Museum Denies Family Membership to Same-Sex Couple, Shoots Self in Foot

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June 10, 2013; The Inquisitr

In Jacksonville, Florida, the “Hands On” Children’s Museum tempted fate by refusing to give family rates to a family led by a same-sex couple.

Karen Lee-Duffell has had a membership at the museum for more than three years, and was simply trying to renew when “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.”

The director of the museum has reiterated that message, and they are apparently within their legal rights since Florida does not recognize same-sex marriage. But legal schmegal; predictably, since we inhabit the 21st century, mobilization took to cyberspace, a Facebook page has been established, and a petition initiated, against the membership policy.

NPQ figures the museum should have seen this one coming. Did they watch the last election or any of the other accomplishments achieved in quick succession of gay rights activists? We fail to see how this position makes a whit of sense.—Ruth McCambridge

  • Stuart Weir

    Just an FYI, the accompanying image you’re using is of the Hands On Children’s Museum of Tacoma, WA. I don’t believe they’re affiliated with the Florida establishment in any way.

  • Deb

    Interesting, so does that mean a single mom couldn’t get a ‘family’ membership since there is no dad on the list or vice versa? And what about the families that consist of say… Grandma and the single Uncle still at home because he takes care of his mother and now both are taking care of the grandkid and nephew because is parents died in a car crash? Neither of these families have one mom and one dad. I think it’s more like this museum has shot both feet off and both hands off!

  • Tiffany Kaczowski
  • Mary Kimrey

    Hey guys! We are a group of regular folks of all walks of life banding together over at Boycott The Hands On Children’s Museum Jacksonville to help fight injustice and discrimination against families. Join us on Facebook

  • Lori

    They have since changed their policy to only one adult and the children in the household. Everyone may now add a second adult for an additional $10 per household. Effectively, giving a price hike to all families. While this is at least fair, choosing to punish everyone to spite this family daring to ask for equal treatment reeks of vindictiveness.

  • Sarah Duffield

    You are correct. This is not a photo of the museum in question, and they are not affiliated, and therefore should not be associated with this negative publicity. Save all of that for the HOCM of Jacksonville, FL!

  • Casey T., Spokane, WA

    Thank you for drawing attention to this issue! While they may be within their legal rights, bigotry and discrimination of all kinds were “legal” long past when they were recognized by the society as a whole to be unjust and immoral. I am sure that the Jacksonville Hands-On Children’s museum hopes that this will blow over soon, but it is up to all who see it for the bigotry it is to take a stand and continue to voice our outrage.

    I do not live in Florida and my children are past the age where they would be entertained by this establishment, but I am nonetheless incensed by their definition of “family” as only the nuclear family of the 1950’s.

    Thank you for spreading the word. I hope others will continue to keep the pressure until this outdated and offensive policy is changed!

  • MB

    Deb, You are absolutely right! And that is how the membership read until yesterday. It discriminated against single parents AND same sex families. Now they are charging everyone more and it takes a lawyer to figure out the membership form. All they had to do was apolagize and change the wording and this problem would have gone away. But they refuse to admit that they were wrong in their discrimination.

  • M P

    Please change your photo. That is the Olympia, WA HOCM, not the one in Jacksonville.

  • museum goer

    The museum you have pictured is the Hands On Museum in Olympia WA – – not Tacoma, and they are inclusive of all families!

    The museum you are writing about is in Jacksonville, FL –

    Please change your picture to reflect the museum you are writing about. Thanks!

  • Judith L. Hatcher

    Shame on HOCM!

  • Kelly Heflin

    This is happening to good friend’s of my daughter’s as we speak. Please sign the petition! Thanks everyone! It is a travesty.

  • James Neils


    The sad part about this is the membership records are or should be private and the public would not and should not have to know what kind of membership anyone has. So, rather than recognizing the value of the existing and potential revenues the organization decided administrative rules needed to be followed. I wonder whether the issue was even given the chance for a serious review and the potential up and downsides of the issue. Somehow I doubt there was little discussion or serious thought.

    This is only the latest example of how administrative policies and regulations are adhered to with little thought to the potential consequences. The customer may not always be right. But, they always have a voice. With today’s social marketing potential that voice can lead to significant and adverse consequences for an organization that blindly follows the almighty administrative rules and regulations.