special offers

The Pandora’s Box That Opens If You Let the Gays Join a Country Club As a Family


The government financially screws gays by not letting them file joint tax returns. Know how country clubs financially screw gays? By not letting them sign up for discounted family memberships. And yet you want to belong to such a place?

All Shannon Bowman and Martha Daas wanted to do was join the Mallory Country Club, outside Norfolk, Va., to enjoy the pool and volleyball courts with their two kids Maggie and Oliver. But Mallory would only let them join as individuals, despite them living together under one roof, which means they wouldn’t enjoy the discounted rate of a $1,000 membership fee and $600 annual fee. Joining as individuals, they would each pay that.

So controversial an issue, current members took a vote.

If a vote taken by Mallory Country Club members is any indication, the fact that the family rate is not extended to cohabiting gay couples who are raising children is a concern of many members too. For them, it’s not enough that gay people can join the club as individuals.

About 180 votes were cast to support family memberships for same-sex couples with children, according to the club’s Web site, at www.mallorycountryclub.com. Roughly 126 votes were cast against it.

For the measure to pass, a two-thirds favorable vote is required, said Tiedge, who supports the measure and said she worked with at least 15 other club members to revise the club’s bylaws to provide for it. Two-thirds of the 311 ballots cast would have been roughly 207 votes.

“We recognize that heterosexual couples can marry and homosexuals couples can’t,” [existing member Lynn Tiedge] said.

Tiedge contends that those who voted against the measure are not necessarily against same-sex couples with children qualifying for a family membership but that they may have had problems with how the proposed revised bylaws were worded.

Worded, as in, what about unmarried hetero couples who live together? Should they get the family rate too?

Tiedge said she and the other club members who worked on revising the bylaws confined the change to same-sex couples living together and with children because “we were trying to limit it to the issue at hand that was presented by Shannon and Martha and the other couple” who have children.

Tiedge said by casting it as a family issue they thought they would have a better chance at getting enough votes favoring the revisions.

Tiedge said some at a special club meeting last week voted against the issue on moral grounds, while others asked why unmarried heterosexual couples living like married people weren’t included in the amendment.

Others worried that the amendment would open a Pandora’s box that could lead to people in all kind of domestic situations trying to qualify for a family membership, Tiedge said.

Ah yes. The inevitable husband-and-sheep predicament.