Idaho AG’s Office, says “Family” not specifically defined by law – Marriage law is not a “Family” law

Jody May-Chang©
February 22, 2009 PrideDEPOT.com

When the Nampa Recreation Center (NRC) used Idaho’s marriage law for the basis of denying a same-sex couple and their 4-year-old son a “family” membership, they may find themselves at legal odds* with the State Attorney General’s Office.

*Editor clarification: 02/24/09: The phrase “at legal odds” above is meant simply to illustrate a significant discrepancy. It is not intended to suggest legal action is, or will, be taken by the Idaho State Attorney General’s office against the Nampa Recreation Center or Mayor Tom Dale.

This drama unfolded in early February when Amber Howard and Rachel Dovel where shown the door at the NRC and told that they did not constitute a family and would not be entitled to such membership privileges.

The couple told PrideDEPOT.com that since they could not produce a marriage certificate, they could not be considered a family along with the rest of those who have obtained such privileges. They could, however, produce evidence of a domestic relationship since Howard is listed on Dovel’s workplace health insurance plan as a domestic partner.

Nampa Mayor Tom Dale told several media outlets, including PrideDEPOT.com that family passes are issued “only to families as defined under Idaho law.” Dale also added that the city-managed center would “suffer financially” if couples like Howard and Dovel were awarded such memberships. Continue reading

Nampa ID Recreation Center Denies Same-Sex Families

UPDATE: It is a great honor to have just learned this story was quoted from, and included in, the prestigious Williams Institute September 2009 Memorandum: “Idaho Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Documentation of Discrimination”

The Williams Institute advances sexual orientation law and public policy through rigorous, independent research and scholarship, and disseminates it to judges, legislators, policymakers, media and the public. A national think tank at UCLA Law, the Williams Institute produces high quality research with real-world relevance.

Jody May-Chang©
February 2, 2009 PrideDEPOT.com

What is a ‘Family’ and who gets to decide?

In late January a story broke in Idaho’s Treasure Valley about Amber Howard and Rachel Dovel, a lesbian couple raising Howard’s biological 4-year-old son, being denied a family membership at the Nampa Recreation Center; a facility owned and operated by the City of Nampa.

Amber Howard Rachel Dovel and son Logan denied a family membership at the Nampa Recreation Center in IdahoThe family was ultimately refused on the grounds that the women are not legally married. The couple claims they were told over the phone that they could acquire a family membership as long as they provided evidence of a domestic relationship.

Howard provided evidence that her partner’s employer recognized their relationship by including Howard on Dovel’s company’s health insurance plan. The city refused to consider the shared insurance coverage as proof of a relationship.

Continue reading