Gay couple with two children denied family membership at Valley Beach Park

Family membership for married couples only at Norwalk swim park.
Cary Ashby
May 12, 2014

Norwalk native Jeffrey Taylor wasn’t denied a membership to Valley Beach Park.

However, the club is prohibiting the gay man from having a family membership with his partner, Daniel Story, even though they have two children.

“My family typically (has gone) there every summer since I was a little kid,” said Taylor, who is 23 years old. “I remember being there when I was really young.”

Taylor isn’t legally married, but is dating Daniel Story, who has two children. 

On Tuesday, Taylor inquired about membership prices at Valley Beach Park via Facebook. In a correspondence with owner Kris Maitland, Taylor asked if a “same-sex couple with two children” qualified as a family membership.

“A family is considered a husband, wife and up to three children,” Taylor said about Valley Beach’s response.

Taylor said he considers the membership policy unfair since he knows people who aren’t married yet have children together.

“We cannot consider that a family membership price,” Maitland told the Reflector about Taylor’s situation.

“A family is a husband, wife and three children under the age of 19. Family members can have up to five members,” she said when asked how Valley Beach defines a family.

If a family has more than five people, they are charged $20 per extra person. The standard family price is $255.

Maitland was asked if Valley Beach ever would be willing to change its policy on what’s considered families since there are many same-sex couples and families with unmarried parents.

“I just don’t have an answer for that,” she said.

However, Maitland added: “We might consider it, if Ohio considers it,” but she said if in that case, it doesn’t mean Valley Park would be required to change its policies since it’s privately owned.

Valley Beach, a self-declared “private Catholic swim club,” is in its 50th year of operation. The club is located at 2980 S. Ohio 61 outside of Norwalk.

Maitland was asked if she recognized Taylor’s name or his family.

“I just have his name from the Facebook messages,” she said.

Taylor, after discussing the situation with Maitland, said he initially was going to Valley Beach as a guest, but he has decided not to apply for membership.

“They lost all my business and my family’s business,” said Taylor, whose older brother has a child with his girlfriend. “None of them are happy.”

“We’re considering going to the (Norwalk) rec center because their family membership is considered your household,” he added.

When Taylor lived with his grandparents, he said he was allowed to go to the recreation center under their membership. He said he tries to support local businesses instead of going to corporate water parks or Cedar Point.

When was asked what he wants to see Valley Beach do, Taylor said he wants them to be more cooperative tolerant, especially since family units aren’t what they were decades ago.

Maitland stressed that in Taylor’s situation, “nobody was denied membership to Valley Beach.” The owner said the only time anyone is asked to leave or is refused membership is if they “get out of hand,” act obnoxiously or in a non-family-friendly manner.
Valley Beach doesn’t sell couple memberships, Maitland said.

If a man were living in an apartment or house with someone, Maitland said that man would have to buy a single membership — as would an unmarried man living with a woman who has children. In that case, she said the mother could have a family membership because she has children while the man would need to buy a single membership.

Valley Beach’s current policy is consistent with what the club has done in the past, Maitland said.

“This isn’t the first case of this. This is the first case that went boo-hoo about it,” she added.

The owner stressed that Valley Beach treats every member equally and with respect, regardless of their living or marriage situation.

"We have plenty of same-sex people,” Maitland said. “We treat them like anyone else.”

* * *
Here is the full Facebook correspondence between gay Norwalk resident Jeffrey Taylor and Kris Maitland, owner of Valley Beach Park, about a family membership. Each response remains unedited for spelling or punctuation.
Taylor: How much are memberships for a family of 4?
Maitland: A family of Husband, Wife & up to 3 of their children under the age of 19 is $265. If you have more than 5 in your family there will be an additional $20 charge per extra. Please let me know if you need anymore info.
Taylor: Ok. I just seen on your facebook where it says $255. Now what about same sex couple with two children? Do they qualify for a family membership?
Maitland: Im sorry, we do not consider that for our family membership. We will not deny you a membership, we do welcome everyone at Valley Beach, however the membership cannot be sold as a family. Are the children yours, his or both?
Taylor: So if we are legally married in another state and the law that requires Ohio to recognize same sex marriages would not qualify us as a family?
Maitland: No, we are a private Catholic swim club.

