less-offensive vehicles than many taxicabs offer.


Just like I’m wondering how much Indiana’s marketing attempts to steal businesses from Illinois are going to get knocked to the ground because of the perception being created that the Hoosier state is determined to be the last in the nation – or at the very least, in the Great Lakes states region – to permit gay couples the same legal rights as other couples who choose to live their lives as one.


Of course, there’s no guarantee how the Court of Appeals will choose to rule. The kinds of hostile questions they asked to Indiana and Wisconsin officials offer hints, but no one can say how a court will rule until they do so in writing.



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