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Why are the folks at Northwest Airlines so dumb?

“We are asking that the company not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or marital status and honor Mr. Anders’ ticket for him and a companion.”

— Christine P. Sun, ACLU of Southern California staff attorney, on Northwest’s denial of a companion ticket when a gay couple in L.A. tried to use the award for a trip to Florida.

How ridiculous is this? Rob Anders, an airline industry employee won round-trip domestic airfare on Northwest for himself and “a companion” at his company holiday party. Little did he know that his life partner of 15 years wasn’t considered a “companion” in the eyes of the airline.

A representative from Northwest Airlines told Anders that the airline would only recognize a spouse, another airline employee, or a dependent child as a companion. The representative specifically stated Northwest Airlines would not recognize a registered domestic partner as a “spouse” for the tickets.

In its letter to Northwest, the ACLU said that the Unruh Civil Rights Act, part of California law,” mandates ‘full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever’ without regard to sexual orientation or marital status.”

“Because same-sex couples who wish to marry cannot currently do so under California law, using marriage as a criterion discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation,” Sun said. “Northwest’s policy also discriminates on the basis of marital status because it does not permit unmarried heterosexual individuals to bring the companion of their choice.”

Good As You has a great take on this.

Hat tip, PageOneQ

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding