Gay couple claims discrimination during Southwest plane boarding

FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - A Naples couple is claiming that Southwest Airlines discriminated against them after they were reportedly denied access while boarding a plane.

In a Facebook post, Naples resident Grant Morse said he and his husband were flying into Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport from Buffalo, New York, when he and his family were not allowed to board during family boarding.

“Southwest Airlines yesterday did not recognize us as a family and shame on them,” said Morse.

Morse, who was traveling with his husband, three children and elderly mother, said they were stopped and told that only families could board at the time.

Despite explaining that he and his family were a family, Morse said the agent continued to deny them entry and emphasized that “This is for families only.”

“I just feel as though if I was a man and my spouse was a woman with our three children we would not have been profiled,” he said.

Morse and his family were eventually able to board the plane. However, he said, his family was not able to sit together.

Morse’s family was told to stand aside while a supervisor was called and the plane was filled with other passengers.

“As parents we can’t board with our children, but yet she’s letting a man and a woman board with their one child,” said Morse. “Even her supervisor defended this horrific discrimination.”

Southwest’s website states, “An adult traveling with a child six years old or younger may board during Family Boarding, which occurs after the ‘A’ group has boarded and before the ‘B’ group begins boarding.”

The airline said the dispute had nothing to do with discrimination of the parents but was focused on Morse’s mother, who Southwest said was ineligible for family boarding.

Morse’s children were all under the age of 6.

According to Fox News, Morse said he understood that the language of the policy could indicate only one adult per child who meets the age restriction is allowed to board during the select window, but he still maintains that the employee did not treat his family respectfully.

“You know, their headline is love, L-U-V, or their logo or trademark. I wasn’t feeling the love. I was feeling hate,” he said.

Morse has filed a formal complaint with Southwest. And late Tuesday afternoon, the airline responded saying the dispute had nothing to do with discrimination of the parents but was focused on Morse’s mother who was ineligible for family boarding.

Morse is looking at the possibility of taking legal action.

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