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Lesbian Couple Encounters Discrimination at Oregon Catfish Derby

Catfish
Note: above photo for illustration purposes only, via Daily Mail.

A lesbian couple attending a catfish derby in Huntington Oregon says the local Lions Club violated anti-discrimination laws when it wouldn't charge them a couples discount, Lambda Legal reports:

"On May 22, Angela and Tina Corriere-Gooch attended [the] derby with their family. As the group approached the registration area that evening, a club representative explained that the event pricing included a discount for couples and added, 'but none of this boy-boy, girl-girl couples crap.' When another man in the room suggested that Angela and Tina should be given the discount if they could document their relationship status, the club representative stated that this is how the club has "always done it," and that the club had no intention of changing its policy. Adding insult to injury, the Corriere-Gooches’ young nieces and their boyfriends were given the "couples" discount, while Angela and Tina both were charged the full admission price. 'It’s insulting and degrading that the club treated us like strangers, instead of recognizing our committed relationship,' said Tina Corriere-Gooch."

According to the Baker City Herald, "Mike Raney of Huntington, a Lions Club member and chairman of the catfish derby, said his decision to deny the $1 couples discount to the Corriere-Gooches had nothing to do with their sexual orientation. 'I wasn’t making any statement against lesbians, I’ll tell you that right now,' Raney said Friday morning. 'I have nothing against them at all. I was just trying to run a catfish derby.' Raney said he refused to give the couple the discount because he figured that if he did so he would have to extend the same offer to other pairs of anglers of the same gender, regardless of their sexual orientation. Raney said he will write an apology letter to the Corriere-Gooches. "

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  1. "he would have to extend the same offer to other pairs of anglers of the same gender"

    Newsflash, hater, you have to extend your biased policy to all opposite gendered pairs of anglers too. My flame dame and I are just about as committed as my brother and his best (male) friend, so why would we get the discount and they wouldn't?

    Posted by: Kuhnsy | Jul 30, 2009 11:25:20 AM


  2. No questions asked, sue them. Period. And tell him to shove the apology letter. This guy is an idiot, let him spend some time in court.

    Posted by: Bart | Jul 30, 2009 11:58:41 AM


  3. Oooooooooooooooooor She could open a dialog with that local paper and get some change happening. I'm sure that they could all redefine couples in this situation, and I bet next year it will be available. But lawsuits? over $2 discrimination is silly.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Jul 30, 2009 12:11:42 PM


  4. That picture along with that headline is kinda funny.

    Posted by: Riley | Jul 30, 2009 12:15:52 PM


  5. So the only valid couples that can get the $1 discount are heterosexual, yet he's not discriminating? Really?

    Here's an idea, when two people walk up and say they're a couple, give them the damn $1 discount. Problem solved. I don't think Mike Raney, chairman of the catfish derby, has to worry about two straight guys pretending to be a couple. That's not gonna happen.

    Posted by: David in Houston | Jul 30, 2009 12:54:22 PM


  6. Patheticly petty. So if they had come with a gay couple, as long as they pretended to pair off as boy-girl, they could have been considered "couples"? This just illustrates peoples' (particularly Americans') inability to deal with the truth, and their preference to be lied to rather than deal with reality.

    The same could be said for all of us, as well, unfortunately...it's certainly an uphill battle for anyone who attempts to speak the truth on Towleroad when that truth goes against the majority's preferred fantasy version of how things are.

    Posted by: paul c | Jul 30, 2009 12:58:20 PM


  7. The really impressive part of this story is showing how bass-ackwards this guy's view of interpersonal relationships is... so two people of opposite sex have to be in some kind of "couple" and can't be platonic? is this guy a Hasidic Jew?

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 30, 2009 2:52:59 PM


  8. Just to be clear here, Mike Raney is the bigot. Lambda Legal has gone off on one of its shrill public relations campaigns, chastising Lions Clubs International (LCI) for a culture of discrimination that doesn't exist. As an out gay man who has been a Lion since 1986, I can tell you that gays and lesbians serve openly and with dignity. We are welcome and respected just like everyone else. The matter has been handled at the local level, where it belongs. Lambda's juvenile display righteous indignation directed towards LCI -- one of the leading humanitarian organizations in the world, and a signatory to the UN Charter -- is pointless, except to help them raise money to fill their coffers. Talk about pathetic.

    My open letter to Lambda Legal:

    An open letter to Jason Howe:

    As a Lion since 1986 and an out gay man since 1992, I write in response to Lambda Legal's press release regarding the treatment of the Corriere-Gooches at the Hungtington, Oregon Lions Club Catfish Derby. I speak for myself and in no official capacity.

