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Same-Sex Couple Closer to Getting Family Pass - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Same-Sex Couple Closer to Getting Family Pass

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UPDATE - FEBRUARY 27, 2013

The Fargo Park District is now one step closer to fixing what defines a family to receive a golf pass. Currently, a family's tax return needs to show a marriage in order to receive one.

Wednesday, Park District staff talked about several options to change the policy, and brought the ideas forward. A couple commissioners recommended changing the pass to a household pass so no one would be left out.

The issue was first brought forward when two married women from Iowa were denied a pass because they aren't seen as a legally married couple in North Dakota.

"I think it just says that the Park Board and Park District is always willing to change with the times," Park District Commissioner Joe Deutsch says.  "You just have to bring those issues to the table when they, when we notice them and get together and discuss and make changes."

The issue still needs to be voted on, and the full park district board will take up the matter in the March 12 meeting.

ORIGINAL STORY - FEBRUARY 6, 2013

It took two women to speak up, and now their partnership may have been strong enough to change what they say is an outdated policy. Now the Fargo Park District is going to be looking into advancing their policy on what qualifies people for a family pass.

Katy Kjelvik and Steph Rindy are used to their marriage not being accepted in certain areas. "We are married legally in nine states, not in North Dakota, but I think it's time locally that people start making up their minds differently." Katy says. Earlier this week she looked into a summer golf pass through Fargo Park Districts. She was wanting to purchase the family pass because it helps save money, but the park won't recognize the two as a family.

Board President Joel Vettel explains their policy. "Under our current policy there is certainly a specific outline for what qualifies for the definition of family. We do follow the state guidelines for that."

Katy says the email replied back to here explained their policy. "The exact response was the family pass is sold using the IRS guidelines for the definition of a family, so that's what they are relying on, which kind of seemed like a scapegoat."

But after a complaint they both put on Facebook, support started coming in from the community, pushing Fargo Park District board members to think about a change.

Joel Vettel agrees the policy needs to be looked at. "We really need to take and do our diligent to look at the policy, based on what we get from the public and that's the whole process and we hope people will take that into account and we can go forward and do the responsible thing."

Both Katy and Steph look forward to teeing up on the courses if they have enough support to get the policy changed.  Wednesday afternoon Steph received a personal phone call from a board member who says he supports changing the policy on what qualifies as a family.

Both Katy and Steph agreed that if the policy got changed soon enough they would still buy a family pass in time to hit the greens this spring.  

The Fargo Park District is planning to put this issue on their agenda at their Facilities Meeting on February 27th, and a Golf Committee meeting scheduled in the first week of March.

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