This story is just absurd on so many levels. Where to begin?
As reported by Towleroad, Michelle and Sandy Gladfelter, a lesbian couple, and their five-year-old daughter decided to join the Green Valley Swimming Pool & Sports Club in West Manchester Township, Pennsylvania, in the York area. Green Valley, as it turned out, has a family discount program, so naturally, the Gladfelters thought they would benefit--considering they're, you know, a family. Not so fast, though. It's not that simple at Green Valley.
Follow me below the fold.
What should have been a routine process quickly took a turn for the bigoted. According to the York Daily Record:
Michelle applied for membership at the pool and later received a call from owner Russ Jacobs. Jacobs told her she and her family would be welcome to join, but the discount does not apply to them.Hmmm...that sounds familiar, doesn't it? It's the same slippery-slope bullshit we hear from anti-gay legislators all over the country, on the local, state, and federal levels. "Oh, we can't allow two people of the same sex to marry--what's next, man-horse marriage? Man-toaster marriage? Where do we draw the line!?" Jacobs can talk about economics all he wants, but I think we know what this is really about: a disgust toward same-sex couples and a declaration that this gay family is not really a family.
"We don't recognize same-sex marriages," Jacobs said in an interview.
The reason, he said, isn't political; it's economic. He wouldn't bar Michelle and her family or any other family from joining the pool. But Jacobs says if he gives the discount to Gladfelter, he'd have to extend it to grandparents, cousins -- you name it.
And the anti-gay discrimination becomes much clearer when we learn that Green Valley's "family discount" program isn't even based on marriage at all. It's purely based on heterosexuality, as any opposite-sex couple can obtain a discount.
A heterosexual couple, regardless of whether they're married, would be granted the discount. "I have to draw the line somewhere," he said.The notion that Green Valley would lose any substantial amount of money by extending its family discount program to gay families is absurd. What's more absurd is the idea that, by recognizing gay families as what they are--legitimate families worthy of a discount--"cousins" would start showing up demanding discounts. This has nothing to do with economics and everything to do with hate and bigotry.
Jacobs did not single out Michelle and her family. In fact, he said, this isn't the first time he's had to deny the discount for similar reasons.
Green Valley is a club, he said. It's his bar to set, and he sets it at a man, a woman and, if there are any, children.
The article nails the real problem: there's simply no federal or state law barring discrimination against gays and lesbians in public accommodations.
But it's legal.Clearly, that's a problem. We may live in the year 2012, but as this caveman named Russ Jacobs shows, not everybody is enlightened enough to treat gay families with respect. That's where, in an ideal society, the law should step in.
No federal or state law exists that prevents a business from denying someone a discount because of their sexual orientation, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Some municipalities have laws in effect that would prevent a business from deciding who would receive a discount. York, for example, has an anti-discrimination law that bars businesses from choosing who gets a discount and who doesn't based on their sexual orientation.
"You don't have national or statewide protection," Roper said. "No one knows what their rights or responsibilities are. . . . It changes from town to town."
Jacobs' business status as a private club might be immaterial if it denied access to, say, a black family, Roper said. There are exclusive private clubs, and there are not-so-exclusive private clubs. Clubs that welcome virtually all comers would be held responsible under anti-discrimination laws, Roper said.
In the meantime, we can use some good old-fashioned pressure to try to force a change in policy. If you feel so moved, please consider contacting Green Valley and letting them know how you feel about their discriminatory policy. Here's the contact information:
Phone # : 717 764-2037