Standing Up Against Discrimination in Texas and the UK

26 Jan

More cases of discrimination are coming forward in the US and abroad. It’s cases like these which set precedents to protect LGBT families everywhere.

Last May, according to the Dallas Voice, a discrimination complaint was filed against Baylor, Texas’ Tom Landry Fitness Center, which has a stated policy of refusing family memberships to same-sex couples. That complaint was withdrawn when the couple that filed it was told the city’s non-discrimination ordinance may not apply to the private club.

Now, after moving to Dallas with his partner of ten years, Alan Rodriguez has filed a complaint after being told by a director of the Tom Landry Fitness Center that its owner, The Baylor Health Care System defines family as “one man and one woman.” Rodriguez, who moved to Dallas partly because of the city’s non-discrimination ordinance, wrote a letter to a Baylor executive, stating:

“It is clear Baylor has taken the position to discriminate against gay people with respect to family gym membership. It is also clear Baylor has a regimented policy excluding domestic partners from the definition of ‘family,’…Therefore, I must conclude your organization also believes it lawful to discriminate against gay people regarding other medical services. Clearly, your organization considers this policy a legal form of discrimination. It remains unclear the extent to which this policy permeates all Baylor operations. Such draconian and bigoted practices are unthinkable in 2011.”

While this may be an uphill battle considering the possible limitations of the city ordinance, Rodriguez is doing the right thing by telling his story and challenging the bigoted policy of the club.

And it looks like a copycat case is coming out of the UK when it comes to the recent decision regarding the gay couple who was denied a single room in a bed & breakfast. As we reported here earlier, a judge found that owners of bed and breakfasts are not immune to the country’s non-discrimination law.

According to the Daily Mail, Michael Black, 63, and John Morgan, 58, are claiming sexual discrimination after being turned away from Swiss B&B in Cookham, Berkshire, last March. Their case follows that of Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy, who won £3,600 damages from the owners of a Cornish guesthouse last week for refusing them a double room.

The owner of the bed and breakfast, Suzanne Wilkinson, allegedly told the couple who has been together for seven years, ‘it is against my convictions for two men to share a bed’, adding ‘this is my private home’.

Mr. Black told the Daily Mail:
‘We’re not trying to stop anyone from observing their beliefs but to make it clear that their beliefs should not conflict with the discrimination laws in this country. If anyone thinks that providing a public service may conflict with their religious beliefs they should question whether that is a suitable business for them.’
Many civil rights battles have been won in this country and around the world via the court system. Continuing this fight through out judiciary is not only smart, but as history has shown, effective.
Best of luck to these men standing up for equality!

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