Lesbian Moms Say Texas YMCA Discriminated Against Their Family

A lesbian couple in Tyler, Texas, claims that the local YMCA denied them and their son a family membership because they are not a "traditional family."
By: Sunnivie Brydum
January 25 2013 5:04 PM

A lesbian couple in Tyler, Texas, claims that the local YMCA denied them and their son a family membership because they are not a "traditional family." 

According to a Change.org petition filed by Suzy Sheridan, the Tyler YMCA was happy to give the couple and their son the family rate ten years ago, when their son was on the Y's swim team. But now that their 20-year-old son is no longer swimming for the Y, Sheridan says they've run up against a wall when it comes to accessing the venue's family plan. 

"My life partner and I have been together for over 20 years and have a 20-year-old son," writes Sheridan on the Change.org petition, which already has nearly 8,000 signatures. "We also assist another young man who has lived with us nearly two years. I was told I would have to produce a marriage certificate before [the Y] would let us join under the family plan. I told them that was not possible since I live in Texas and our long-time relationship was not recognized in this state. I told them that I felt they were being discriminatory. What's ironic is that they didn't have a problem letting us join under the family plan when our son swam on their swim team ten years ago. I feel they should have a policy across the board for all their facilities allowing all types of families to join their organization."

The Dallas Voice reports that calls to the Tyler YMCA seeking comment were unreturned. The Voice also notes that denying membership to LGBT families seems to be a trend in Texas — in 2011, a Baylor fitness club decided to discontinue all family memberships rather than offer the family rate plan to one gay couple. The couple sued under Dallas' nondiscrimination ordinance, which does protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

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