Gay couple says they were kicked out of cab for kissing

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HOUSTON (WPVI) -- A same-sex couple in Texas claims they were kicked out of a cab for kissing.

Travis Player and his partner, Andres Orozco, say a Yellow Cab driver kicked them out of his cab after the two started kissing in the back seat.

"We gave each other a kiss and he told us to get out of the car," Player said. "We thought he was joking until he actually pulled over."

"The man just turns back to us and tells us that he doesn't give gay people rides," Orozco said. "And he proceeds to tell us we're going to hell for being gay."

The two were let out several blocks from their home and were forced to walk the rest of the distance.

"The sad reality is that it is completely legal," said Noel Freeman, an LGBT community advocate in Texas.

Freeman said in the last six months he's heard 4 other similar stories: gay couples getting kicked out of Yellow Cab taxis for being affectionate.

"There are no laws in the state of Texas that protect people from discrimination in public accommodations like cabs. So someone can be kicked out of a cab because they're gay, black, because they're a woman," Freeman said.

In response to questions from KTRK-TV, Yellow Cab issued to following statement:

"Yellow Cab immediately investigated this allegation of discrimination, including talking to the independent contractor driver. The driver stated that he would have taken the same actions if it was a man and a woman in the taxicab. Evidently, the driver was overly sensitive to passengers kissing. Yellow Cab does not have a policy about passengers showing affection in taxicabs. In fact, we encourage kissing in our taxicabs."

Player and Orozco didn't pay the $6 cab fare and said they expect nothing more from Yellow Cab. But they say the company won't be getting their business in the future.

"We were expressing our love for each other, and for someone else to jump in and clearly state it's not right, that really did upset me," Orozco said.

Houston has passed an equal rights ordinance that could have protected Player and Orozco, but it is currently being challenged so the ordinance can't be enforced.

The case challenging that ordinance is scheduled to go to trial in January.