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A Virginia Athletic Club Apologizes For Anti-Gay Bias, Announces Inclusive Policy

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The Virginia-based Carilion Clinic, parent company of the Roanoke Athletic Club, has resolved to change its policies in 2013 and welcome LGBT families. In June of last year, Will Trinkle and his partner Juan Granados filed a lawsuit against the RAC, alleging that they had been granted a "family membership" by the health club only to have it revoked shortly after when it became known to the administration that they were not a straight married couple. Will and Juan have been together for more than eight years and have a two-year-old son. 

The Carilion Clinic and RAC did change the "family membership" policy, but unfortunately decided to rename it the "household membership" policy, refusing to recognize Will, Juan, and their son as a family. In an op-ed written for The Roanoke Times by Carilion CEO Nancy Howell Agee, this offensive decision by the company is addressed. "When Will Trinkle and Juan Granados received a family membership at the Roanoke Athletic Club, we should have reviewed and changed an outdated policy that contained a narrow definition of the concept of "family" in a more timely fashion," wrote Howell Agee. "I regret our delay, and I am sincerely sorry to the Trinkle-Granados family. We should have done better, and we will." Howell Agee went on to say that Carilion is dedicated to addressing the ways it can better serve all families, such as extending domestic partner benefits to its employees and creating a diversity task force.

After seeing the op-ed from Carilion, Will and Juan wrote a letter thanking all who supported them as they called for equal treatment. "Words matter: 'household' is not 'family'. Most all of you understood this and continued your unwavering support of our family and many kept the pressure on Carilion," worte Will and Juan. "We were, and are, humbled and honored by your support – the vast majority of all posts, letters, emails, in-person exchanges and comments were overwhelmingly supportive of us and of equality for our family...Carilion has truly 'stepped up'; we applaud - and thank – all involved in this outcome."

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