Metro Transit Changes Mind On Driver, Gay-Themed Ads

Lavender MagazineMINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – Metro Transit said Friday that it inadvertently sent the wrong message about tolerance in trying to accommodate a bus driver’s religious objections to driving buses that carried gay-themed ads.
Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons said the company made a temporary accommodation to the driver on Oct. 12, allowing her not drive buses that carried an ad for Lavender, a local magazine aimed at the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community.
The ad showed the face of a young man with the slogan, “Unleash Your Inner Gay.” Fifty buses carried it periodically.
The ad contract ran only through Oct. 18, Gibbons said, and buses no longer are carrying the ads.
However, in reviewing the issue, Gibbons said the company likely would not make the same decision again.
“We are not persuaded that advertising, per se, infringes on religious practices and would be reluctant to make similar accommodations in the future,” Gibbons said.
The woman is still driving for Metro Transit, he added.
Metro Transit had come under fire from a union leader and some other drivers, who said the company was condoning intolerance.
“We deeply regret any impressions of intolerance,” Gibbons said in a written statement. “Metro Transit employs and serves a diverse population, and we do our best to be respectful of all views.”
The bus controversy followed news of many Muslim taxi drivers serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport refusing to accept passengers carrying alcohol and some pharmacists across the country insisting on the right to refuse to fill contraceptive prescriptions.
from The Pioneer Press

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