Thursday, July 5, 2012

Virginia Gay Couple Sues Roanoke Athletic Club After Stripping Them Of A Family Membership

Two Virginia-based gay men are suing an area health club after denying their son access to a swimming pool and stripping them of a family membership after learning they were a same-sex couple.

The Roanoke Times reports that Will Trinkle and partner Juan Granados -- who have been together for about eight years -- filed the lawsuit against the Roanoke Athletic Club and its affiliate, Carilion Clinic, last week.

Trinkle claimed that a club employee told him that although their membership application had initially been accepted, the couple and their son were not recognized as a family under Virginia law, according to the report.

Attorney John Fishwick said that Trinkle and Granados are arguing that the club's decision was a breach of contract and, as such, a violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. "The underlying case is a contract case," he was quoted by the Times as saying. "The primary focus of the case is for this family to have the opportunities that other families have, and to have the contract that was signed be enforced."

Trinkle told ABC 13 he had been open about his relationship during the application process, adding, "Actually it was like someone punched us in the's from a place we couldn't imagine that there would be this kind of discrimination and this kind of attack."

Local NBC affiliate WSLS 10 reported that Carilion spokesperson Eric Earnhart had thus far declined to comment, citing pending litigation. Still, the club's website "defines a family as a husband, wife and children under 25 living at home," according to ABC 13.

A petition in support of the couple and their son has thus far drawn over 20,000 signatures. You can view that petition here.

Take a look at other anti-LGBT service industry blunders below:

  • An Illinois-based lesbian couple is searching for a new wedding venue after the <a href="" target="_hplink">manager of one historic banquet hall told them </a>she wouldn't help "celebrate that sin." Kristen Stewart, the manager of the University Club in downtown Moline, said she won't host a reception for Taylor Shumaker and her partner of three years -- or any other same-sex couple, for that matter -- because of her religious beliefs. "Because marriage is a covenant that God created for man and woman, then, as a biblical Christian, I cannot help them enter into or celebrate that sin," Stewart, who is married to the owner of the club, told the news channel.

  • An Iowa lesbian couple might have hoped to find a wedding cake that was both delicate and sweet, but they say <a href="" target="_hplink">their experience with a Des Moines-based baker</a> left behind a sour taste. As KCCI-TV<a href="" target="_hplink"> is reporting</a>, the owner of Victoria's Cake Cottage refused to bake a cake for Trina Vodraska and Janelle Sievers, who are planning a June wedding, because she is Christian, in fall 2011. Victoria Childress, who runs her bakery from home, says it's her right as a business owner to turn away customers."I said, 'I'll tell you I'm a Christian, and I do have convictions.' And I said, 'I'm sorry to tell you, but I'm not going to be able to do your cake," Childress, who met the couple during a taste-testing appointment, said. "I didn't do the cake because of my convictions for their lifestyle. It is my right, and it's not to discriminate against them. It's not so much to do with them, it's to do with me and my walk with God and what I will answer [to] Him for."

  • A Phoenix-based lesbian couple c<a href="" target="_hplink">ried foul after being told</a> to "get a room" by a hotel restaurant manager during a romantic dinner. Kenyata White and Aeimee Diaz, both 38, chose to celebrate their two-year anniversary at the District American Kitchen and Wine Bar, located inside the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, on Sunday because they met there. "My partner and I were one of the tall booths," White told the paper. "I had my arm around her neck, and she had her hand around my waist. I gave her a hug for about a minute, pulled myself away to give her a quick kiss, and then we continued talking." White told AZ Family that she and Diaz were then approached by a restaurant manager, who "came up to us and said we should get a room. That our behavior was inappropriate and we should leave the establishment."

  • Rose Marie Belforti, the town clerk in Ledyard, N.Y., drew national attention after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The town's government is behind Belforti, saying it cannot force her to issue licenses.

  • A Florida-based lesbian couple said they were humiliated by their driver's license application "nightmare" after the Pinellas County DMV rejected their name change request after an hour-long wait.

  • The owner of a new gay bar on Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood said he was refused service because a printing company thinks homosexuality is wrong. The printing company's owner argued he didn't approve of the artwork on the promotional material.

  • Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vermont after the proprietors <a href="" target="_hplink">refused to host</a> Katherine Baker and Ming-Lien Linsley's same-sex wedding reception. As ABC <a href="" target="_hplink">is reporting</a>, the inn updated its website shortly thereafter to announce it is "no longer hosting weddings or special events."

  • In August, Alix Genter, a lesbian bride-to-be, claimed to have been denied service at Here Comes the Bride in Somers Point, N.J., after the salon's manager said she didn't want to be associated with the pending "illegal action," <a href="" target="_hplink">according to the</a><em> Philadelphia Daily News</em>.

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