Comments

sooooomad

Its people like you that make assumptions about everyone that make things hard. Here let me put myself on blast for a moment because I dont have a problem with my life. I DO NOT support any person who harms another physically or emotionally. I could care less how gay or straight anyone else is because its not my business. I dont care if people deny these unmarried gay men a family membership, I only think they should deny unmarried straight couples the same. I dont follow the bible because I dont think its right to pick and choose which passages to follow and I think others shouldn't judge because its not their job. Most of my thoughts probably arent agreed with on a daily basis but I still take the time to learn the facts before I speak my mind and ALWAYS stand up fir what I believe in. I use to be married to a catholic man who violated the sanctity of our marriage. But I didnt judge him. I handled the facts, made my decisions and we still get along to this day. I am now in a happily committed relationship with a woman. If we decide to have children I will choose to carry her egg. And the father will have no legal rights, just as Iwont. But you can bet your sweet ass no one is going to make me believe that a baby I birth wont be mine!! People can talk all they want but love is what makes a family and its not up to any of us to decide whether it is right or wrong.
Hi kettle im pot the only difference between our handles is that criticize mine for being different while I just offer a point of view that may allow you to see why one handle wont work for all. But I dont judge your fit in the process.

theunknownmessanger

so "you'll carry the egg and the father will have no rights"!? its ignorant lesbians like yourself that gives the rest of the gay community a bad name. let me ask you this. how is that fair to any child? what if this child wants a father? your child might not be a man hating burly lesbian. every child deserves a mother and a father, even if one of them is gay. period. man hating or woman hating gay couples shouldn't have children the same way some straight people shouldn't have kids. i believe kids in those environments are raised with the same hate beliefs, and are robbed of their childhoods and choices to be who they are and who they want to be...every child should be given the opportunity to have parents of each gender

sooooomad

Ignorant: this means lacking knowledge on a particular subject. Since im sure you dont want to be ignorant let me fill you in.
A sperm donor has no rights and they understand that when they donate.
and as for children not having a parent, how is that any different from all the men and women out there who abandon their children? There are a number of circumstances in life that do not allow children to have both a mother and father. That does not make them loved any less.
Who said anything about man or woman hating?
If a man and woman can raise a gay child why can two gay women or men not raise a perfectly happy, non hating straight child?
People assume the craziest things!!!!
As for the "burly lesbian" comment....... lets not be stereotyping. No one actually believes me when I tell them I have a g/f. Just like straight people we come in all shapes and sizes.

starryeyes83

Check your facts: sperm donors are going after rights everyday. Just as are birth parents who give their kids up for adoptions. You missed those news stories.

starryeyes83

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

rbenn

If I was VB I would sue the reflector for an utterly false story. Sensationalism instead of journalism. These 2 attention seekers are causing a stink over nothing. They were not denied a membership period! How about these two sweetboys go after freedom valley for discrimination for not allowing children? Of course they won't cause that wouldn't be news.

sooooomad

Can u people read? No one is saying vb denied them a membership. Vb sn't saying they did and the boys arent saying they did. The arguement is that vb gives .memberships to unmarried couples, unless they are gay because that is not what they choose to recognize as a family.

