Media Contact

Jasmine Conrad Moseley, ACLU of Nebraska Communications Strategist 

June 27, 2024

LINCOLN, Neb. – A same-sex married couple in Omaha filed a complaint with the Omaha Human Rights and Relations board today, saying that Genesis Health Clubs discriminated against them by delaying access to a discount membership rate for married couples due to their sex and sexual orientation, violating their rights.  

The situation occurred earlier this year. When Abbey Cherney met with a Genesis manager in January to add her wife Mary to her gym membership, the manager told Abbey that proof of marriage was required to receive the discounted membership rate enjoyed by married couples.  

The Cherneys provided proof of marriage immediately, but Mary was not added to Abbey’s account until weeks later. When asked if the policy to require membership applied to heterosexual couples, Genesis management was unable to provide an answer nor give the Cherneys an explanation for the delay in processing their membership.  

In the complaint, the Cherneys relay that several heterosexual couples who are members of the local gym chain say they were not required to provide proof of marriage when adding their spouse to their account to enjoy the discounted membership rates. 

ACLU of Nebraska Legal Fellow Grant Friedman made this statement on the complaint: 

“Attempting to deny the Cherneys access to the same membership discount enjoyed by heterosexual couples is a violation of their right to be free of discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation,” Friedman said. “This case is about making sure that Genesis’ policy is applied fairly and equally to all spouses regardless of the couple’s sex or sexual orientation.” 

The Cherneys made this statement on the complaint:  

“We want to make sure that no other couple is subject to this kind of discrimination based on who their partner is. It’s our hope that Genesis looks at its policies to ensure its health clubs are meant to be for everyone, including anyone whose marriage looks like ours.” 

Omaha’s Municipal Code specifically forbids discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation in public accommodations, such as hotels, gyms and other areas open to the public. The City of Omaha is now tasked with investigating the Cherneys’ discrimination complaint.