Brett, et al., v. Town of West Hartford
GLAD successfully challenged the discriminatory policy of the Town of West Hartford municipal pool, which sought to exclude same-sex couples and their children from a discounted family membership rate. In November 2002, the West Hartford Town Council approved in a 5 to 4 vote a settlement of the long-standing discrimination complaint by five unmarried couples who claimed the town treated their families unfairly by withholding the preferential “family” membership rate at the facility, known as the Cornerstone Aquatics Center. The newly approved policy ensures that all families and households enjoy an identical rate and allows all children to use the pool for free. In addition, the Town paid a portion of the couples’ attorneys’ fees. The family membership rate had previously been offered only to married couples or to parents. The definition of parents included step-, legal and adoptive parents, but excluded same-sex co-parents or anyone who parents a child with a non-marital partner. For most families, the difference in cost was several hundred dollars.
The case had been pending since November 1998, when it was first filed in the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO). Together with attorney Maureen Murphy, GLAD won a ruling from the CHRO that the state’s anti-discrimination laws required the Town to provide equal access and pricing for its pool facility. The case was later removed to the Superior Court where cross-motions for summary judgment were pending.