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Same-sex couple with 3 kids claims Southwest denied them family boarding

Posted at 3:25 AM, May 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-23 03:25:26-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW/CNN) – A New York family believes they were the victims of “blatant discrimination” by Southwest Airlines because the parents are a same-sex couple.

During family boarding on Southwest Airlines, passengers with young children are allowed to get on the plane before most others.

Grant Morse says his family with three small children was denied the opportunity to board early, and he believes it was because he and his spouse are a same-sex couple.

"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,” Morse said.

The father says he explained to the boarding agent as the family tried to board a flight to Florida Saturday that he and his spouse were the legal and biological fathers for the twin 3-year-old boys and 5-year-old daughter.

"As parents, we can't board with our children, but yet she's letting a man and a woman board with their one child,” Morse said.

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

"Even her supervisor defended this horrific discrimination,” Morse said.

The family was allowed to board last, but Morse’s young daughter had to sit in a row alone with strangers, and his 83-year-old mother was placed by an emergency exit.

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

Morse has filed a formal complaint with Southwest and is looking at the possibility of taking legal action.

"Southwest Airlines… did not recognize us as a family and shame on them,” he said.

The airline responded to the accusation Monday, 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.

Copyright 2017 WKBW, Grant Morse via CNN. All rights reserved.