Gay couple alleges discrimination at Layton pool, city officials offer conflicting story

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LAYTON, Utah -- There is a long list of rules that greets swimmers at the Layton Surf and Swim, but guests Vanessa Higgs and Shandra Adams weren’t aware they were breaking any during their visit on Thursday.

“I wasn’t even there an hour before I got asked to leave,” Adams said.

According to the couple, they were planning on spending the afternoon at the pool when their visit was suddenly cut short by a lifeguard on duty.

“We were just having fun, playing around in the pool, and then all of a sudden she blew her whistle and told us, “No PDA,’” Higgs said.

While the pool does have an unwritten rule prohibiting public displays of affection (PDA), the couple believes the guard was not upset about what they were doing, but about who they were.

“She’s like, ‘You need to leave because you’re gay,’” Adams said. “That was it, word for word.”

According to Higgs, the conversation was had in front of everyone at the pool.

“It was rude, it was embarrassing,” Higgs said. “She called it out in front of everybody. She could have gone about it in a different way.”

However, the city contends the lifeguard acted entirely differently.

“We absolutely disagree with that," City Spokesman Steve Garside said. "They were not asked to leave. They were just reminded, again, that this is a family facility."

According to Garside, the pool’s PDA policy applies to everyone, not just the couple, and the girls’ actions were in violation of it.

“My understanding is that they actually had their legs wrapped around each other, and they were kissing passionately in the pool,” Garside said.

He contends their lifeguard merely followed protocol, but never kicked the couple out for being gay.

“It is absolutely not true," Garside said. "This is an instance that is not uncommon; as we see couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, sometime get involved in a public display of affection, and our lifeguard was responding in an appropriate way.”

However, the girls maintain they were punished not for breaking any rules, but for violating someone’s personal beliefs.

“It’s their word against ours," Adams said. "But we know what happened. And if this didn’t happen, we wouldn’t be so hurt by it. Because it does hurt, it hurts bad. And they don’t care.”

16 comments

  • Wendy

    Soooo sick of people blaming their poor behavior on discrimination. You were in public, with children around. Act like grown ups!

  • haley

    I was at the pool when thelife guard blew her whistle. It was a gross display of PDA me and myfiance who are very out and proud to be lesbians were not asked to leave or have a whistle blown at us. And we stole a few kisses. The guard never asked those two to leave either . Sounds like some people just want attention.

  • Monti da Geocacher

    Learn the rules and behave. Quit blame shifting and take responsibility for your actions. If you don’t like it, Get out of the pool and the facilities. There are families and kids there and they don’t need to be exposed to your behaviours.

    • Michael Aaron

      My, sounds like Monti was there and knows everything that went on. Name calling in comments is generally against the rules. “Learn the rules and behave”

  • Justin

    They’re gross looking anyways, I wouldn’t want to see them on each other in a dark room, let alone bathing suits.

  • Linda king

    I live in a free country and if I want to huge and kiss my husband and child in public in an appropriate manner I will that is what my family and other men and woman fight for there is no reason children should not see love don’t they see enough fighting and killing on tv and the news there is nothing wrong with showing public affection in they proper way in front of kids and other people.

  • Natalie

    What a sad society we live in. Oh let me guess I’m racist now right? I like the island idea!!!

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