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.