A Florida mom claims she and her partner were denied the family membership rate to a children’s museum that does not recognize same-sex families.
Karen Lee-Duffell and her family have been members of Jacksonville’s Hands On Children’s Museum for three years. However, when she went in to renew her membership last week, an employee noticed that the form’s spaces for “Mom” and “Dad” were filled by “Mom” and “Mom.”
“She says ‘oh wait no, you’re going to have pay an extra ten dollars to add this other mom, you can’t have two moms’ and she points up at the sign, a family membership consists of one mom and one dad,” Lee-Duffell told First Coast News.
The employee claimed that the museum was concerned about people putting multiple families under one membership, while the museum director issued a statement explaining that memberships are very specific and do not allow substitutions.
LGBT people are not included in Florida’s statewide non-discrimination policy and since the state does not recognize same-sex marriage, legally Hands On Children’s Museum doesn’t have to either.
Your museum expected a family, who were members at your museum for three years, to pay more for a family membership when it was noticed both parents listed on the membership form were women. When contacted by phone, a representative explained your displayed sign is clear and that families consist of a mom and a dad. It was confirmed your business does not recognize same sex families. You also charge more for grandparents with children, even though FL has the highest percentage of grandparents raising grandchildren in the nation…All families are entitled to be recognized as such and deserve to be treated equally by the businesses they patronize.
Lee-Duffell has decided to move her four-year-old and 13-month-old daughters to a new museum, but hopes Hands On becomes more inclusive. “I’m not out to destroy anybody. What I would like to see happen is for them to change their policy and make it be equal,” she said. “It’s not like I couldn’t afford the extra ten dollars, but it’s the principle of the thing.”