A bill that would have allowed for same-sex gyms and health clubs ultimately was defeated last week in the Legislature after a surprising rally in the Senate.
The bill, known in the halls as the “Curve bill” because all the support seemed to come from the popular Curves health clubs, initially passed 18-16 in the Senate only to be defeated 98 to 46 in the House.
Five Democratic senators gave their support to the bill, including Sen. Dennis Damon of Hancock and Sen. William Diamond of Cumberland. Republican Sens. Richard Rosen of Hancock and Karl Turner of Cumberland voted against the bill.
“Are we going to go back to separate but equal facilities?” asked Sen. Lynn Bromley, D-Cumberland, who was shocked members of her own party had voted against the majority recommendation not to pass the measure. “This is a slippery slope.”
Bromley said she personally called nine Curves health clubs to see if any men had ever tried to work out in the clubs, which market to women.
“None of them ever even had a man walk in the door. There is no problem,” said Bromley, who believed the issue was made up as a marketing ploy.
Sen. Turner said he believed the proposal would turn back the clocks to a time when discrimination was allowed.
“We’ve crossed that line decades ago,” he said, and in order to protect equal access, “what’s good for the goose is now good for the gander.”
When the bill returned to the Senate after the House defeat, senators who had supported it let it go without debate.
Sen. Diamond said, “I thought it was a harmless bill. If they want to have their own place, let them have it.” He said he didn’t protest the bill’s defeat in the end because “it was not that big of a deal.”