Shane and Coty, who were legally married in Washington, D.C. last year, requested a family rate at the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium, a fitness center run by the City of Cuyahoga Falls. Coty, who suffered injuries while serving in the U.S. military in Iraq, uses the gym for physical therapy and rehabilitation. When the couple asked the gym for the discounted family rate, they were told that the natatorium did not recognize their family because they were a gay couple.
"We simply wanted to be treated fairly by the natatorium," Shane May said, "The natatorium could easily give Coty and I the family rate like so many other community gyms do in Ohio. We feel like we're being treated like second-class citizens."
Shane has become Coty's primary caregiver while Coty goes through intense rehabilitation to recover from injuries he suffered while serving in Iraq. The couple said that using the natatorium's facilities are important for Coty's health, yet the gym's refusal to offer them a family membership costs Shane and Coty an additional $255 a year.
"We're not even asking the City of Cuyahoga Falls to recognize same-sex marriage," Shane said, "We just want to be treated like any other family in Ohio."
Several other gyms throughout the state of Ohio do offer family memberships to same-sex couples, including fitness centers in Medina, Twinsburg, and Akron. Yet the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium continues to refuse Shane and Coty's request.
What Shane and his husband Coty have been able to achieve in just a couple of days is incredible. They've been able to rally more than 4,000 signatures on their petition on Change.org, putting significant pressure on city legislators to change this policy.