Indiana Lyft Driver Kicks Out Gay Couple For Kissing

"It was a big reaction for such a small display of affection between two guys."

A Lyft driver in Indianapolis recently made a young gay couple get out of his car when they briefly kissed in the backseat, the Indy Star reports.

Shortly after getting picked up for their ride, college students Ben Martella and Alec Jansen were forced to leave the vehicle at a stoplight.

“We basically pecked, nothing out of the ordinary,” Martella recalls. “He looked in his rearview mirror. He was yelling. We were stunned. We didn’t know the reason for it. He said, ’I’m going to end your ride. I can’t have that in my car. I don’t have that here.'”

“I was really upset,” Martella continues. “It was a big reaction for such a small display of affection between two guys.”

“We gave each other a short kiss on the lips,” Jansen confirms. “I was just surprised the whole thing happened. It just didn’t seem like it was real.”

“I just came out a couple months ago,” he adds. “This is the first time I’ve had any sort of discrimination.”

After Martella notified Lyft of the incident, the company refunded him for the ride and responded via a “very impersonal” email that it had taken “the appropriate and necessary actions.” 

A Lyft representative later told the Indy Star that it had a “strict anti-discrimination policy” and had “deactivated” the driver, an independent contractor.

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Martella, unsatisfied, is considering bringing his complaint to Indiana’s ACLU. “I don’t know if that’s the right path to take,” he admits. “There’s really nothing I need out of the situation. It’s my fear for others.”

Although Indiana has no state law protecting civil rights based on sexual orientation, Indianapolis enforces a non-discrimination ordinance for “public accommodations” that does include sexual orientation.

While both Lyft and rival ride-sharing company Uber include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies for drivers and passengers, multiple cases of anti-LGBT discrimination and even violence have been reported by passengers.

A Houston gay couple were kicked out of their Uber earlier this year after the driver saw them share a kiss. RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Aja and her boyfriend were kicked out of their Lyft in New York last year, also for kissing.

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