Lions Club Sends Letter of Apology to Oregon Lesbian Couple; Reminds Affiliates of Non-Discrimination Policy
...an organization dedicated to serving the community has reaffirmed its policy of including everyone.'
(Huntington, Oregon, August 4, 2009) — Lambda Legal’s clients, an Oregon lesbian couple, have received a letter of apology from Lions Club officials, as well as a promise that the club’s local chapters will be reminded of their responsibilities under state antidiscrimination laws, following an incident at a May 22 club-sponsored catfish derby.
On May 22, Angela and Tina Corriere-Gooch attended a Huntington, Oregon, catfish derby with their family. As the group approached the registration area that evening, a Club representative explained that the event pricing included a discount for couples, and added, "but none of this boy-boy, girl-girl couples crap." When another man in the room suggested that Angela and Tina should be given the discount if they could document their relationship status, the Club representative stated that this is how the Club has “always done it," and that the Club has no intention of changing its policy.
On July 21, Lambda Legal sent a letter to both Lions Club International and the local affiliate in Huntington, warning them that the conduct of the catfish derby volunteer violated Oregon’s antidiscrimination laws. Lambda Legal staff attorney Tara Borelli asked the organization to send an apology to the Corriere-Gooches, and to remind its Oregon affiliates of their responsibilities under state law. On July 30, the Huntington Chapter president sent an apology to the Corriere-Gooches stating, "Please accept our sincerest apologies for the mistake that was made that day and any embarrassment it may have caused you and your family." Yesterday, Borelli received a letter from Lions Club International Attorney Amy J. Peña affirming Lions Club International’s commitment to educating its district officers that staff and volunteers are expected to comply with the organization's policy of welcoming all members of the public equally without regard to sexual orientation, sex, and other grounds prohibited by Club policy.
"We’re very pleased and satisfied that an organization dedicated to serving the community has reaffirmed its policy of including everyone," said Borelli. “Like many other families, Angela and Tina are law-abiding, tax-paying citizens who work hard and provide a loving, nurturing home for their children. They hope their having spoken out means that other same-sex couples and their families can support the Lions Club’s good work while being treated with respect and dignity."
Contact: Jason Howe, Office: 213-382-7600 ext.247; Email: email@example.com