A statement was posted today to Boycott The Hands On Children’s Museum Jacksonville Facebook page by an unnamed representative of the page:
The following is my individual response to that statement, point by point. My thoughts and opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts of anyone else with administrator privileges of the Boycott Facebook page, the family, or any supporter of our efforts.
----“READ THE WHOLE STORY”
Many people have. Have you not noticed?
----“The Hands on Children’s Museum has come under attack for standing for the family.”
I denounce any threats or attacks made to any individual, regardless of their thoughts and opinions on this issue.
----“The museum would not substitute “2 mom’s” for a “mom and a dad” in renewing a family membership for a “2 mom” couple.”
This fact is not disputable.
----“The grandmother of the “2 moms” purchased a family membership about three years ago and when the “1 mom” came in to renew it she was told that she could only have “1 mom” on the membership and she could add “mom 2” for just $10.00.“
Yes, the consumer in this matter was offered the chance to pay more for something she had enjoyed previously, when the museum was not aware she was a lesbian.
It is my understanding the two moms do not share a grandparent, but are a married couple. Either way, I find it deplorable that it was acceptable for someone else to purchase a membership to be enjoyed by this family, but not acceptable for the family themselves to do so.
I also find the usage of quotation marks around the words 1 mom and 2 moms to be a detestable denotation of your refusal to recognize family relationships. Punctuation matters.
----“The Family Membership was only $49.50 for “1 mom & 1 dad” and all the children under 18 living in their home. Because of the low cost they do not allow substitutions, whether it is aunt, uncle, grandmother, friend, boyfriend or girlfriend or other.”
A spouse is not a substitution.
----“The Family Membership could be purchased by a single parent, foster parent, grandparents raising their grandchildren, family members raising nieces and or nephews, mom and dad, mom and boyfriend, dad and girlfriend, mom and step-dad, dad and step-mom and so on. It was not inclusive to biological mom and dad.”
But it was exclusive to a same-sex married couple. When a sperm meets an egg, that egg can become fertilized, resulting in the birth of children. I have no indication that the couple involved in this consumer issue with a side order of discrimination have any children produced by non-biological means. If this were the case, a whole different type of media coverage would be involved.
----“In the instance of two divorced parents who remarried and now there are “4 parents” (mom & step-dad and dad & step-mom, involved in the biological children’s lives. It still included “1 mom and 1 dad” and all the children living in “1 household”. The parent purchasing the membership would be able to put all the children under 18 living in their home and would have to choose step-dad or dad. The other parent could be added for $10.00 but their spouse could not and if their family had children they could not be added.” But irrelevant of who purchased the membership the children always had a membership no matter who would bring them in.”
I had to read this through several times to make sense of it, so I referred back to your original pricing structure, as featured in this article on Think Progress:
What I believe you are stating is that divorced parents who are remarried could choose whether to purchase a family membership and mom could choose either dad or step-dad as the second parent. It was then an option for the mom to choose to add on the dad if she chose to purchase the family membership with the step-dad as the parent. That is a policy that makes sense. What does not make sense is for a mom to be refused the opportunity to purchase a family membership with her spouse and have the same option to add an additional family member if she so chose because she is a lesbian.
Again, punctuation is important and I find the ability to use it correctly in some places to emphasize your discrimination and not in others in the interest of proper grammar and syntax quite grotesque.
Here you have re-stated the issue, the family was not refused service, but expected to pay more because they are a same-sex couple.
I also do not accept that these two women were not considered a family by this facility.
----“On the original Family Membership that was purchased by the grandmother no one should have been listed as the dad. A lot of yelling took place on the “1 moms” part and the media was called. The museum is now being attacked, slandered, lied about and threatened.”
Again, punctuation is important. Same-sex families are quite used to filling out forms with the blanks denoting “mom” and “dad” and placing the name of their spouse in the other blank. I personally appreciate and am very inclined to return to and promote any business that is considerate enough to draft forms with inclusive language, but do not view the absence of such language as discrimination. The discrimination occurs when a business insists the blanks on a form must be filled out by a person of a particular sex.
I call on a named or unnamed spokesperson from the museum to denounce the hate-speech being used on the support page as well as various conversations I have seen around the internet both from museum supporters and those who have identified themselves as being present at the museum at the time of this incident in posts on the Boycott The Hands On Children’s Museum Jacksonville Facebook page. I also call on the museum to confirm or deny that the description of events relayed here is true and accurate, especially the part concerning the yelling of the mother involved in this consumer dispute.
While I cannot control the actions of the millions of people using the internet, I most vehemently denounce any act of threats. These actions do not serve the best interest of promoting equality and fair practice in business. In that spirit, I close with this quote:
“The calmed say that what is well-spoken is best;
second, that one should say what is right, not unrighteous;
third, what’s pleasing, not displeasing;
fourth, what is true, not false.” – The Buddha
Update, as I have not yet received a statement from the museum in the last 24 hours:
In case there is any confusion about what I mean by calling on the museum to denounce hate-speech, there was a very lovely "supporter" over here today (now banned) calling people child abusers because of their sexual orientation. I have also seen comments on news articles that had to be reported to the moderators such as "if we kill off all the gays they won't be able to reproduce and that will solve the museum's problem" I know our supporters have seen lots of things, but any kind of comment like that right there is something I (and remember, I do not speak for anyone BUT myself) would like to see this business come out and denounce. I understand these are just random whackjobs on the internet spouting off, but as a business, you guys should be out there letting people know whether or not this is what you stand for. Whackjobs will be whackjobs but I have made it perfectly clear I do NOT condone any harassment or threats to the business (this does not include consumers peacefully doing what is their right as consumers). I hear today that comments consisting of hate speech were removed from the museum's "support" page, which is a step in the right direction and appreciated. I know how hard moderating a page can be, and I really do appreciate that. But the "support" page is not the museum and these statements need to be coming from their named or unnamed spokesperson. Frankly, no one cares what you have to say.
Also, Jeff Vinson, who has identified himself online as being a "witness" (and apparently has an interest in biology), came onto this website and disparaged the family with a very derogatory and utterly untrue statement, which I took a screenshot of. It reads "if they saw how these two moms behaved in public yesterday you would not want them as your spokesperson for anything." It would be extremely easy to verify whether or not Mr. Vinson is an employee of your museum if someone on the internet so chose. If he is indeed an employee, I would like to know from the director of the museum whether or not she feels someone who would act in this way- coming onto a website where the family is gathering support, and making a disparaging and untrue statement such as this, is the kind of employee the museum is proud to have around the children who visit. Even if he is not an employee, I would like to see the museum encourage its guests or volunteers not to come to this site to make disparaging remarks about the family. They have been hurt enough. I feel this is unprofessional and hopefully not the example of business conduct the museum encourages. Mr. Vinson has his own outlets to communicate his thoughts and opinions without coming here to communicate them to the family (who has nothing to do with the organization of the boycott but does come here to read comments of support).
No one can control the actions of millions of people who use the internet. I can't and I do not expect the museum to do so either. I have repeatedly told people to leave the "support" site alone, that there are better conversations to have across the internet than arguments with idiots (and I say that based on the content of your statement, I am not making any threat of harm or suggesting anyone else do so). Yet, they still go there. The only thing I can do, as a co-administrator of this page is continue to denounce any act of threats or harassment to this business, while I continue to encourage people to peacefully contact the business, its sponsors, and their local officials as is their right as consumers in order to help make sure another mother never has to leave a business in tears because she is essentially told her family is not a family.
I once again ask the museum to join me in denouncing threats and hate-speech.