April 21, 2014 (ISN) – A number of Muslim taxi drivers have refused to use cabs featuring rooftop placards promoting this year’s Gay Games in Cleveland and Akron based on religious reasons.
About 25 drivers from three companies operating at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport said they would no longer participate in the airport’s dedicated taxicab scheme because of the advertising for the Games, which are due to take place in the United States cities on August 9 until 16.
Ann Gynn, a spokeswoman for the Games, claimed the protest is an isolated case and not indicative of the feelings of most Ohio residents.
“What we’ve been seeing for the last couple of years is a lot of positive support and a welcome atmosphere within the community,” she told Fox News.
“This was a decision by those individual cab drivers.
“It was a personal decision.
“What’s surprising is that the Gay Games are about inclusion.
“The Gay Games are open to everybody.
“This is about inclusiveness on sporting fields and welcoming people as they are.”
The taxi companies have said they will now use metered vehicles until each firm can employ replacement drivers, with this process expected to take up to three weeks.
Patrick Keenan, general manager of one of the companies Americab, says his business is supportive of the Gay Games and does not share the views of the few drivers.
“He cited religious reasons,” he said of an unidentified employee.
“I didn’t foresee it being a problem.
“We have no problem with the signage and [the protest] doesn’t reflect the views of our company.”
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport director Ricky Smith insisted they are “committed to providing this necessary customer service to our arriving passengers seeking transportation from the airport to their final destination”.