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

In my opinon

@Jackel..when you start a sentence with "I know several gay people" you are trying to convience people you are not homophobic, Do you go to any sports games ..I have seen players pat each other on the butt and bop each other in the crotch, throw themselves ontop of each other. I have lived in my house 40 years and GEE I have never seen a gay person grab their crotch or anyone else's while sitting on my porch. Have you???

ladydye_5

Who "birthed" the children. So even if you are married and ADOPT, are they not your children, because your wife didn't BIRTH them? I have seen same sex couples that are better parents than MANY "traditional" couples.

starryeyes83

Does it give them the right to come to the paper and misrepresent themselves? The boyfriend doesn't have legal rights (dating) therefore, "they" don't have children.

TrollingMotors

So adopted kids are not part of families?

Good Wal-Mart Logic!

starryeyes83

These kids aren't adopted. Read the last names.

who cares about wal mart?

simply me

She's a liar. My cousin has a membership there with her two children, her, and her fiance. They are UNMARRIED, living on the same household and are on the same membership. Liesssss

Bobcat13

yes.....she is a liar!!! we had a "family" membership there for years before we were married!!!

truckin

You'all are forgetting..
You probably lied about it at the time..
Everyone wants something extra for nothing..

TrollingMotors

What? You know what people said when you were not there?

Good job on your assumptions, Im sure you have solved all the cases Captn Obvious, If only the issues in your life were as easy to solve.

all fact or all...

@trolling...You now what they say about people who ASSUME? LOL

mayberrygazette

*you-all or
*y'all

starryeyes83

No hyphen.

starryeyes83

did you tote your another g/f or b/f with you and say you had children with them too? Or did you and your S/o have kids together? There's the difference.

Just askin'.

starryeyes83

So then you lied to get a family pass.

jstus2001

KUDOS to the "CLUB" they are private and therefore have a "right to refuse service to anyone" who is not a member. Will the Clippers owner be a "MEMBER" of THAT elite club in the future...guess not because of thier "Policy". Why would it be different here?

humpty_dumpty

ISNT it sad how this countrys lost its morals.Whats next people marrying animals. Its lost its morals its lost its freedom of speech .

If i owned a beach i wouldnt allow SICKOS a membership neither!

Bobcat13

what's sad is simpletons like yourself who think they are "allowed" to tell someone who they are permitted to love!

life of a parent

Well said

Lawyerintraining

Amen!!!!! And agreed

Truth2u

Whats sad is you have no absolutes to base your morals or beliefs on, Bobcat13. ABSOLUTES, something you obviously don't know anything about or you wouldn't have posted such a ridiculous statement.

Whats next Bob, if they love a child can they have sex with them too? Its obvious your ignorant to the fact that its been on their agenda for many years. Note that I didn't say this 'couple' is going to have sex with this kid, don't twist my words, I'm speaking of the 'gay' community in general. You fail to see the real agenda's and fail to see that we the majority have the moral duty to stand up against this unnatural behavior. And your post seems to indicate you have a much deeper reason to post than to just stick up for the gay community...

After this 'tolerant' act there will be no limits or restrictions to immorality, nothing will be off limits. Since you called us simpletons, I think its only fair to say your pathetically ignorant and possibly immoral as well if you can't see the dangers of such acceptance.

Bobcat13

As a proud Christian with a firm faith and as the mother of a gay young man who has NEVER experienced hate in this small Ohio town, I hope you can eventually come to understand that your "slippery Slope" theory holds no weight. Homosexuality is a genetic trait, not a choice. There have always been gay men and women and there will be other gay men and women in the future.

I taught my three beautiful children what I believe to be upstanding morals. In no way did my son's coming out change ANYTHING I had instilled in him, nor did it change my love for him. He remains the same driven, focused and loving human man I raised him to be. They are my children, my life, and I will accept them (and any other person who identifies as LGBT.

I am familiar with the term absolute. I also know that in no way should one live their life based on absolutes. Everyone is different not only in their sexuality but also in their beliefs, values and customs. In no way can our diverse world function or grown if we do not accept those who are different from us. In no way can we progress as a species if we continue this hate.

Truth2u, please know I mean no disrespect in my reply to you. I think you simply fail to see that our society is changing and growing much like it has since God created this planet we call home.

Furthermore, there is no gay agenda...at least I have yet to see my son invited to a "gay agenda meeting." Gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, or however anyone chooses to identify, by accepting those who are different we live out the Lord's one mission; Love.

I found your comment insulting and too be honest the rhetoric you use makes me somewhat nervous for anyone raising a gay child in this lovely city. Furthermore, I found your comparison of gay acceptance to child molestation repulsive. And this "moral duty" you speak of that the "majority" must "stand up against this unnatural behavior," holds no water. This country is changing and now beginning to understand acceptance of LGBT individuals will not lead to the drastic conclusions you have come to.

Truth2u I hope you read these words and consider them. I'm simply asking you consider, not to accept. Acceptance takes time, but love...love is very easy to practice.

God Bless

ISPSP

^^ Bobcat!

In my opinon

@Bobcat...What a beautiful tribute to your son..And how lucky his is to have you for his mother. My wife read your comment and had to stop and get a tissue. Most likely we will know someone who is gay, straight, etc. I think maybe some of these posters may have already and wish it would go away but, as you said it's genetic. Surely God has blessed you for being their for you son.

starryeyes83

Love or screw?

If you're dating a person, how does that make them a family?

life of a parent

I believe that was the entire point. Straight people can date and have a family membership, but a gay couple cannot?!?! Strange.

starryeyes83

MY point is: gay or straight "Dating" doesn't make anyone family.

betrump

All your rants about gays, and your point was 'dating doesn't make anyone a family"? SMH...

starryeyes83

shacking up and screwing after dating two weeks isn't love.

truckin

I am with ya..
as far as the next comment.. who has the right to tell someone who to love?
..
Then let's not stop there, animals, multiple wives, family keen, etc..

WATCHED_1s

Totally agree with you! I'm tired of this gay rights $h!T. Stay in the closet! I would like grandchildren some day so therefore I don't want my children growing up thinking this is ok in our society. If everyone thought it was ok to be gay and acted on it, they would ruin the human race as we know it.

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