Natatorium Discounts For Gay Couples on Parks Board Agenda Today

Controversial issue to be decided during 5:30 p.m. meeting at Natatorium.


The question of whether gay, married couples should be eligible for family memberships at the will likely be answered today by the Cuyahoga Falls Parks and Recreation Board.

Board president Tim Gorbach said the issue is on the agenda for the board's 5:30 p.m. meeting today at the Natatorium, and that a decision will be reached.

The topic has been garnering headlines since were denied family membership status at the Nat in early January because the parks board – which sets the facility's rates – did not consider their marriage legal.

On Feb. 8, Cuyahoga Falls Law Director Paul Janis released a 10-page legal opinion stating that could override the board’s authority and establish new, alternative membership categories for the fitness center. However, he added, council isn't required to since same-sex marriage isn't recognized in Ohio.

, as two of the five members were absent.

Gorbach said he believes all board members will be in attendance and prepared to make a decision today.

“We’ve been discussing and reviewing the issue on our own. We’ll come together as a board … (and) a decision by the majority will hopefully be made. We’ll have a resolution to the matter one way or another,” he said.

The board's decision will be forwarded to council, which was the first government body approached about the topic.

"It doesn’t always work like this. Council doesn’t need to ratify what the parks board does," he explained. "They’re waiting to hear what we decide and if they think that’s appropriate, then they don’t need to take action. City Council will only have to take action if they want to do something other than what we’ve decided."

While a netted 3,166 votes and 176 comments, the parks board itself has received little public feedback in the past month.

Gorbach said the board got four letters/emails from “citizens giving us their input as to what direction they would like us to go. Three were, ‘Don’t make a change,’ and one was, ‘I think you should make a change.’ I’ve received no phone calls.”

He doesn't know what to expect, attendance-wise, at today's meeting.

"There’s typically no one at our meetings. I know the press will be there, without question, and some citizens as well. But a full house? I don’t know," Gorbach said.

Adam C. Miller March 08, 2012 at 01:54 PM
They will change the policy!
Susan H March 08, 2012 at 07:17 PM
My opinion of this situation with a gay couple trying to get a discount is disgusting. I have lived in the Falls since the late 1950's and this makes me literally sick to my stomach. If this gay couple gets a discount my boyfriend and I should get a discount as we have been together as girlfriend and boyfriend for almost 13 years and have lived together for 3 years. What do you say to this? Susan H.
John Olesky March 08, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Susan, you are correct. The discount should apply to ANY people who live at the same address -- married, unmarried, gay. If it is done by address than the issue of whether you and your boyfriend are married becomes irrelevant, and whether you are gay becomes irrelevant. They could say you have to share the same address for, say, a minimum of 12 months. Then you would qualify. The gay couple would qualify. Heck, my girlfriend and I would qualify. It's so simple a caveman can do it. Can Falls City Council handle it?
John Deike March 08, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Hello Susan and John, the root of the issue is whether or not gay, married couples should receive the discount. Ohio currently doesn't recognize gay marriage, but a few states do. According to Shane and Coty May, they were legally married late last year in Washington, D.C. When they returned to the Falls, they went to the Natatorium to obtain the spouse, family-rate discount. Nat rules don't currently allow for same-sex, married couples to get the discount. The board may or may not overturn that rule tonight. Regards, John
Susan H March 08, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Hello John D, the issue is about gay people as the State of Ohio does not recognize same sex marriages and neither do I. Why did this couple pick the state of Ohio and the City of Cuyahoga Falls to join a gym? What was wrong with Washington, D.C.? I am old-fashioned, I know, but this is my opinion. The board needs to vote against this.
Kate Bigam March 09, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Susan, they're from here. Shane went to Cuyahoga Falls High School; his husband is an Iraq war veteran. Please have some respect for them as human beings, even if you refuse to respect their (legal!) marriage.
Susan H March 09, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Who I said I disrespected them? It doesn't matter where they went to school or if they served our country like a lot of my relatives did. That is not the point or the issue. This is about a gay marriage that is not legal in the State of Ohio. Evidently you are not a Christian and do not follow the readings of the Bible. This is how I was raised.
Earl Elevant March 09, 2012 at 04:23 AM
You didn't disrespect them Susan--you disagreed (which nowadays means disrespect). This is a group where, if you don't see it their way, you're a disrespectful, intolerant, veteran-hating, gay basher who shouldn't be allowed to have an opinion. They're married in DC. They're not married here. They're roommates here.
Shane May March 10, 2012 at 04:57 PM
"It doesn't matter where they went to school or if they served our country like a lot of my relatives did. That is not the point or the issue." May I point out that you also made this comment: "Why did this couple pick the state of Ohio and the City of Cuyahoga Falls to join a gym? What was wrong with Washington, D.C.?" Please decide what your argument is against my husband and I because you are contradicting yourself with those two comments. Oh and FYI, I am a Christian as well. My grandmother taught Sunday School and I attended every Sunday as a child and still go to church to this day. So before you go spreading your disgusting message of intolerance towards all individuals you may want to pick up a bible and read the phrase "Love Thy Neighbor" over and over until it sinks into your brain.
Susan H March 10, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Shane, If you don't know what my "opinion" is which is not an argument perhaps you should re-read my "opinion". And I am not contradicting myself. My message is not disgusting. Again, it is an opinion, and like you, I am entitled to my opinion. Again, I am old-fashioned. You have your opinion and I have mine. I hope you have a wonderful day!!!
M August 20, 2012 at 12:34 AM
They should include couples who arent married living together with there kids


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