A same-sex couple in Jacksonville, Fla., said a local museum is charging them more to renew their membership because they are a family of two moms. Karen Lee-Duffell has had a membership at the Hands On Children's Museum for three years, but when she went to renew it last week, an employee noticed that the names on the form were both women.
"She says 'Oh wait no, you're going to have pay an extra ten dollars to add this other mom, you can't have two moms' and she points up at the sign, a family membership consists of one mom and one dad," Lee-Duffell said. "It really just feels like a punch in the gut when you go somewhere and it's kind of thrown in your face, we don't want to treat you equally and we're not going to make any effort to do that.”
Lee-Duffell was told that the museum is concerned about people taking advantage and putting multiple families on one membership, First Coast News reported. The Museum Director released a statement saying that the memberships are very specific and do not allow substitutions.
That explanation does not fly with Lee-Duffell.
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"Just like if they were telling me that we weren't really a family that they obviously thought that we weren't a family and that it did not matter to them that we were being treated unfairly," Lee-Duffell said. "I'm not out to destroy anybody. What I would like to see happen is for them to change their policy and make it be equal. It's not like I couldn't afford the extra ten dollars, but it's the principle of the thing."
Lee-Duffell will be taking her daughters elsewhere from now on.
"We're members of the YMCA, we're members of the Cummer Art Museum, we're members of the Museum of Art and History, we're members of the zoo; all of these places have never had a problem with the fact that we're family and giving us the family membership," Lee-Duffell said.
There is also a petition at Change.org:
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Stop Discriminating Against Families
Your museum expected a family, who were members at your museum for three years, to pay more for a family membership when it was noticed both parents listed on the membership form were women. When contacted by phone, a representative explained your displayed sign is clear and that families consist of a mom and a dad. It was confirmed your business does not...
A video about the story is below: