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

Dr. Information

This is a technicality issue. Are people with kids and not married considered a family. By their rules, no. I'm sure people lie and I'm sure after this slanted article, people claiming they are a family will now have to prove it by some form of identification.

The way I see it, whomever has the kids gets the family rate. The other one has to pay a single attendance price.

Why are rules so hard to follow.

coyotes1

Does Vally Beach ask for proof of marriage of all couples buying family tickets? Hell no!
Bull****

Dr. Information

I believe they will after this saga. They will have to.

starryeyes83

Like I said, "dating" someone or screwing them doesn't make a family.

Dr. Information

like.

lolsillypeople

ok so we all know and agree there had to be a FEMALE in this whole mix right? well next thing you know the Female would feel she had the right to be on the membership too, because she is the BIOLOGICAL mother of the children, and then her mate should be allowed on it too, it could go on forever. Wjy not just get a family pass for dad and kids and either go as a guest or buy a single pass...Oh that's right then you couldn't go to the paper and flippin cry about your rights

MEM1950

I can't help but wonder if they check marriage certificates for straight couples.

believe it

Over the weekend I had to see a man make out with another man on TV at the NFL draft and continue to see it replayed about everyday, and now I see this article. seriously, what is this world coming to?

Foodforthought

Disgusting. The media is ruining this country along with all the idiots that allow it!

insanity

I have been going there my entire life and they have never knowingly allowed unmarried couples to get a family or couples pass. I know many people who have tried and couldn't. So if you are unmarried and got one, you lied about it! She said if Ohio starts allowing gay marriage, she will revisit it then. They have the right, it is a private club!!

Heroin_County419

I'm close with their son and by no means does he have the same values as his parents. He is his own individual... As far as people being born gay, that's a croc. Danny wouldnt have kids if he were born gay.

life of a parent

Who would "choose" to be gay and deal with all this? That doesn't make sense.

starryeyes83

Ah, but it was their CHOICE to take it to the paper and whine about it. Why didn't they just pay the extra fee like other people would?

KindofKick

If someone isn't born gay, then please tell me when did you choose to be straight?

neo.rr.com

I don't know what's better... the fact that Valley Beach charges a "family" that much to swim in a cement-bottomed pond, or how sad some of the people are that post on here (clearly the latter). Just because they are gay doesn't make them not people and that does not give you or anyone else the right to treat them differently. If Valley Beach won't give them a family rate then that's their choice... its doesn't technically follow their posted rules (even though they let other non married heterosexual couples with children in under this pass... I guess you can say these gay men have morals and won't lie like a heterosexual couple?) but for some of the comments on here about a person because of another PERSON that they love is just pathetic.

believe it

Oh, so it's ok for you to tell me I'm not allowed to disagree with gay couples but it's not ok for me to tell you that I disagree with it? Double standard.

neo.rr.com

Uh nah bro. I'm saying people on here are treating gay people as if they are some sort of plague (and please people don't even start by saying they are). They are people! Every person deserves to be treated equally. Again as I said before if Valley Beach wants to do their memberships this way that's their choice... I don't agree with it... but there's no reason to be damning people to hell... this is the Norwalk Reflector website after all.

And for you... I was gonna let you go so since I figured it wasn't worth my time since you apparently never figured out how to change the channel on your tv.

believe it

Lol..."And for you"...such a tough guy. The kiss of Michael Sam and his boyfriend is being shown all over TV, not just ESPN. It's really getting disgusting.

And if they want to be treated equally, then get married and then they can get the membership. How hard is that to figure out?

neo.rr.com

And for the third time (track with me Slow-Mo) my point is not about the trash hole Valley Beach... it's about treating people like second rate citizens because of who they love.

And I'm sorry you think two men hugging and kissing is disgusting... I would think you should be more disgusted that tv shows have people getting raped, and people getting their heads blown off at point blank. But ya know... it's just gross that people kiss. Yuck.

believe it

Men and women are meant to get married and be together, not men and men. Case closed.

neo.rr.com

Says who? I say a person who loves another person should be able to marry them as long as they are two legal consenting parties.

believe it

Well God created a man and a woman, not two of the same. Pretty simple.

neo.rr.com

God also said to love one another and love thy neighbor as thyself. Pretty simple. #BelieveIt

believe it

So love thy neighbor as thyself means to love another person of the same gender? I love my neighbors, just don't agree with homosexuality. If God wanted us to be with the same gender, he wouldn't have created a man and a woman and stopped there.

ladydye_5

That is only if you believe that GOD was creator of everything. There are other options ya know. And without your bible, what other research or information do you have to support your statement?

thirtysomething

The fact is that they aren't being treated any differently. Unmarried couples are all required to buy two single memberships.

lolsillypeople

yes krissy stated they do have same sex couples who are members, so they are NOT being treated different....FACTS are FACTS

Wildbunch3

I hope every single person that has a "family" membership is asked to provide a copy of their marriage certificate. If they can't prove this then they better be treated the same as this family! I have a feeling Valley Beach is gonna have a mess on their hands by denying them a family membership.

beernsmokes2's picture
beernsmokes2

Yea, they should have just lied to begin with like all the other unmarried couples and this wouldn't even be an issue...

Heroin_County419

I'm close with their son and by no means does he have the same values as his parents. He is his own individual... As far as people being born gay, that's a croc. Danny wouldnt have kids if he were born gay.

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