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11/02/2013 08:46 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Tim Seelig And Dan England, Gay Couple, Allegedly Denied Vacation Rental Because Of Sexuality

Courtesy of Tim Seelig

When partners Dr. Timothy Seelig and Dan England received an invitation from a company called Best Vacations Ever for a discounted time share vacation package, the pair decided to take them up on the offer.

Seelig, the director of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, and England decided on a date and purchased a vacation package to Las Vegas. However, when Seelig called Best Vacations Ever to reserve the dates of their trip after the company had already accepted their credit card information and sent them welcome materials, they were allegedly met with the following interaction.

Seelig told The Huffington Post in an email:

They were most helpful and eager to make the arrangements... until [Dan] said the second person was named Tim. They asked if that was a male?... [The representative] said, 'Please hold a moment.' After five minutes or so, she came back on the line and said, 'I'm so sorry, we don't allow same-sex couples to use the Vegas vacation offer. We can book you in Orlando or New Orleans, but not Vegas.' We spent the entire day in shock....

Seelig and England spent the remainder of the day attempting to contact different representatives of the company. One manager Seelig spoke to allegedly told the chorus director to mail a letter to a P.O. Box in Florida if the couple had an issue with the policy. Following a formal complaint by Seelig and press coverage of the incident, Best Vacations Ever reached out to the couple and informed them that their customer care agent had made a mistake by telling Dan he couldn't travel to Las Vegas "due to his sexual preference."

The representative also allegedly offered to send the couples on their Las Vegas "best vacation ever" and reimburse them fully for the cost of the trip. Seelig and England told The Huffington Post that they would not be accepting the offer.

"Our initial reaction was definitely, 'Oh no, you did not just say that!'" stated Seelig. "The two of us had different reactions. For Dan, this kind of blatant discrimination is somewhat new -- he came out in California and has not really experienced such things. For me, it brought up many experiences I had having come out in Houston, Texas... this was not new, but, interestingly enough, no less painful really. My reaction was to fight."

When The Huffington Post reached out to Best Vacations Ever, Michelle Morse, a representative of the company, responded with the following statement and a similar statement was posted on the company's Facebook. (The statement in full can be read at the end of the article.)"

This promotional offer for a hotel stay was subsidized by a third party resort in Las Vegas. These offers are designed to cater to co-habitating couples, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status. Both parties within a household must travel and participate in the promotion together. This requirement is in place to prevent the use of this type of promotional package for bachelor or bachelorette parties, business trips or conventions.

Couples, regardless of sexual orientation, are in fact the primary audience for this and many other vacation and travel related products offered by our company. Any accusations to the contrary are inaccurate.

In this specific case, when the guest called to make the reservation there was confusion as to whether they could show proof of residency (living together), however, there was no intentional disqualification based on the sexual orientation or marital status of the couple.

Seelig and England, however, aren't buying it. They claim that six different representatives of the company told them the same information regarding the company's policy about same-sex couples and denied them a booking in Las Vegas.

"I have been conducting LGBT choruses for 25 years," Seelig told The Huffington Post. "People often ask, is there really a reason or relevance to such organizations in today's 'We love the gays world?' Yes there is. This is proof. We may be the darlings of the entertainment industry, but discrimination and bigotry go very, very deep and we must fight it at every turn."

The full statement from Best Vacation Ever is available below.

The web portal, Best Vacations Ever, provides marketing and reservation services for many third party resorts around the country. This promotional offer for a hotel stay was subsidized by a third party resort in Las Vegas. These offers are designed to cater to co-habitating couples, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status. Both parties within a household must travel and participate in the promotion together. This requirement is in place to prevent the use of this type of promotional package for bachelor or bachelorette parties, business trips or conventions.

Couples, regardless of sexual orientation, are in fact the primary audience for this and many other vacation and travel related products offered by our company. Any accusations to the contrary are inaccurate.

In this specific case, when the guest called to make the reservation there was confusion as to whether they could show proof of residency (living together), however, there was no intentional disqualification based on the sexual orientation or marital status of the couple.

We have been in contact with both of the guests involved and have offered to resolve the situation by providing them with complimentary accommodations for the inconvenience of the miscommunication.

It is unfortunate that so much inaccurate information has been spread through various social channels, but we hope this helps to clarify the situation.

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