During a face-to-face meeting yesterday between Equality Florida and AAA South, top management at the 4th largest AAA affiliate in the country committed to recognizing all spouses, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. The policy allows gay married couples to receive spousal discounts under AAA's Associate Membership program.
Equality Florida launched conversations with AAA several months back after receiving calls from gay couples who had been denied family memberships.
Tom O'Brien, President and Chief Executive Officer, AAA Auto Club South, said:
We had not talked about this issue very much at all until you reached out to us, and that has caused us to talk about it quite a bit. Our policy does include gay and lesbian spouses, wherever they were married. Whether in other states or countries, they qualify.
AAA South management says it will take about 2 weeks to train 3,000 staff members to implement the policy uniformly.
Same-sex couples applying for a membership need only state that they are married to receive the family benefit. Management also left the door open to expand the policy to include domestic partners - gay and straight.
We are pleased with the outcome of our meeting. AAA is an iconic American company that many of us associate with summer vacation and family road trips. To have AAA South set a standard for full equality for all married couples, regardless of sexual orientation, is an important message and one we hope other companies will follow.
"We appreciate the professional manner in which representatives from Equality Florida met with members of our executive management team to gain a better understanding of each organization's position and concerns. The result, from our perspective, was a very meaningful and productive conversation. Our door is always open," said O'Brien.
AAA South has more than 4 million members in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Puerto Rico.