Gay couple sues United/Continental after dildo taped to top of checked bag

The couple alleges their bag was left open with the sex toy showing and wrapped with plastic tape bearing the Continental logo. The zipper still worked so there was no reason for handlers to tape the bag, according to the couple, and a foul-smelling lubricant had been smeared on the dildo.

A gay couple from Virginia is suing Houston-based United/Continental Airlines after baggage handlers allegedly removed a sex toy from one of their checked bags, smeared foul-smelling lubricant on it, taped it to the top of the bag and sent it back down the belt.

Michael Hamar at The Bilerico Project reports that the couple was returning from a vacation in Costa Rica to their hometown of Norfolk, Va., last year when they had a layover at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

When the gay couple arrived at George Bush, they retrieved their checked luggage and went through Customs. They then rechecked their bags and boarded their flight for Norfolk. When they arrived in Norfolk, the bag shown above was one of the last to come down the carousel. It was partially open with the dildo showing, and wrapped in clear plastic tape bearing the Continental logo. The bag was left open despite the fact that the zipper still worked, so there was no reason for baggage handlers to tape the bag open.

According to the lawsuit filed Friday in Harris County district court, the couple “experienced extreme shock and horror when they observed the above described bag and when observing the surprised and/or laughing faces of numerous onlookers in the baggage claim area.”

Hamar reports that the couple is suing the airline for emotional distress, invasion of privacy and negligence.

“Because of the fact that the sex toy was contained in the bag of a male, and because the employee(s) responsible knew that the bag belonged to a male due to the name tag attached to the bag and the male clothing contained in the bag, there is a high likelihood that these egregious actions were directed towards Plaintiffs because they are homosexual and because they are males,” the lawsuit states.

—  John Wright

Virgin America gives DFW another perfect HRC score, but don’t expect to get hitched in-flight

Virgin America touched down at DFW International Airport on Wednesday — quite literally as you can see in the below video — and begins offering flights from here to Los Angeles as well as the airline’s base of operations, San Francisco.

The “low-fares, high-frills” carrier brings with it a perfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which rates companies according to their LGBT-related employment practices. According to HRC’s Buying for Equality guide released Wednesday, Virgin America’s arrival makes it the seventh airline at DFW with a perfect score, joining American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines, Continental Airlines and US Airways.

So it’s great to have another LGBT-friendly option, especially when flying to our Mecca of San Francisco. However, if after reading this recent report from MSNBC, you made plans to get gay-married on a Virgin America flight out of DFW, you might want to double-check with the airline first. According to the initial report, which was largely based Twitter updates, a Virgin America pilot veered intentionally into Canadian airspace so he could come back into the cabin and perform a same-sex wedding. Really? That’s awesome! But is it true? Well, maybe. Yahoo’s The Lookout reports:

When contacted by CBS, a Virgin America representative appeared to know nothing about a gay marriage ceremony being conducted on one of its flights — and denied that any flight had deliberately veered into Canadian airspace, for that or any other reason.

“I did briefly get a hold of the pilot for the flight, and there was no ‘diversion’ — this was part of the normal flight path,” the spokesperson said. “He actually was unaware of the reported celebration in the cabin (so reports that a pilot performed it are definitely not correct). That flight’s normal flight path (VX 28 SFO-JFK) does cross the Canadian border for a few minutes. I have not had reports from anyone else onboard however, so other than that I cannot confirm anything.”

What’s more, the Canadian Globe and Mail points out that such a ceremony, in order to be legal, would have to have a Canadian official presiding — and the couple would need to register the marriage in advance with Canadian authorities.

Another mild curiosity: In all of the articles written about the incident, we could not find a single mention of the couple’s names, nor have they appeared to come forward to reveal their identities.

The Lookout contacted Virgin America seeking clarification on the question of whether the story might be a hoax, but our calls and e-mails were not immediately returned.

Of course, Virgin would have good reason to keep the heartwarming account in play, regardless of its accuracy: Corporations have long been courting gay consumers — especially since gay couples are often two-income households without children, with sizable disposable incomes to spend on things like travel.

—  John Wright

Mayor Annise Parker makes Time's list of 'World's Most Influential People'

Annise Parker is #13 on most influential list
Annise Parker is No. 13, just behind Glenn Beck

Houston’s hot and sexy new mayor, Annise Parker, came in at No. 13 on the Time magazine list of “World’s Most Influential People.”

In the list of leaders, Parker ranks right after Fox broadcaster Glenn Beck but before Tidjane Thiam, a former politician from Cote d’Ivoire and current head of British insurer Prudential that is buying AIG’s Asian unit.

Really? People know who the head of Prudential in Great Britain is?

And Barack Obama? He’s only No. 4. Brazilian President Luis da Silva gets the top spot. J. T. Wang, president of Acer computers is No. 2 and Admiral Mike Mullen is No. 3.

Um, I think the President of the United States is more important than the president of the number two computer maker.

—  David Taffet