Lava Hot Springs Swim Park in Idaho: Gay Families Not Welcome


A lesbian couple and their three children were refused a special family admission rate at a popular water park in Idaho:

Lava2 "Amber Koger and Jeri Underwood say they and their three children
were recently denied the resort's advertised family admission price to
the Olympic Swimming Complex at Lava Hot Springs. 'What made me
mad is that their definition leaves out a lot of families,' Koger told
the Idaho State Journal. 'What you're saying is that because we're gay,
we're not a family.' Koger is the aunt of 11-year-old Makayla,
9-year-old Kolton and 5-year-old Ricky. Their parents divorced and
Koger and Underwood were awarded custody after the Idaho Department of
Health and Welfare became involved…Mark Lowe, executive director for the Lava Hot Springs foundation,
said the state doesn't recognize gay or lesbian marriage and defines a
family as one male, one female and children…But Monica Hopkins of the American Civil Liberties Union in Boise said
state code defines marriage but has no universal definition of a family."


  1. says

    I’m going to assume that Lava Hot Springs doesn’t extend their family discount to single parents – divorced or unwed – either.

    If that’s the case, I’ll give them credit for at least being consistent.

  2. noah says

    So a single parent and his/her children would not be a family? An aunt or uncle can’t take her nieces and nephew for a family outing?

    This seems nuts. Tons of children live with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings or cousins.


  3. Disgusted American says

    I’m hating this country more and more every day.

    Posted by: Tony | Jun 10, 2009 11:57:19 AM

    I feel the same way. I swear IF I could afford too..I’d move the Hell out of America. I tell people the words “LIBERTY & JUSTICE FOR ALL” ARE JUST THAT,WORDS…EMPTY MEANINGLESS WORDS…repeated with nauseum to make America sound better then it actually is.

  4. Mike says

    “Mark Lowe, executive director for the Lava Hot Springs foundation, said the state doesn’t recognize gay or lesbian marriage and defines a family as one male, one female and children”

    That’s one of the most INSANE, and OFFENSIVE statements I’ve ever heard. It’s offensive not just for gay families, but straight families, too.

    What about households in which one parent has died? Are they not a family anymore?


  5. Terry says

    I just checked the site for the place. They have a family pass policy highlight now, and basically it looks like they’re backing off and saying that whatever adult(s) are present with the children that have legal responsibility for the children will be considered family, so hopefully that is being fixed. I hope so! Obama, where are you?

  6. Wheezy says

    @ Terry,

    So what if they changed it. They’re still douchebags. Fuck them. May the decent people in Idaho take their money and themselves elsewhere.

    Also, boycott potatoes.

  7. Terry says

    I think we have to give credit to any organization, who, when the discrimmination is pointed out, takes public steps to correct, otherwise they have no stake in becoming progressive or enlightened. Many times it is a single douchebag who needs to be corrected or fired or whatever. It’s when they don’t respond, or stand by their prejudice, that we boycott.

  8. says

    This is why marriage rights are such an issue – many bigots refuse to consider our FAMILIES as a “real” family. These “Bigot Families” can pay my fucking taxes.

    A child can demand a cookie, but since the child has no tangable “power” in the household (no physical strength, no money…perhaps influence, but parents still the final decision), any “demand” for a cookie is ultimately whining.

    We’re still whining. Begging. Pleading.
    Why NOT demand with our wallets behind us?
    Americans will continue to ignore us until we wake up their wallets.

  9. says

    “Mark Lowe, executive director for the Lava Hot Springs foundation, said the state doesn’t recognize gay or lesbian marriage and defines a family as one male, one female and children.”

    if this is the case, then they better well as hell be denying single parent families too!

    policy is policy, after all…

  10. MattR says

    I sent them an e-mail about this asking them to reconsider the policy. This was the response that I received:

    The legal guardian and the children received the family discount. Her unmarried partner was not included in this and paid separately in accordance with attached policy. Poor reporting on the part of the Idaho State Journal.

    And in the document:

    Intent: The family discount is intended to help families afford the day out at a swimming pool or hot pool facility that they may not otherwise be able to afford. It is also intended to increase attendance at the facilities midweek when business is typically slower. Therefore, the discount is available Monday-Thursday except major holidays – New Years Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.

    Eligibility: In order to be as consistent as possible, families that are eligible for the discount are considered to be parents and children. The children must be dependant children of the parent, or parents, present at the time of entry, and under the age of 18. For the purpose of this discount, parent is defined as the person who has long-term legal responsibility for the dependant children.

    Discussion: The children need not be biological offspring of the legally responsible adult(s). Adopted children and foster children are considered part of the family so long as the stipulations listed above are met. Parents are defined as those adults who are either legally obligated to the care of the dependant children or are married to the adult who is the parent of the dependant children. Single parents and their children are eligible for the discount. Adults who are raising their siblings are eligible for the discount.

  11. expedito says

    In order to make $15 or $20 more out of this family, the management of Lava Hot Springs has incurred thousands of dollars in BAD publicity. What a great businessman this Mark Lowe is!! Then again, Idaho is Mormon country. Since it’s now known that Lava Hate (sic) Springs discriminates against gay people, maybe all the Mormons will flock there.

  12. brentbent says

    Not all Idahoans are homophobic so please don’t paint us all or our state as such just because it’s sparsely populated, not on the coast, and has a large number of Mormons. Idaho voters defeated a voter initiative that would’ve made it illegal to mention homosexuality in a positive manner and that was about a decade ago before the tide started turning. I’ve lived in Tampa, Miami, Phoenix, and DC and I prefer my little college town of Moscow in Idaho over them all combined.

  13. hardcase says

    in my own opinion to each his own but but like it says it was adam and eve not adam and steve but then maybe it should have been put this way we have the right to refuse service to any one not that your gay or what ever swim at your own risk

  14. says

    I am from Lava Hot Springs, and i grew up there my whole life. You people dont even know Mark Lowe. He is a great man and a great father. And on top of it all he is not a homophobe. He was my boss for 4 years. Then I moved away and joined the navy. I joined to fight for my country and to give you the rights to sit here on your computers and bitch about how much you hate Mark Lowe and talk about how much you hate America. I give you the freedom to be openly gay! I have one thing to say to you… Get the hell out! I dont need pieces of work like yourselves to be living in my great nation. So you can all piss off and leave!

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