Nadine Smith

AAA South Pledges Family Memberships to Same-Gender Spouses

Filed By Nadine Smith | July 24, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics, The Movement
Tags: domestic partner, Equality Florida, marriage equality

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.

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This is nice. I am a little surprised though. My spouse and I have long held a family plan with AAA South, long before we registered as DP's in Miami and before our wedding, and it was never questioned. It sounds like it was an unofficial policy rather than an official one. Good stuff.

Also, for those who like me are in our very, very late 30's as one friend of mine puts it or over 50 as it is in the reality based community, our AARP membership is on the family plan as well.

Nadine Smith Nadine Smith | July 24, 2009 10:49 AM

You were fortunate to get someone who ignored the policy. Most were told no.

Feel free to send AAA a quick note. I'm sure they will be hearing from people who don't value equality and fairness for the LGBT community.

Here's a link that lets you send a personalized note:

I had missed Nadine's posts at Bilerico. Glad to hear back from you with such a fine report ;).

By the way, any developments from the protest of Channel 8 over their airing of that spiteful infomercial?

beachcomberT | July 24, 2009 8:15 PM

I guess this is good news for those couples who have gone up to Massachusetts or Canada to get legally married. But most LGBT couples in Florida probably are in de-facto domestic partnerships with no legal standing. We just received our AAA membership renewal notice and there's been no change in the wording for the free "family" membership offer -- the household member must be a "spouse" or a son or daughter. Too bad the bill to give Florida a statewide domestic partnership registry died once again.