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Minnesota Court Upholds Ruling Denying Family Membership for Same-Sex Couple

ST. PAUL, MN -- The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s ruling last week that the Rochester (MN) Athletic Club did not discriminate against a same-sex couple when it denied them a family membership to the club, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Amy and Sarah Monson sued Rochester Athletic Club and its president and CEO, John Remick, in 2007, claiming the club discriminated against them based on their sexual orientation, which violates the Minnesota Human Rights Act, the newspaper reports.

The Monsons have been together for seven years and are raising a daughter together. (Sarah changed her last name to Monson.) Rochester Athletic Club has said it was simply following its policy to provide family rates only to married couples.

In November 2007, Olmsted County (MN) District Judge Kevin Lund granted summary judgment to Remick and the Rochester Athletic Club, saying the Monsons could not prove that heterosexual unmarried couples were treated differently than same-sex unmarried couples, according to the report.

The Monsons argued in the Court of Appeals that the lower court’s analysis was legally flawed because it compared them to unmarried heterosexual couples rather than to all heterosexual couples. The Monsons also asserted that because same-sex couples cannot legally marry in Minnesota, only heterosexual couples can qualify for family memberships, the newspaper reports.

A decision has not been made on whether the Monsons will ask the Minnesota Supreme Court to hear the case.

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