By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com August 22 2013 3:01 PM ET
A Portland, Ore., cab driver who allegedly left a lesbian couple on the side of an interstate in the middle of the night last month has permanently lost his permit to drive cabs, reports Portland's KGW.
The city of Portland's Regulatory Division issued a statement Wednesday confirming that the driver, Ahmed Egal, would permanently lose his taxi license because he failed to deliver his customers safely to their destination. The division also fined the taxi company, Broadway Cab, $1,000. The statement did not address the couple's claims that the driver kicked them out of his cab because they are gay. Investigators told KGW that Egal violated city code by kicking the passengers out, but noted that discrimination was not a factor in revoking Egal's permit.
Kate Neal told NWCN that she and her girlfriend had taken a Broadway cab home with another friend late on July 25. All three were booted when the couple demonstrated affection.
"You can't be gay in my cab," the couple recalled being told. The women called another Broadway cab and were kicked out of that one after the two drivers spoke, according to what Neal told NWCN.
Egal argued that the women were drunk and verbally harassing him, telling a 911 operator, "These people are real, real drunk. And so mean," according to KGW.
But the couple contended it was the driver who was verbally harassing them. "The cab driver saw us being affectionate and took offense to that," Neal told NCNW last month. "He started shouting really hurtful, mean and really homophobic remarks at us. We really didn't feel safe in the cab."