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Friday, August 1, 2008

Gay-nuptial market drives auto-club offer

Article written by Hannah Clay Wareham, The Advocate

A nationwide auto organization, The Better World Club, is offering free one-year memberships to same-sex couples who officially tie the knot between now and Sept. 20. The Portland, Ore., company is also honoring proof of domestic partnerships or civil unions for same-sex couples who are unable to marry in California or Massachusetts.

Mitch Rofsky, president of the Better World Club, told The Advocate that the company was trying to correct an oversight in the auto-club industry.

"We feel that the industry discriminated against gays by not recognizing them for spouse discounts," he said Thursday.

By faxing a copy of their marriage license or civil-union or domestic-partnership paperwork to the company, same-sex couples are eligible for all that the membership has to offer, including vehicle roadside assistance, lockout services and even bicycle assistance for a year. Basic service, including towing within five miles, usually costs $53.95 annually for one person and $20 more for a household.

The membership comes free of carbon-footprint guilt: One percent of the Better World Club's gross revenue goes to several different environmental cleanup and advocacy organizations each year, including the Sierra Club and carbon offset efforts, Rofsky said.

"We're a greener, and, we like to think, cooler, alternative to AAA and other auto clubs," Rofsky said.

While the company's new offer has made a few waves within their organization -- it's lost two members since beginning the free-membership offer early this summer -- Rofsky says the feedback has been positive overall.

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