Car­il­ion emerges from some hot wa­ter

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

Things got so hot for a Car­il­ion Clinic-owned fit­ness club in Roanoke, Va., that of­fi­cials used a Face­book post to cool off the pub­lic.

A gay cou­ple, Will Trin­kle and Juan Gran­dos, are claim­ing vic­tory af­ter Car­il­ion of­fi­cials changed a mem­ber­ship pol­icy that the cou­ple said was dis­crim­i­na­tory. The cou­ple wanted to take their 2-year-old son swim­ming in the club’s out­door pool, but needed a fam­ily mem­ber­ship. The Roanoke and Bote­tourt Ath­letic Clubs only al­low chil­dren to use the pool if their par­ents have a fam­ily mem­ber­ship, so Trin­kle ap­plied for a fam­ily mem­ber­ship in May. But he was re­jected and claimed the club de­nied the cou­ple a fam­ily mem­ber­ship be­cause of their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. Vir­ginia does not grant marriages to same-sex cou­ples.

In June, an on­line pe­ti­tion went up on Change.org ask­ing Car­il­ion to change its poli­cies. It soon gar­nered more than 100,000 sig­na­tures, said Change.org cam­paign man­ager Joe Mirabella. The cou­ple also filed a law­suit, sub­ject­ing the hospi­tal sys­tem to me­dia scru­tiny. Car­il­ion on July 5 posted a Face­book en­try an­nounc­ing a change in the pol­icy “in recog­ni­tion of the many con­tem­po­rary house­holds that can ben­e­fit from our fa­cil­i­ties.”

Mirabella says a vic­tory such as this for an on­line pe­ti­tion, es­pe­cially via a change in pol­icy com­ing from a Face­book post, is rare. Of­fi­cials for Car­il­ion, based in Roanoke, failed to re­turn phone calls seek­ing com­ment.

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