Athletic club redefines 'family' to allow same-sex membership - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Athletic club redefines 'family' to allow same-sex membership

(WMC-TV) - A Mid-South athletic club is redefining the word "family" after a same-sex couple was denied membership.

The city-owned and operated Germantown Athletic Club offers five different membership option.

"The family membership rate I believe is $80 a month," said Germantown City Administrator Patrick Lawton.

The price remains the same but change is in the air.

Last week, two men and their children tried to sign up for a family membership but were denied because they did not fit the definition of a "family" as outlined on the GAC's application. It described a family as a husband, wife, and their children under 18 years old.

"We changed it from family membership to household membership, which is much more inclusive and broad in scope as to who can qualify," said Lawton.

By Monday, the application had been changed and the two men and their children were invited to join.

"They were able to get this fixed," said Jonathan Cole, Tennessee Equality Project.

Cole says the GAC's response represents change at a much more rapid pace than he is accustomed to.

"It's particularly exciting when they voluntarily change that policy to make it more inclusive," said Cole. "When things like this happen it offers a ray of hope to families that are living here in Tennessee."

"We're an inclusive club. We wanna make sure that our categories fit folks who are wanting to come and be members of the Germantown Athletic Club," agreed Lawton.

Lawton says the change may have been past due, "It was probably a policy, that had we looked at it earlier, we might've changed it but it was brought to our attention, we addressed it."

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