Des Moines Y Broadens Family Membership Definition


DES MOINES -- The Greater Des Moines YMCA will sign a conciliatory agreement with Sandi and M Patton-Imani to broaden the Y’s definition of family to include cohabiting adults, according to the Des Moines Register. However, a representative from the Y told Club Industry's Fitness Business Pro that, as of Aug. 10, no agreement had been signed.

The Patton-Imanis, who were joined in a civil union in Vermont in 2000, filed a complaint with the city’s human rights commission when their YMCA family membership was revoked nearly five years ago after an employee said that the same-sex couple did not meet the traditional “family” definition, the newspaper reported.

YMCA officials told the newspaper that they created a “member plus” program that costs the same as a family membership and allows a member to add another person to their membership plan. The city of Des Moines, however, forced the Y to change its policy or lose a $102,000 federal grant for its housing program. In February, Des Moines’s human rights commission determined there was “probable cause” to believe the policy violated a city ordinance that prohibits discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation, race, religion or disability.

Vernon Delpesce, president and chief executive officer of the YMCA, recently told the Register that the nonprofit was trying to satisfy the human rights commission, but he would not discuss details of any agreement that had been reached because the issue was supposed to be confidential.

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