Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lesbian Couple and Kids Denied Family Discount Admission Rate

Amber Koger and Jeri Underwood a lesbian couple and their three children were denied the family discount at a community pool because The Lava Hot Springs Foundation's executive director Mark Lowe maintains that as a state institution they must follow Idaho law which bans same-sex marriage and defines family as being one man and one woman.

While it is in fact true that Idaho law explicitly bans same-sex marriage, there is no universal definition of family. The marriage law was not intended to discriminate in this arena, and it is being used unfairly against this family.

Please email the Lava Hot Springs Foundation and tell them to grant this family and all LGBT families the same discount that is applied to other families.

Lava Hot Springs State Foundation
430 East Main
P.O. Box 669
Lava Hot Springs, Idaho 83246
Phone: (208) 776-5221 or (800) 423-8597
Mark.Lowe@lhs.idaho.gov

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I called and asked what they considered family and they told me Husband and Wife (which is what my partner and I call our unity) or immediate family. This is going to be an issue all over until it is on one accord across the nation.

It's a pity that corporation we live in called the United states can't just make one bill and it sits throughout

Carly said...

How very, very sad. I am thankful every single day to live in Canada.

Wanda said...

So does that mean if I was a straight single Mom with 3 kids, I couldn't get the 'family' discount because I have no husband? Since they say "immediate family", does that mean if Amber and Jeri were sisters and one of them had 3 kids, they could get the family discount? What a crock...

thefeministbreeder said...

Okay, I got all pissed and here's the email I sent:

Mark,

As a straight, traditionally married mother of two children, I am completely offended by your outright refusal to grant a family discount to the family in this story. http://queersunited.blogspot.com/2009/06/lesbian-couple-and-kids-denied-family.html

Idaho may be able to define what a legal "marriage" is in your state, but they have no constitutional right to proclaim what a family is. Furthermore, I have seen many "families" consisting of both a man and a woman who are not families at all, but under your definition, they'd be given this discount. What a wildly discriminatory practice.

You may not agree with this couple's lifestyle, but punishing their children and condemning their family is outright hate, and I would expect better from a government leader. The tide is turning, Mr. Lowe, and people like you who punish others based on some arbitrary definitions are going to find themselves on the losing end of this battle. Do you want to be the person that spread hate and intolerance through your state? Or do you want to be the bigger person and accept that families come in many forms?

I'm personally very happy to live in a state that recognizes members sharing a home as "family" - no matter what their orientation is. It's time for Idaho to do the same.

Good Day

Gina Crosley-Corcoran
Brookfield, IL
Proud mother and friend to LBGT

Anonymous said...

My letter to Mark:

Hello Mark,

I hope you are well.

I have been informed recently of a matter of a lesbian couple and their three children who were denied the family discount at a community pool, and this is because you maintained that as a state institution the foundation must follow Idaho law which bans same-sex marriage and defines family as being one man and one woman.

I am not an expert in Idaho law, though it is my understanding that there may not be a universal definition of the word "family" under Idaho law, irrespective of the definition of marriage, and I would like to get a better understanding of this law from you if you have one.

Under the assumption of a possible absence of the definition of the word "family" under Idaho law, I looked up the word "family" under a number of leading and established dictionaries. I looked up the word under dictionary.com, and I found 20 definitions, none of which defined family as being one man and one woman (some of the definitions include "parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not", "the children of one person or one couple collectively" and "the spouse and children of one person"). I looked up the word under merriam-webster.com, and I found 8 definitions, none of which defined family as being one man and one woman (one of the definitions include "the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children"). I looked up the word in the Oxford dictionary, and I found 7 definitions, none of which defined family as being one man and one woman (one of the definitions included "a group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit").

Absent a state legal definition and with respect to definitions provided by leading and established dictionaries, it would seem evidently clear that the lesbian couple and their three children constitute a family, and accordingly I would hope to get a better understanding from you as to why they were denied a discount as they appear to be a family.

That said, I feel that there is a much bigger, more concerning matter than definitions.

I do not know where you personally come from with respect to denying them a discount based on your above reasoning. That said, I sincerely mean the following when I say that I would hope that you have a heart to see that these two individuals more likely than not love each other dearly like any reasonable couple would and more likely than not provide love and nurture for their three children like any other reasonable couple with children would. To me, love and nurture is my definition of family and what family means to me. If you honestly do not really understand from an LGBT person's perspective what it means to be in a family with LGBT parents, then I would think that the most appropriate thing to do in gaining such an understanding is to ask LGBT parents what it is like to be in such a family and observe such a family in their everyday activities. If you choose not to understand or get to know LGBT families as part of your process in determining the definition of family as being one man and one woman, then I believe that to be a reflection of who you are as a human being.

Respectfully,
Sean Chapin


"To discriminate against others is to seize the opportunity to become weaker, and to be discriminated against from others is to seize the opportunity to become stronger."

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know whether Lava Hot Springs requires a valid marriage certificate before they will issue a family discount to "one man and a woman." I'm guessing not.

Anonymous said...

hmmm... yet another case where a word to the ACLU might generate a simple yet strong response to those who would discriminate unfairly.

GDad said...

Here's another publicly supported rec center that has an explicit rule denying same-sex coupled families the family rate. This place goes even further by saying that the family definition is that it's a couple that is married as defined by the State of Ohio, which would mean that a same-sex married couple from Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, etc., would be denied the family rate.

You can find the specific rule by going to this link (http://www.groveportrec.com/), clicking on Rules & Regulations under the Groveport Recreation Center menu in the upper left. The definition of "family" is on page 5.

Post a Comment