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Same-sex family denied family pass for swimming pool

A lesbian couple in Ohio are hopeful that their city council will re-write its definition of ‘family’ in order to allow them and their children reduced-price access to a local swimming pool
Melody Mohn and Hela Young were refused a family pass for the swimming pool because they are a same-sex couple with kids.
Courtesy of Melody Mohn

A same-sex family in Ohio have been left stunned and disappointed after they were declined a request for a family pass for their local swimming pool.

For the past nine years, Melody Mohn and her children have made regular use of the Heise Park Pool in Galion, Ohio. This year, in an effort to save money, she applied for a family pass – to cover herself, her four children and same-sex partner, Hela Young.

However, when she called the YMCA in charge of managing the pool, she was informed that a family is defined as 'mother, father, and three children.' Her request was therefore denied.

She subsequently contacted the city’s administrative office to complain and was informed that this definition was set out by a specific city ordinance.

She says that the staff she spoke to did their best to help her but were unable to offer her a Family Pass due to the specific wording of the ordinance ruling.

‘I was pretty shocked. I really anticipated calling there and it being a quick fix,’ she told GSN. ‘I really didn’t expect them referring to an old ordinance.’

She is now calling for the wording to be amended, and city officials met on Tuesday of this week to discuss the matter. At the same time, a petition has been started on change.org calling for the ordinance to be changed to reflect a wider definition of family.

Members of Galion City Council told local news channel NBC4 that until Mohn’s complaint, they hadn’t been aware that the ordinance existed.

‘It's an asterisk at the bottom, a notation at the bottom that I didn't know was there until we got it last night,’ said Sarah Capretta, of the council's Parks and Recreation Committee.

GSN was unable to reach anyone in the Parks and Recreation Committee, but other council members who have spoken to the press appear sympathetic to change.

Council member Jon Kleinknecht told the Bucyrus Telegraph Forum that he is conservative and a Christian: 'But I am open-minded about this because the real issue is the park system and the pool specifically, and the children. They are the ones who will be hurt if we take a hard stance on this.'

The Parks and Recreation committee is due to meet on 17 July, followed by a city council meeting on 22 July to confirm the new wording. Mohn told GSN that she is ‘confident’ the wording will be changed.

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