LANSING, Michigan, August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Stripped of her Planet Fitness membership three years ago for complaining about a man who thinks he’s a woman in the women’s locker rooms, a Michigan woman is still seeking justice.
But she’s a lot closer due to a victory in the Michigan Court of Appeals last week. With that ruling, her legal team is hoping to be able to get a favorable decision from a Midland Circuit Court judge before the end of this year.
“[The appellate court] pretty much ruled that we won based on the Michigan Consumer Protection Act,” said attorney Dave Kallman in an interview. “We’ll be filing our motion in the next two to three weeks … [and] be heard by the end of September, early October.”
It’s been a long, discouraging process for Yvette Cormier. She and her family have received threats of violence on the family’s phone, said her attorney.
Certainly, a small sampling of the backlash by the LGBTQ community is up for anyone to see online.
On Hornet, a gay social network, Cormier has been derided as a transphobe. On Twitter, user Dwayne Hoover wrote, “F*** you, Yvette.” On Twitter, transsexual that goes by the name of Athena Addams accused Cormier of discriminating “against a trans woman for using the locker room.” Facebook user Keith Phillipson penned, “Effing backwoods hicks.”
Here’s what the court documents reveal.
In late February, Cormier had only been a member of the Planet Fitness in Midland, Michigan for a month when she walked into the women’s locker room and saw a man who identified as a “woman,” a so-called "transgendered" person, there. Local news website mlive.com has identified the man as "Carlotta" Sklodowska.
Front desk staff at the gym dismissed Cormier’s complaints, telling her Planet Fitness’ policy is to allow members to have access to whatever locker room corresponds with their self-identified gender. The company’s management backed that up.
Unsatisfied, Cormier began to warn other women over the next few days.
And Planet Fitness responded by yanking her membership.
A legal battle ensued.
Cormier took Planet Fitness to court for invasion of privacy, sexual harassment, breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and Michigan Consumer Protection Act violations.
But the Midland Circuit Court threw out her case - the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed.
According to the appellate court, Planet Fitness’ policy of allowing biological men to undress in women’s locker rooms was not sufficient grounds to conclude Cormier had suffered emotional distress.
“Transgender rights and policies are polarizing issues and each individual may have a feeling on the issue and on what locker room such individuals should be using,” wrote the three appellate court justices in their decision. “Regardless of whether an average member of the community may find the policy outrageous, the fact is that plaintiff did not suffer severe emotional distress as a matter of law.”
In the Supreme Court of Michigan, the case was bounced back to the appellate court so that it could re-examine Cormier’s claims of consumer protection act violations.
At the Christian Liberty Counsel ministry, the Supreme Court of Michigan’s ruling was received with enthusiasm.
“We commend the Michigan Supreme Court in this decision against Planet Fitness which is endangering women by allowing men in the women's facilities and punishing those who object,” said Mat Staver, the organization’s founder and chairman.
“This is a safety issue for women who understandably do not want to share a locker room with men. This is also discrimination based on sex and violation of state law. Planet Fitness cannot have secret policies and expect to get away with it," he said.
During the drawn-out, legal battle, many of the claims made by Cormier have been thrown out of court. Her claims that Planet Fitness violated certain parts of the state’s consumer protection laws, though, remain.
It’s those claims the Midland Circuit Court will have to decide later this year.
If that court decision goes in Cormier’s favor, she will likely be able to get back the cost of her Planet Fitness membership – but nothing else – and Planet Fitness would then be stuck with all the legal costs. There is no longer any possibility of Cormier getting awarded anything from the court for any damage to her reputation or other, emotional losses.
Throughout North America, so-called “transgender rights” vary greatly from place to place.
Despite repeated attempts by LGBTQ activists and some legislators, Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act does not include sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression in its list of prohibited grounds for discrimination.
According to Kallman, public sentiment in that state is overwhelmingly in favor of keeping men who identify as women out of women’s locker rooms and bathrooms.
“I don’t think there’s anyone out there that thinks it’s alright for their 15-year-old daughter to be showering with a biologically-intact, 40-year-old man,” he said.