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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 
anti-discrimination laws. 

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 
Corriere-Gooch. 

"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. 

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