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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dallas Gym Says No Family Memberships for Same-Sex Couples

By Michael A. Jones -

Everyone likes a workout partner, especially if that partner is the love of your life. After all, what better way is there to end the day than running on a treadmill next to your wife, husband, or partner, catching up on life while collectively getting in better shape?
It's just a shame that one Dallas-based gym has to rain on everyone's parade. That's because the Tom Landry Fitness Center, run by the Baylor Health Care System, won't allow same-sex couples to enroll in the gym under what's known as a family membership. Doesn't matter if the couple involved has been together for five years or 45 years; if you're an LGBT family, you won't be recognized by the Tom Landry Gym.
And that has one Dallas resident fighting back, and fighting back hard.
Alan Rodriguez moved to Dallas with his partner of 10 years, and the two of them planned to join the Tom Landry Fitness Center. But when they inquired about a family membership, representatives with the gym told them no. For the gym, and for the Baylor Health Care System, family is defined as "one man and one woman."
That now has Rodriguez saying that he plans to file a discrimination complaint with the city of Dallas. If he does, it will be the second complaint filed against Tom Landry Fitness Center and the Baylor Health Care System for discriminating against same-sex couples.
"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,’” Rodriguez said in a letter obtained by the Dallas Voice's Instant Tea. "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.”
For real. And what a rough month for Dallas. You've got the Dallas Morning News refusing to consider same-sex weddings real marriages, and now a Dallas gym refusing to consider same-sex partners family.
Last year, after the first complaint against the gym was filed, a spokesperson for Baylor Health Care System told the Dallas Voice that the company would be revisiting their corporate definition of the word family.
“Were going to look and see about that policy, what it says, and then I’m not sure what we’re going to do next,” said Jennifer Coleman, a Senior Vice President for Consumer Affairs. “I can’t commit to changing it, because that’s not a decision for me to make, but something for us to look into. It’s unfortunate that this thing came up this way, but I can commit [that] we’ll sure look into it.”
That was a year ago. Either they take a really long time to look into things at Baylor, or else they've looked into it, and decided that same-sex couples aren't really considered families. Either is unacceptable.
Send Baylor and the Tom Landry Fitness Center a message that their definition of family is inadequate, discriminatory, and needs to change.

petition text -

Allow same-sex couples to access family membership plans

Dear Ms. Coleman and Mr. Tyne,

I recently became aware that Baylor's Tom Landry Fitness Center does not allow same-sex couples to purchase family membership plans, whether those couples have been together five years or 45 years. This is deeply disturbing to me, and I'd like to urge Baylor's Tom Landry Fitness Center to update its policies and respect the families of LGBT residents in Dallas.

According to this article in the Dallas Voice (, yet another couple was told by Baylor staff that they were ineligible for a family membership because their same-sex relationship (of ten years) doesn't constitute a family. In practice, this policy amounts to nothing more than discrimination, which not only requires same-sex couples to pay more, but treats their relationships with little dignity or respect.

I urge you to change this policy. It's discriminatory, out of date, and not representative of the diversity in the Dallas community.

Thanks for your time.

[Your name here] 


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