Gay Couple Sue Roanoke Athletic Club For Discrimination

RoanokeGay

A Virginia couple claim that the Roanoke Athletic Club blocked their membership because they're both men.

Will Trinkle and his partner Juan Granados are suing the Roanoke Athletic Club (RAC) and Carilion Clinic.  The RAC is owned by Carilion.

Trinkle says in May, 2012, he applied for a family membership at the RAC for he, his partner, and their two year old son.

Trinkle says a RAC employee encouraged him to sign up for a family membership.

A few weeks later, Trinkle says RAC management called to say it was revoking the membership.

Trinkle alleges the RAC employee informed him Carilion's specific policy on this issue is to follow Virginia state law and that Mr. Trinkle's family is not considered a family by the state.

Speaking with the press about the incident, Trinkle also said a RAC employee says the club "[is] tightening policies so no families like us would ever get as far as we had."

Comments

  1. Dave says

    Roanoke is not far from Lynchburg where Jerry Falwell and his “Liberty College” is (that is where they make Christian fanatics to take over governments and the world), sort of like a Jihad Camp where they teach bomb making only they use politics and psychological warfare to take over the minds of people using their Christian propaganda. Now you know how deep they are in Christian fanatic country.

  2. Aimee McPherson Semple says

    “…like a Jihad Camp where they teach bomb making only they use politics and psychological warfare…”

    If by ‘psychological warfare’ you actually mean ‘false theology’, then I agree.

  3. Chris says

    I think there is an important piece of information missing here. Did the club allow other non married couples to have the family membership. If not, then this is a tough case because they aren’t married, and until there is national marriage equality there isn’t much to be done. If they do allow other unmarried couples to join as a family, then there is a case, and a pretty good one against the club.

  4. patrick says

    Why do gay couples continue to live in Virginia and expect to be treated fairly? Are they in a total state of denial?

  5. anthony says

    1- I have to agree with Chris–If the Club allows “couples” to join as family membership then I believe they have a case.

    As to why GLBT persons live in certain parts of the US– that is a just part of our history.

    As we see and read a slow process towards equality is coming from all locations.

    But I’ll remain stay above Battery Park NYC for those south of there do scare me.
    Or rather amaze me.

  6. Chuck says

    “If they do allow other unmarried couples to join as a family, then there is a case, and a pretty good one against the club.”

    I’m not so sure about that. In Bizarro World Virginia, unless I’m mistaken, it’s perfectly legal to discriminate against gays.

  7. Francis says

    It does need to be said, Patrick, that at least in Richmond (my home city), the main gyms (Gold’s, YMCA, American Family Fitness) allow full same-sex partnership benefits. Unfortunately, Roanoke is not Richmond and definitely ain’t NOVA either. Carilion is also being sued regarding a racial discrimination case, so you can see what type of individuals work for this company. Par for the course.

    Hopefully the lawsuit works out for the couple.

  8. RK says

    As this case illustrates, there is still sooo much to do for gay equality and respect. The war is just beginning!

  9. Mary says

    I agree with Chris. The club is still going to be able to define family in a hetereonormative way as long as Virginia doesn’t have marriage equality. And I’ve never used the word “heteronormative” before so I hope I’m using it accurately!

    Anthony, I wonder why you don’t trust New Yorkers who live south of Battery Park City. I’m in Brooklyn, and here we are very tolerant people – even in the white working-class area where I live.

  10. Dairyqueen says

    I feel for this family, but they do live in a state that has one of the harsher anti-marriage amendments. I wonder if Mary Cheney and her new wife would have the same problem?

  11. says

    I can’t believe they would allow themselves to be so discriminatory – to the point of doubling-down! Heck, my own local YMCA (C-Christian) allows same-sex couples to register for their family membership.

    http://www.carilionfitness.com/membership/rac-handbook.pdf

    “8. How is a family membership defined?
    – Family membership includes husband, wife and children under the age of 21; therefore once a family member turns 22 years old, they must get their own membership. (Allowances are made for children that go straight to college from high school. Please see sales office for more information.)
    – RAC/BAC reserves the right to request birth or marriage certificates if deemed necessary. In regards to a family membership, should there be any questions of qualification, current VA state law will be applied.”

