Ohio lesbian couple refused family pass to rec center

BY admin

April 29 2005 12:00 AM ET

A lesbian couple in Mason, Ohio, say a community recreation center's refusal to sell them a
family pass because they aren't married is discriminatory. Heather Scott, 33, and Carrie Scott, 40, applied for the family pass for themselves and Heather Scott's three children, who live with them, and were told they don't meet the city's definition of a married couple. "We're no different than anyone else," said Carrie Scott, Heather's partner and the children's stepmother since the women's civil union ceremony in Vermont in 2002. "Our family is the same as the one across the street. It's a little
different makeup, but we deserve the same as everyone else."

City law director Ken Schneider said the taxpayer-financed Mason Community Center's policy is not discriminatory. The center offers family memberships to married couples or single adults and
any children residing in the same household and claimed on their most recent federal income tax return. Mason officials say the policy, in place since the center opened in 2003, isn't intended to bar same-sex partners. They say they just wanted to find a definition of family and decided the federal standard was the best. "We were just trying to put our arms around it," said Michael Hecker,
director of the parks and recreation department in this city, which is located 20 miles northeast of Cincinnati. "We just didn't want to be taken advantage of by 10 people who don't live together."

Mason officials say the Scotts can still be members of the center but that they must get an individual membership for Carrie. Annual family passes cost $525 a year for residents. A separate membership for Carrie would cost an extra $335. (AP)

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