A situation involving the Roanoke Athletic Club, a gay couple and their family, the definition of the word “family,” and the ensuing treatment of said family is highlighting why exactly it is important gay people are extended the same rights legally rather than in a piecemeal fashion depending on how enlightened any given business owner may be.
Late last month, Will Trinkle, 54, and his partner Juan Granados, 40, filed suit against the Roanoke Athletic Club after the pair — together for two years and parents to a son, Oliver, who is two — were allowed a family membership to the club, a membership which was later revoked.
Who cares, you might be thinking, gay people are so *sensitive*, just go to another club. Why is this news? And you know, some of us might think it’s kind of bigoted to think that way, but hey, no one here is the thought police.
But. Trinkle and Granados would have then had to re-up their memberships at a significant pricing increase, and mainly only because it seems the Roanoke Athletic Club — which is owned by Carilion Clinic, part of a regional health company — has some sort of strange fixation on making sure the definition of “family” is not co-opted by gay people.
In fact, in response to the suit, Roanoke Athletic Club did away with family memberships altogether and posted the following statement to their Facebook page:
“A household consists of a primary member and up to one additional household member that permanently lives in the household, and any of their dependent children under the age of 22 who also reside in the household on a permanent basis.”
“…Club dues will not change; dues for the Household Membership will be the same as the Family Membership it is replacing.”
Trinkle describes insult added to injury when the RAC realized its “mistake” in allowing their family to become members:
“We tried to resolve this with Carilion’s leadership,” said Trinkle. “We were not only told that they were sticking with their decision to kick us out, but because of us, they were ‘tightening policies’ so no families like us would ever ‘get as far’ as we had.”
The RAC has commented that they have not received any lawsuit information as of yet.