Carilion emerges from some hot water
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.