A hot summer day, a swimming pool. A 2-year-old being told he can’t go swimming because his dads are gay?
Will Trinkle and Juan Granados say they applied for a family membership at the Roanoke Athletic Club in Virginia, clearly listing themselves as same-sex partners with a 2-year-old son, Oliver.
Will says he was encouraged to apply for a family plan by a club employee because only children on family plan memberships are allowed to use the club pool.
But Will says that just 9 days after his application was approved, a club employee called to tell him it was a mistake, that the club was revoking their membership because the state of Virginia doesn’t consider Will, Juan and Oliver to be a “real” family.
Mark Lynn Ferguson is a Roanoke native, and he’s outraged by this alleged discrimination against Will and Juan’s family. That’s why Mark started a petition on Change.org demanding that the Roanoke Athletic Club reinstate their membership and treat all families equally.
The Roanoke Athletic Club is owned by the Carilion Clinic, a company which owns and operates 150 hospitals and medical clinics in Virginia, serving over 1 million people. “If Carilion won’t give unmarried couples access to a pool, how will it treat them at a hospital?” Mark asks.
Will Trinkle says that he was told by a Roanoke Athletic Club employee that “they were ‘tightening policies’ so no families like us would ever ‘get as far’ as we had.” That’s why Mark thinks it’s so important to send Carilion’s leaders a strong message right now, before policies are changed and more families face discrimination.
“Folks in Roanoke are good hearted and fair minded, so I was just horrified when I heard how Carilion treated this family,” Mark says. Mark thinks that if enough people sign his petition, Carilion’s leaders will see that people in Virginia and around America believe that all families deserve to be treated equally, married or unmarried, gay or straight.