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

betrump

"Catholic" swim club? Whatever. Catholic, by the way, means "Universal."

truckin

I just bet there is a 12 yr.old real embarrassed about all this.
All for what? a $20 savings?
There NOT a family PERIOD!
They may feel, but feelings don't get discounts

shovelhead

You are absolutely correct. The Maitland's are good people & the reporter of this garbage is the culprit. Obviously, the owner's are not going to check marriage license's when you pay you're membership, but it's a pretty big RED FLAG when two dudes show up to get a family discount. NOBODY IS DENYING THESE PEOPLE MEMBERSHIP. I wonder how certain reporters sleep at night when they try to manufacture "BUZZ" at other people's expense. Go ahead & ensure that another struggling local business has a bad year. These people employ 15 of our youth for the summer. Nice job. "Colored journalism" at it's best in my opinion.

What would be the difference if 2 divorced father's that were neighbor's tried to get a "family" discount for their kids every other weekend? Nothing. They can't do it because they are not married. But because they don't sleep together, nobody cares. If gay people want to "belong" or "be treated normally", then they need to simply follow the rules that we all have to. Don't go & cry to the reporter when you don't get what you want, little kids.

truckin

Sorry but the gay women, which have been more visible for more years, have never whined/worried/ or provoked about this.....
but leave to a couple guys who like guys..
but we don't want to talk about stereotype

Lawyerintraining

No she's not embarrassed AT ALL!!! because she sees her parents love her,her sister and each other as any family would be.... her parents sit and watch the sports she is in and cheer her all the way...if anything she's look at most of you adults and is thinking how immature YOU ARE!!! what gets me is a good 70% of these comments are from NEW BLOGGERS on here just to respond on this article..and once this story is gone they will be too...

truckin

how would this child know "as any family would be"?

new bloggers???? or in the shadow bloggers?
many do not like, approve or want the alternative lifestyle shoved in the face for the pure reason to get "special" favors/discounts.
Many masses are emerging everyday, if nothing more than.. to ask..
What country do i live it? don't even recognize it anymore. etc. etc.

all fact or all...

@truckin.. It's a country who is coming out of the midevil days and letting everyone have rights not just you. Really their are people who think different than you. It's freedom of choice.

starryeyes83

What freedom do these kids have when they don't have a choice about having a mother ? Really is that improving on nature?
The reverse is also true.

What choice do the kids have?

What are you going to tell the kid when they are old enough?

In my opinon

@starry...You could ask that question if you knew these people. She does have a mother and father and they are BOTH there to watch her play her sport. Now she has another supporter with her fathers friend. She most likely understands and excepts this reality more than you. Her mother and father maintain a good relationship, better than most divorced heterosexual couples I know..

JudgeMeNot

When did it become okay to despise people who have an opinion on traditional marriage values?

starryeyes83

New bloggers? Technically, I'm not a blogger but I am a commentator; I don't write a "blog" and I've posting on here several years.

Contango

Re: "All for what? a $20 savings?"

As is said:

When they say “it's not the money, its the principle”, it's the money.

ISPSP

I've read your comments for quite some time. You seem to always stand on "your principles".... Why is it you begrudge other people standing on their principles?

Contango

@ ISPSP:

Read the exchange again. Mr. Taylor asked about the discount first and then when that was not forthcoming argued VBP's definition of family.

So if Mr. Taylor received the discount, would the issue of whether or not they were a "family" remain?

I think not.

JACKEL

Agree !

AthenaAxiom

Embarrassed at the small town views making their Dads feel like second class citizens? Likely.

rbenn

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

truckin

Excellent point

freespeech1

seems if freespeech isn't so free here at the rejecter, they suspended rbenns account.

truckin

Yaa.. wow nothing even spoke in anger, but in mere everyday facts..
Free speech is out the door if the truth hurts someone's feelings..
The truth must have hit a nerve.

freespeech1

yes it did, but what does this paper know about truth

Lawyerintraining

Did they just remove it or suspend..because I pay for this account instead of receiving the paper I choose on line...but agreed not happy with the St Paul reflector either

freespeech1

Suspended

mayberrygazette

*really
*they're

starryeyes83

So who carried and birthed " their " children?

Every kid needs a mother (female) and a father .... that's just the way nature is.

This "modern" way is novel now, but wait in twenty years when the shit hits the fan.

Bobcat13

what does it matter who "birthed" their children??? I know a lot of men that parent much better than some of these so called mothers running the streets of this town!! and really crap is already hitting the fan because these kids these days don't have proper parenting to begin with!

starryeyes83

Pretty sure the men didn't give birth or maybe that's next on the agenda. Yep, there' s a lot of bad mothers out there and a lot of bad fathers... it's not going to get better with same sex couples. Anyone who thinks that is just crazy.

What are the guys called ? Mom and Dad? As I said wait in twenty years for the stuff to hit the fan with this new modern way. It won' the any better tan with traditional families. It will be much worse.

truckin

@what does it matter who?
forget it, i am just not going to comment except for the fact...
Great job Valley.. now i don't have to subject my kids to seeing the act of men kissing at a "family" park.
Because we all know they will if only for the pure reaction effect.
Such drama queens in my opinion.

CrankyBalls

truckin, who are you kidding? You're probably just afraid you might get turned on watching these guys at the pool.

truckin

creative come back..so original

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