tyler, texas

A lesbian couple in Tyler, Texas has been denied a family membership to the Tyler YMCA because they’re not considered a ‘traditional’ family and could not produce a marriage certificate. They may never be able to produce a marriage certificate because same-sex marriages are not allowed in Texas. Previously, Suzy Sheridan, her life partner and son were allowed to join the Tyler YMCA, but only because he was on the swim team. Now that their son is 20 years old, the YMCA refuses to let them join as a family. The couple also takes care of another child as well.

In the age of social media protest, Sheridan started a Change.org petition, which has so far received over 7,000 signatures:

The Tyler YMCA has discriminated against my family and denied letting us join under the family plan because we are not a traditional family. My life partner and I have been together for over twenty years and have a 20-year-old son. We also assist another young man who has lived with us nearly two years. I was told I would have to produce a marriage certificate before they would let us join under the family plan. I told them that was not possible since I live in Texas and our long time relationship was not recognized in this state. I told them that I felt they were being discriminatory.

What’s ironic is that they didn’t have a problem letting us join under the family plan when our son swam on their swim team 10 years ago. I feel they should have a policy across the board for all their facilities allowing all types of families to join their organization.

In a previous incident of discrimination by Baylor’s Tom Landry Fitness Center in Dallas, Texas, Alex Rodriguez and his partner were denied a membership, because they were not considered a‘family’ as well. Although a complaint was filed, it eventually was dropped after the fitness center decided to get rid of the family membership plan all together.

Do you think the YMCA has a right to deny a membership to same-sex couple, or any type of non-traditional partnership?

  • I wonder…

    Umm…the interpretations of these “Christian” values worked to bar interracial marriage in the sixties and earlier. If they’re such a “Christian” organization, they should refuse them service altogether. Why would they want to take money from homosexuals under one package but not under another? Let’s get real.

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    This family most certainly has the right to be hurt/angry/disappointed that this is how they are being treated. The question is how they choose to respond to it.

    And yes, actually I would be saying the same thing if it were a black family. I actually wrote a blog post about something similar, you can read it here:


  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val


    Yeah, this is Texas, so I’m not really that surprised. The only thing that surprises me is that, as you point out, most YMCA’s are pretty progressive. They need to have a National policy on this sort of thing.

  • Honey

    This is how I feel about being a single woman and filing my taxes. I am essentially penalized because I’m not married, don’t have children and haven’t bought a house. Why do I pay MORE because of that?

  • Nakia

    They weren’t denied membership, they were denied the family discount.

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