Sunday, August 09, 2009

Letter to the Editor

Since when has capitalism been allowed to define what “family” is? While Federal Government and legislators squabble over how to appropriately expand it's definition, some local businesses seem to have it all figured out. Though the exact numbers may vary slightly, family, so they say, is defined as two adults and two children. Full stop.

As inclusive as this is toward single parent families, as well as same-sex parent families, this definition discriminates against all families who have more than two children. Does a family suddenly stop being a “family” when they welcome a third child? A fourth? More? No, of course not. But they no longer qualify as “family” in the eyes of some local businesses which subscribe to this very narrow definition. Instead of making welcome the business of such families, they financially penalize them.

Recently, our family went to a local community swimming pool to enjoy an afternoon swim. We joined the throngs of other families lining up to pay admittance but when it got to be our turn and we asked for the Family Rate, we were denied. Though we are one family, we didn't fit their prescribed definition and were thus charged over and above the Family Rate. Why call something a “Family Rate” when it isn't meant to fit families? Call it a “group of four rate” if that's all it's intended for. But by definition, a family rate should be for “families”.

Some may reply that this is what we deserve for choosing to have more children, and we can simply either pay up or stop frequenting businesses that discriminate. I hope these same people choose to decline the tax-payer programs my children's dollars will generate for them in their older years. Yes, we could avoid businesses that discriminate against larger families with their “Family Rates”, which would mean no hotels, motels, swimming pools, amusement parks, skating rinks, etc. Fun, eh?

I urge local business to either more appropriately label their admittance fees, or make good on the labels they already use. Make “Family Rates” open to all families.


Heather McCue

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