The Hollywood blogger, Perez Hilton, titled his post "Dear Idaho" and flat out said in response to the story KTVB ran yesterday: "This sucks." The KTVB story was simply a regurgitated version of the story in the Idaho State Journal Tuesday. The Advocate ran the Lava story as well, both sites/stories picking up numerous comments from readers.
Today the Idaho State Journal has the "Family Pass Policy" for the swimming complex as part of a story on the now national news story. Tuesday, Mark Lowe, executive director of the Lava Hot Springs State Foundation, stated that the family policy was not a written policy. Apparently, the foundation does have a written policy, I'm assuming they have written this policy and added it to their website (where, I don't know, because I can't locate it on the actual website) after refusing the Koger/Underwood family a family pass. The policy states the following:
Intent: The family discount is intended to help families afford the day out at a swimming pool or hot pool facility that they may not otherwise be able to afford. It is also intended to increase attendance at the facilities midweek when business is typically slower. Therefore, the discount is available Monday-Thursday except major holidays--New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.
Eligibility: In order to be as consistent as possible, families that are eligible for the discount are considered to be parents and children. The children must be dependent children of the parent, or parents, present at the time of entry, and under the age of 18. For the purpose of this discount, parent is defined as the person who has long-term legal responsibility for the dependent children.
Discussion: The children need not be biological offspring of the legally responsible adult(s). Adopted children and foster children are considered part of the family so long as the stipulations listed above are met. Parents are defined as those adults who are either legally obligated to the care of the dependent children or are married to the adult who is the parent of the dependent children. Single parents and their children are eligible for the discount. Adults who are raising their siblings are eligible for the discount.
As the paper points out, the "family discount policy...does not designate what sex the parents must be to qualify for the family rate." However, my guess is that Lava is contending same-sex couples and their children are not eligible for the family rate because they are not married and cannot be in the state of Idaho.
This is ridiculous on many levels, the least of which is the fact that two parents who have lived together and raised their children for years are allowed the family pass as long as they an opposite-sex couple. That couple is not deemed ineligible because they are without a marriage certificate--they're not even asked if they are married when they show up to the complex. This argument could be continued by theorizing that even some same-sex couples might be married, complete with a marriage certificate, but their marriage is not recognized in Idaho. That is beyond the scope of the argument, really. It mostly comes down to the fact that this family arrived at the swimming complex and was denied the family rate because the two parents were both female. How might the complex have handled a family that arrived with two women in the parenting role who were sisters? Surely there are families that split parenting duties between one sister, perhaps a widow, and another who has stepped in to share the parenting burden. The Koger/Underwood family was denied the rate not because of some written policy, Mr. Lowe stated there was not a written policy as of Tuesday, but because they appeared as and are a same-sex couple raising a family.
This story is yet another example of unabashed bigotry in Idaho. As Geoff says, "this, is life in Idaho." And as Sisyphus asked somewhere yesterday, tell me, how is this not segregation?