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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 26, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 48
Virgin America pilot marries Gay couple over Canadian airspace
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Virgin America pilot marries Gay couple over Canadian airspace

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Passengers on a red-eye flight woke up to an announcement more exciting than the typical 'fasten your seatbelts' as they approached New York early November 11: Two men had gotten married onboard overnight when the captain briefly flew over Canada, where same-sex marriage is legal.

'The head flight attendant made the & announcement: 'While you were sleeping, we had a little wedding in the galley. The captain diverted us over Canadian airspace so he could marry two gentlemen,' passenger Ryan McManus, who was returning home to New York, told msnbc.com.

The captain of Virgin America Flight 28, which originated in San Francisco, California, officiated the wedding.

McManus quoted the flight attendant as saying, 'We'd like to wish them the best and offer them a round of applause,' noting that the passengers applauded on cue.

Since the announcement, Virgin America has confirmed that one of the normal flight paths for Flight 28 does go over Canada.

Abby Lunardini, a spokeswoman for Virgin America, said, 'Believe it or not, we've actually had a wedding onboard before.'

That wedding, according to Lunardini, was in October 2007, on a flight from San Francisco to Las Vegas, Nevada, and was performed by Virgin Group Chairman Sir Richard Branson. The wedding was not a same-sex marriage, as Gay marriage is not legal in Nevada.

In July 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriages. New York city currently offers same-sex commitment ceremonies, which fall short of offering full marriage rights. In California, activists are appealing Proposition 8, the state's Gay marriage ban, which defines marriage as being only between a man and a woman.

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