Monday, January 12, 2009

Marriage certificates don't make families

This is one practical reason why marriage equality is important: Lesbian couple loses appeal in health club discrimination case. Amy and Sarah Monson were not able to sign up under a family member with a health club because they were not married.

Amy and Sarah Monson have been together for seven years and are raising a daughter together. They co-own a business, have joint finances, and had a commitment ceremony in 2002. They have drafted estate plans for themselves and their daughter, and Sarah changed her last name to Monson.

The Rochester Athletic Club had a policy that only married couples could apply for a family membership package. The courts have said that since unmarried heterosexual couples also cannot get the discounted membership the policy does not constitute discrimination based on sexual orientation. But the Monsons contend that since they don’t have the option to marry, they should not be compared with unmarried heterosexual couples who have the option to marry.

It doesn't matter how they view themselves, how they live together as a family, or anything like that. The Monsons, while not bound in marriage through civil law, are family. Pieces of paper don't decide what's family and what's not - in my opinion, love is what makes a family.

The Rochester Athletic Club is just hiding prejudice behind their own self-imposed rule of marriage as the qualifying aspect of what signals a family. In addition, they're also discriminating against all non-traditional forms of family that aren't bound by marriage. For example, the Tanner family in Full House wouldn't be able to get the family membership from the athletic club because two of the members aren't joined through marriage.

Essentially, because these women cannot marry, they're being legally discriminated against. Nice work, Minnesota.

1 comment:

Amelia said...

Ah. Some things about MN are so nice...but this is not one of them.

See, this is probably one of those times when people are thinking "Yeah! We're not discriminating! See! We treat lesbians exactly the same as heterosexual people!"

Blah. How offensive.

I hope they can find a more accepting health club near them.