  12. says

    So does the club require a marriage license for proof that the “husband and wife” are legally married?

    I’ll never understand why those in authority at these places feel the need to discriminate. It just seems like bad business. I’m trying to picture the thought process in the office…Let’s see, we could allow these two guys to have a family membership (and probably no one would be the wiser) or we can deny their membership and generate tons of negative national publicity for our little club.

    Really dumb.

  13. Gregv says

    I live in a progressive neighborhood where no gym would dare create policies valuing some families from the community above others. If I knew my gym was charging more fees to people because of their gender, race or marital status or because their kids are fostered or adopted, I would quit. Who would want to belong to such an organization?

  14. Bob says

    “Why do gay couples continue to live in Virginia and expect to be treated fairly? Are they in a total state of denial?”

    @patrick

    Am I to assume that you have left the United States? Nowhere in this country do we have equality, are you in denial for staying here? Roanoke is a wonderful town, I should know, I actually live here. Does it have problems? Yes, quite a lot in fact, just like everywhere else in this world. Our families are here, our homes are here, our jobs are here. I hope you aren’t saying we should just stop fighting for our rights and abandon the place that many of us love.

  15. BEAHBEAH says

    Thank you Bob. It happens on every story that involves a specific state. “Why do gay people live there? Why don’t they just leave?” Blah blah blah.

    Welcome to the real world, where most people can’t just pick up on a whim and move to another state. And what state are we supposed to go to exactly? Because the vast majority of them have anti-gay laws on the books.

  16. Francis says

    Bob and Beahbeah are obviously in the right here. The goal should be to have the ability to live as openly gay anywhere in America without discrimination, legally and socially. There is homophobia everywhere, now obviously, much less so in WEHO for instance, or Cambridge, San Fran, Manhattan, etc. But just saying “why don’t you move” is extremely short-sighted. There are emotional/familial/friend connections people have with their home cities that they aren’t going to simply give up with the snap of a finger. That doesn’t take into account the obvious many factors that need to be addressed when moving.

    Instead of simply giving up and giving in, we need to fight back, so gay people in Roanoke, Virginia, and in other social conservative areas, can, at the very least, live open lives, without these types of backwards practices.

  17. Francis says

    Bob and Beahbeah are obviously in the right here. The goal should be to have the ability to live as openly gay anywhere in America without discrimination, legally and socially. There is homophobia everywhere, now obviously, much less so in WEHO for instance, or Cambridge, San Fran, Manhattan, etc. But just saying “why don’t you move” is extremely short-sighted. There are emotional/familial/friend connections people have with their home cities that they aren’t going to simply give up with the snap of a finger. That doesn’t take into account the obvious many factors that need to be addressed when moving.

    Instead of simply giving up and giving in, we need to fight back, so gay people in Roanoke, Virginia, and in other social conservative areas, can, at the very least, live open lives, without these types of backwards practices.

  18. Thomas says

    My husband and I also live in Virginia (Hampton Roads area) and are going through with a similar application at a local club. Our experience has been terrific – the club along with its management and board – has recognized that the club’s rules have not kept up with the changes taking place. We had great support through the club in maneuvering the process for us to join a family.

  19. John says

    They should just go find a crossfit box and sign up there. Much better than a ratty old tired gym plus they’ll get better results!

  20. Mark says

    Sorry Bob and Beahbeah, but my partner and i raised 2 children in Roanoke Virginia and it most definitely is NOT a good place for GLBT folks to raise their children. The populatin there is extremely anti gay and overall very proud of their ignorance. We moved to New York, there is no comparison. Living in a state where we are legal vs Virginia? We would never consider moving back to that dreadful place.

  21. says

    My husband and I are looking to move to a state that honors our Massachusetts marriage. That will never happen here in Virginia.
    When DOMA falls, we would be crazy not to move out of Virginia to a place we are free.

  22. amanda says

    They also discriminate against single parents.

    “Family membership includes husband, wife and their children ages 21 and younger living at home.”

  23. Hater says

    Thats great cause I dont want you two pole smokers in my gym while my kids are playing. Stop pretending your a family and by two single memberships.

  24. Hhhhmmmm.... says

    Get over it. I’ll never understand why people want to go where they are not wanted.