Nearly 20 cab drivers at Cleveland's Hopkins International Airport are refusing to drive cars displaying ads for the upcoming Gay Games, citing religious objections. But this time it's not fundamentalist Christians doing the complaining: most of the protesting drivers are Muslims.
The Plain Dealer reports:
Hopkins released a statement saying that two of the three taxi companies operating at the airport -- Ace and Yellow Taxi - were informed by several of their drivers they will no longer participate in the airport's dedicated taxi cab program.
Patrick Keenan, general manager for the third company, Americab, said two of his drivers also have opted not to drive because of the Gay Games ads. The drivers are Muslims, Keenan and Hopkins spokeswoman Jackie Mayo said.
The drivers told their companies that their decision was based on religious reasons, Hopkins said in its statement.
Local CBS affiliate WOIO reports that an additional 16-17 drivers working at Ace Taxi have also walked off the job for the same reason.
Airport director Ricky Smith issued a statement reading, in part:
The airport is committed to providing this necessary customer service to our arriving passengers seeking transportation from the airport to their final destination. An agreement has been brokered by the airport between the taxi cab stand operator, Standard Parking, and the affected taxi cab companies that will allow for the replacement of those drivers who no longer wish to participate in CLE's taxi cab program. The affected taxi cab companies will backfill the airport's dedicated fleet with metered taxi cabs until each company can hire permanent drivers for the airport's taxi cab program. It is expected to take approximately two to three weeks to repopulate the airport's Taxi fleet.
The 2014 Gay Games will be held in Cleveland from August 9-16.
Watch WOIO's report on the controversy, after the jump.