Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thank AAA South for their Pro-Equality Policy Change

Our friends at Equality Florida met with AAA South (the fourth largest AAA affiliate in the country) last week. By the end of the meeting AAA South had 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.

The issue was originally brought to the attention of Equality Florida months ago after receiving calls from gay couples who had been denied family memberships in the program.

“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,” said Tom O’Brien, President and Chief Executive Officer, AAA Auto Club South. “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," said Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida.

“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 AAA's O’Brien.

AAA South has more than 4 million members in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Puerto Rico.

We want you to take action! Let AAA South know that you support their decision to recognize same-sex couples. Send a quick note by clicking here or visiting http://ga4.org/campaign/thankAAA.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm an AAA South member in Atlanta. They are quietly reaching out to unmarried domestic partners who have lapsed (or are about to) with a very special discount rate that I can't mention here; let's just say it is "substantial". I don't know the criteria for this special pricing group, but it probably includes past membership length, so I'm not expecting everyone to receive this offer currently.

The representative said that this is related to the recent announcement of full recognition of same-sex couples who are legally married (in states where such is legal); there is allegedly internal talk about extending this recognition to simple, unregistered/unmarried partner couples. He would not provide more details, but did say that more information about AAA South's plans for same-sex couple benefits may be made public around the time of Atlanta Pride (which was postponed to the end of October).

Ruby at Science Summer Camp said...

This is wonderful news! It's not everyday that we hear equality is pushed through for a policy change. I hope they continue to promote this in other ways.

proudy said...

So ... what has been the final outcome with this policy? My partner was an AAA member for years, but we dropped that membership in 2009 because the company refused to accept us for a family membership. Since we were not related, we could not be a family. We celebrated out 10th anniversary in February 2009.

We live in Florida, and wrote a polite letter to the AAA headquarters, and we were told they did not recognize same-sex partners, and had no plans to do so in the near future. If AAA has changed their acceptance policy, that's great news. It a shame that they have kept the information to themselves.

Anonymous said...

This is no longer true. We just tried to renew a membership with AAA and their guidelines do not cover unmarried domestic partners. Why is their so much confusion since 2009?