Lesbian couple hires attorney after taxi incident

Lesbian couple hires attorney after taxi incident »Play Video
KATU photo.

PORTLAND, Ore. – A couple has hired a civil-rights attorney after an incident last week in which they claim they were kicked out of a taxi because they’re lesbians.

Kate Neal and Shanako Devoll said a driver from the Broadway Cab company left them stranded on the side of I-84 early Friday morning after they were affectionate in the taxi on the ride home.

"As being a part of the gay community, I first was very angry,” said attorney Nicholas Yanchar. "I just never really had that communication with a driver before with a cab company, so it just kind of set me back and caught me off guard."

Taxis are required by Oregon state law to have working video cameras inside of them.

Yanchar said the video will demonstrate that Devoll and Neal were discriminated against. He also said he wants to hear what Broadway Cab has to say about the incident.

The company said it's investigating the incident, as is the city of Portland.

"I guess he discovered that we were a couple," Neal said. "We were showing some affection towards each other. And he started shouting some pretty hurtful and homophobic things. And then he proceeded to pull over on the freeway and let us out of the cab.

"I didn't realize at first what was happening, but the more he yelled, the more clear it became.

"When he initially pulled over I said 'I do want to get out of this cab, but I don't want to get out of this cab here. And he would not move farther. We had no choice."

The city said the driver, who has been suspended both by the company and the city, isn’t cooperating with the investigation so far.

"The only way to change and to make a better future for the state of Oregon and for the country is to speak up,” Yanchar said.