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

Report: Gay Dallas couple’s Skype wedding declared invalid by District of Columbia

Mark Reed-Walkup, left, and Dante Walkup

We’ve got a message in to Mark Reed-Walkup to try to confirm what we just read at TBD.com, which is reporting that Reed-Walkup’s recent Skype wedding has been declared invalid by the District of Columbia.

If you’ll remember, Reed-Walkup and his longtime partner, Dante Walkup, were married in October in a ceremony that was held in Dallas but officiated via Skype from D.C. Reed-Walkup told us previously that officials in D.C. had found nothing in the law that would prohibit such an e-marriage, but apparently they’ve change their minds. Amanda Hess reports at TBD.com:

On Oct. 10, Mark Reed and Dante Walkup made history by marrying in D.C. (where same-sex marriage is legal) at a ceremony in Texas (where it isn’t). The arrangement took some technological finesse: As Reed and Walkup exchanged vows in a Dallas hotel, D.C. marriage officiant Sheila Alexander-Reid oversaw the ceremony from the District, linking up with the couple online via Skype. The “e-marriage” inspired coverage in the Washington Post, CNN, and Time magazine. Now, it’s caught the attention of the D.C. marriage bureau.

“The D.C. marriage bureau kicked back the certificate we had filed,” Alexander-Reid told me today. Alexander-Reid says that she and the couple both received letters from D.C. Superior Court stating that it had determined the marriage license filed following the Skype ceremony to be invalid.

“The return is invalid because it has come to the attention of the court that the subject contracting parties to the marriage and you, the officiant, did not all personally participate in a marriage ceremony performed within the jurisdictional and territorial limits of the District of Columbia,” the letter reads. Alexander-Reid also received a fresh marriage license from the court. Alexander-Reid could use it to re-officiate a Reed-Walkup ceremony, should they choose to marry again in D.C., this time “with all parties . . . in physical attendance.”

UPDATE: Reed-Walkup reports via text message that he’ll call Instant Tea back as soon as he’s done with a CNN interview.

—  John Wright