SAN FRANCISCO -- California health clubs must change the way they do business. The California Supreme Court recently ruled that all companies are required to offer equal privileges and discounts to both married and same-sex couples who are registered with the state of California. For example, clubs located in California that provide married couples with a spousal or family discount must provide this same discount to registered domestic partners.
Some fitness chains, such as 24 Hour Fitness, Gold's Gym and LA Fitness, already make no distinction between same-sex partners and married couples when it comes to memberships. Fitness facilities that don't already provide these benefits can either comply with the ruling and offer the same discounts and privileges to registered same-sex partners or cut out these benefits for everyone.
Clubs that choose to discriminate against registered same-sex partners could be sued, said Ann Feyerherm, professor of organization and management at Pepperdine University. "Any member who was involved in a registered domestic partnership could bring a claim against that club and probably win," she said. "It would be a fairly convincing case because courts rely on precedent."