An athletic club in Virginia announced Thursday that it is changing its policy to allow same-sex couples to apply for its family membership discount. The policy change was made after it was sued by a gay couple for discrimination.
The change in membership guidelines, which are effective immediately, was announced on Roanoke Athletic Club's Facebook page.
"[I]n recognition of the many contemporary households that can benefit from our facilities through discounted membership fees, we are pleased to announce that we have expanded our Family Membership into a new Household Membership," the gym, owned by Carilion Clinic, stated.
Under the new policy, the gym defines "household" as consisting of "a primary member and up to one additional household member that permanently lives in the household, and any of their dependent children under the age of 22 who also reside in the household on a permanent basis."
Under its "family membership" guidelines, family was defined as "husband, wife and their children ages 21 and younger living at home."
The athletic club was facing a lawsuit by local real estate agent Will Trinkle, who is in a same-sex partnership with Juan Granados. They have a 2-year-old son.
Trinkle applied for a family membership in May so that his son could use the pool, which was only open to children on such a membership. More than a week after being accepted, he was then notified that the club had made a mistake. He claims in his suit that a club employee cited Virginia state law which does not recognize same-sex marriage.
The gay couple has claimed a breach of contract and a violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
A petition was launched on Change.org in support of the couple. More than 99,800 people have signed it.
Following public outcry and the lawsuit, the athletic club is now offering the same family services and discount to same-sex households.