Monday, January 12, 2009

Minnesota Court Affirms Rochester Health Club Did Not Discriminate Against a Same-Sex Couple

athletic club No Family Membership for Gay Rochester Couple

by Pat Pheifer, Star Tribune

The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed a ruling by an Olmsted County judge that the Rochester Athletic Club (RAC) did not discriminate against a lesbian couple when it denied them a family membership.

Amy and Sarah Monson, a same-sex couple raising a daughter together, sued the club and its president and CEO, John Remick, in 2007, claiming the RAC discriminated against them based on their sexual orientation, a violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

The club said it simply was following its policy to provide family rates only to married couples.

In November 2007, Olmsted County District Judge Kevin Lund granted summary judgment to Remick and the RAC, saying that the Monsons couldn't prove that heterosexual unmarried couples were treated any differently than same-sex unmarried couples.

The Monsons and the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota in a friend-of-the-court brief argued at the Appeals Court that the lower court's analysis was legally flawed because it compared the Monsons to unmarried heterosexual couples rather than to all heterosexual couples. They asserted that because same-sex couples can't legally marry in Minnesota, only heterosexual couples can qualify for family memberships.

Gregory Griffiths, an attorney for the RAC, said at the time of the lower court's decision that the court upheld his argument that the issue was not up to the courts but rather to the Legislature to change the statute.

Phil Duran, an attorney with Outfront Minnesota, who has helped represent the Monsons, said Tuesday that he is disappointed but not surprised by the Appeals Court ruling.

"We have been aware since the case was filed in 2007 that in many respects, it hinged on questions regarding technical aspects of the Minnesota Human Rights Act which might ultimately have to be resolved by the Minnesota Supreme Court."

[Read entire Article here]


  1. This is why the law can not allow people of the same sex to be married to each other. If they were, then this couple would have gotten a membership as a family which would then have been a false witness to the "goodness" of such a lifestyle. The company would have been recognising and affirming a lifestyle which is not healthy.

  2. If they want to participate in a club, there are other clubs in the area. Why try to force this club into submission? Is the discount worth it?

  3. They tried to force the club to give them a family rate just for the politics and publicity. I'm sure the "couple" could care less about which gym they go to, they merely found one they could sue and try to get some recognition and money out of.

  4. I pleased that the courts made the right decision this time.

  5. Yes! It is so encouraging to see some good news for once. Kudos to the Minnesota Court of Appeals!

  6. It is a rare and welcome find! Thank Goodness for flyover country! Somehow they figured out how to keep their judges sane.


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