    I am Immediate Past President of the Sunnyvale Host Lions Club in Sunnyvale, California, and I currently serve as Charter President of the newly forming Mountain View Silicon Valley Lions Club. My partner of 16 years, Brian Rountree, is also a Lion and has played a highly visible and significant role in helping to launch this new club. Together, we also drive a technology initiative to the clubs of our District. We attend functions at every level of this organization and have never once -- NEVER ONCE -- been treated with anything less than respect and dignity. In fact, we have also been instrumental in encouraging clubs in our area to adopt nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Please handle this situation with care. Particularly, do not brand Lions Clubs International and all Lions Clubs as discriminatory on the basis of this isolated incident that was, in all likelihood, the unenlightened response of a single club member. Regrettable though it may be, one member's viewpoint does not reflect those of the vast majority of Lions who serve their communities worldwide without regard for personal gain, while putting aside political and religious differences.

    Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service organization, with many actively serving gay and lesbian members, who are quite welcome. In fact, there is a gay Lions Club in San Francisco, the Castro Lions, who hold many of their fundraisers in the gay bars of the Castro District. Lions Clubs are autonomous entities made up of people who volunteer their time. Ours is the only NGO to be a signatory to the UN Charter, having been invited by that organization to help write the Humanitarian section of that charter. We do not practice discrimination.

    All too often in the LGBT movement, we overreact with righteous indignation and rage to what are simple, human errors. The Corriere-Gooches are certainly entitled to an apology from the club member who offended them. Lecturing Lions Clubs International about discrimination and demanding that all Oregon Lions Clubs receive notice of anti-discrimination obligations is as insulting a response as that of the Lion in question at the Catfish Derby; like his comment, it paints an entire group of individuals with the same brush, assuming that we are all as unenlightened and bigoted as he is. We are not. One could, in fact, argue that the response they received is more reflective of the community in which they live, though that would be as unfair your response to Lions Clubs International.

    Lambda Legal needs to act prudently here, with a proportional response, lest you come off trying to make political and monetary hay from this relatively minor incident. Please do not drag the good name of Lions Clubs International through the mud simply to fill Lamba's coffers with donations. If necessary, I will be at the forefront of LCI's defense against any heavy-handed tactics you bring to bear.

    Yours sincerely,

    Hugh J. Donagher, III

    Posted by: Hugh J. Donagher III | Jul 30, 2009 7:14:37 PM


  9. @ HUGH J. DONAGHER III,

    Um, excuse me, but you don't speak for me or any other LGBT any more than those at Lambda Legal you chastise. You only speak for yourself. If the LIONS CLUB or Oregon violated law (even over a dollar), then they violated the law...and if they're sued for damages they're going to look pretty stupid not to give the ladies their discount.

    Posted by: Wheezy | Jul 30, 2009 10:44:25 PM


  10. @Wheezy:

    When did I claim to speak for all GLBT persons? I couldn't possibly speak for all the whiners and "victims" in our community. My letter clearly states, and I quote: "I speak only for myself and in no official capacity." It is Lambda who is arrogant enough to claim to speak for me; they do not. I couldn't bear to associate with such a incompetent organization.

    Furthermore, the discount isn't the point here. The point is that Lambda Legal's attack on an international humanitarian organization (that does not practice discrimination) in response to the Corriere-Gooches' $1 grievance.

    Lambda's response just as biased and bigoted as Mike Raney's alleged comments. It paints 1.3 million men and women with the same brush, assuming that they are all as bigoted and biased as he is. It also assumes that a culture of discrimination exists within Lions Clubs International. It does not.

    Rather than escalating the matter to LCI and childishly stamping their feet, demanding apologies from people who had nothing to do with the incident, Lambda should have taken up the issue with Mike Raney, the man accused of making the comments. But handling the issue quietly at that level would have gained them no press, and no donations. They don't do business except to solicit donations.

    Furthermore, by continuing to spread this story unedited, Lambda is now spreading disinformation. Mr. Raney has publicly apologized and promised a written letter of apology. So all Lambda is doing with this now innacurate and now intentionally misleading press release is slinging mud, trolling for your money. With absolutely no integrity.

    Posted by: Hugh J. Donagher III | Jul 31, 2009 8:22:37 PM


  11. I'm not sure what I think of LAMBDA, but, I do know that so many "rights" organizations do jump all over every little thing like Gloria Allred at a Lindsay Lohan fender bender. PETA is a perfect example of this.

    I know nothing about the LIONS but Hugh sounds like he is a tad more informed than Wheezy, so, I'm going with him on this one.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Aug 2, 2009 7:01:32 AM


  12. Why is this even a story...who cares!

    Posted by: matt | Aug 11, 2009 3:32:56 AM


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