the very truth

Let's start by saying.I had a membership there years ago not married with my kids and their father. We personally knew them, they were aware of our unmarried relationship.I was also allowed a family pass with my live in boyfriend years later with my children.again they know me, they were aware. A family pass.just to be clear.vb owners are not morally sound. They drink daily,they use illegal drugs,they Do not go to church.they are simply just "those" kind of people. They did not recognize this family as what they are based on their own small mindedness.this family lives under the same roof,that beautiful little girl in the picture is loved by many and was conceived with a surrogate mother.and as anyone knows if Danny should die he can make arrangements with anyone to take that little girl before the event happens that would include his partner. Something I recommend to any one with children. I am a professional person with a college education in this community. I pay my taxes,abide by the laws and work a full time job. My children are grown.with that being said I have lived against the common belief in this town. I have dated African American people, Hispanic people and have at times opted to not be legally married.I was allowed a family pass because I have not dated a person of the same sex. That is the very truth. They were denied the right to be recognized a family because these people do not accept same sex relationships.they do not have the right to discriminate against someone based on their sexual status.I would rather sit next to a gay couple playing with their girls than next to a drunk couple cussing and falling down regardless of what they do in their bed room.believe it or not it's just simply non of my buisness what consenting adults do.

the very truth

And my family is Catholic. They do not recognize second marriages. You have to apply to the pope for the first marriage abolished. Divorce is a sin in that religion.as well as sex before marriage. Js

CrankyBalls

It's the diocesan bishop, not the pope who annuls a marriage.

Gdusty86

The new Pope embraces all people .He is a good man ,yes even gays .

TheGravyWhisperer

...mmmm ...looks like this article needled more than a few nerves...

togbert71

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Remarks that discriminate based on age, race, religion, disability, etc..

JMOP

Congratulations Mr. Ashby, you got a lot of comments for some little tattle tales that got upset for someone not accepting their definition of a family swimming pass.

Gay couples, get use to it. Life ain't fair, gay or straight.

Gdusty86

Leave them alone ,they just want to be a family ,bullies .....haters on here but stand by their fine Christian values. , We all answer to God ,we are not supposed to hate ,if we love others we are considered a liberal , I'm glad I don't support either party . Look around Norwalk. The world has all types of people all colors and denominations ,I think you should be more concerned with your unemployment and heroin problem .These people just wanted a day at the beach .

starryeyes83

Which god? There are many. Or none. depends on what you believe.

the very truth

I believe they said Catholic. Vb anyways. Who are going to he'll according to their beliefs for having a child out of wedlock and living in sin.js

Gdusty86

There is only one God .

Lawyerintraining

Amen to that gdusty86

starryeyes83

Native Americans would be startled to hear that.

the very truth

I am

ladydye_5

In YOUR religion there is one god.

starryeyes83

Life isn't fair for elderly, or disabled, or single people who aren't attached. Unfair for people who don't have kids. Unfair for most of us for many different reasons. Unfair for people who lose their jobs. Do all of us cry and whine to a paper?

Now I'm wondering if the story was due to an some type of vendetta against VB.

the very truth

That's illegal also silly you cannot discriminate and the list is provided race,color,gender ,creed,religious preference.....yeah you remember it.

the very truth

You all ignore the people saying they were allowed family passes and zone in on that they complained about it.well your cousins should of never bred.you wouldn't be here to complain about somethin that doesn't even concern you. It didn't happen to you, you don't own the business so you stop boo hooing about it.you don't like gay and lesbians great I am sure they don't like you either. They are entitled to use a business if they want.this is their issue you opted to get involved and then criticize them for saying anything. Who in the he'll asked you for your backward opinion

mojorising

The reflector and this top notch field reporter are ultimately winning because we keep commenting on this. I realized I just contributed to this nonsense. Now I feel dumb.

starryeyes83

Yep , the more I read this the more it was done as a set-up.

Those two guys had no intentions of ever buying a membership. They were out to discredit the business.

The FB questions were too damn contrived.

thirtysomething

agreed

mojorising

Comments and site visits=$. Controversial articles about controversial topics create more $ to a dying industry aka local journalism.

Big Poppy

Get over it! My girlfriend and I tried to get a family pass and was told the same thing! So quit trying to get people to feel sorry for you being a catcher!!!

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