The company had a long-standing policy dating from 1981 that banned gays from their "couples-only" resorts. The policy was variously stated by characterizing the accommodations as "resort for couples (heterosexual) only", or "Couples only. A couple is defined as one female adult and one male adult", "policies require male/female couples only", or "couples of the same gender are not accepted. " Sandals' anti-gay policy received a great deal of publicity when stays at their resorts were offered as prizes in various promotions by companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo!, and US Airways in 1999. Later reports indicated that some resorts also made no accommodations for the handicapped, prompting the ACLU to opine that companies offering Sandals stays as prizes, or otherwise doing business with Sandals resorts, might be the targets of lawsuits. The companies involved promptly severed their relationships with Sandals, stating they were unaware of its discriminatory practices. Adverts for the company were banned from the London Underground in 2003 after public objections were raised. One possible cause for this policy may have been that homosexuality was illegal in Jamaica. Sandals ended its policy of refusing service to gay couples in August 2004 after further protest.
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