Treatment of Lesbian Couple at Catfish Derby Lands Lions Club a Warning from Lambda Legal
'It’s not just insulting; it’s illegal'
(Huntington, Oregon, — Lambda Legal has delivered a warning
to Lions Club International charging that the treatment a lesbian couple
received at a club-sponsored Oregon catfish derby violates state
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 had no intention of changing
its policy. Adding insult to injury, the Corriere-Gooches’ young nieces
and their boyfriends were given the "couples" discount, while Angela and
Tina both were charged the full admission price.
"It’s insulting and degrading that the Club treated us like strangers,
instead of recognizing our committed relationship," said Tina
"It’s not just insulting; it’s illegal," said Tara Borelli, the Lambda
Legal staff attorney who drafted the letter. "Oregon’s public
accommodations antidiscrimination law expressly prohibits discrimination
based on sexual orientation and sex, and Angela and Tina were denied equal
accommodations on both of those grounds. The Lions Club needs to make sure
its clubs are aware of states’ anti-discrimination laws, and in fact,
follow the club’s own guidelines, which include, in its own words, '
fostering a spirit of understanding among people and taking an active
interest in the social and moral welfare of the whole community.'"
The Corriere-Gooches are requesting that all Oregon Lions clubs receive
notice of their antidiscrimination obligations under Oregon law, a
meaningful plan to ensure that clear notice is provided specifically to
Huntington, Oregon Lions Club members, and a written apology.