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Thursday April 24th 2014

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SAME-GENDER MEMBERSHIPS

The local YMCA’s opposition to family memberships for same-gender couples has created a tiff between the organization and gay rights groups.

Doug Landreth, Gay Grassroots president of Northwest Florida, says it was brought to his attention recently after a member was rudely told by YMCA staff at the Downtown Branch that they could not enroll in a family membership with their life partner.

“They were not only told ‘no,’ but rather forcefully ‘no,’” he says.

According to YMCA national spokesperson Katie Devine, the organization “operates independently and therefore has individual policies.”

The Northwest Florida YMCA states on its website that “Family Memberships are offered to husband and wife in a marriage recognized by the State of Florida and all dependent children.”

Landreth says it’s disappointing because most private gyms honor same-gender family rates, including many YMCAs in Florida.

“Some in Florida have taken this approach, but the vast majority has not. We are researching where it stands in Florida and then trying to formulate some type of strategic same-gender recognition under their plan.”