(CN) - The YMCA does not misrepresent its alleged line of homosexual "brothels" as club focused on Christian family values, the North Carolina Business Court ruled.
Michael Keister and Susan Lewis-Keister had claimed just that in a March 2012 complaint against the National Council of the Young Men's Christian Association of the United States of America dba YMCA of the USA, YMCA of Western North Carolina and five North Carolina YMCA centers.
The Keisters said they signed up for YMCA gym memberships because the club espouses Christian family values. Instead, the couple allegedly found a hotbed of "cruising" activity, wherein gay men "search in public places for a sex partner."
Michael Keister claimed that he two men engaging in appropriate sexual activity in the shower area of a YMCA in Asheville, N.C.
Shortly thereafter, another man in that club's steam room allegedly "revealed his erect penis to Keister and began masturbating energetically while staring at Keister."
Keister said his next interaction in the sauna was full-on assault.
A man allegedly sat down beside Keister and "suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, ... reached over and firmly grabbed Keister's penis, yanking on it, and would not let it go."
"On his final visit to the downtown Asheville YMCA center locker room, a man propositioned Mr. Keister for a New Year's Eve date," the complaint also stated.
The YMCA allegedly failed to stop the illicit activity despite being aware of it for decades while promoting itself as a safe place for families.
Judge John Jolly Jr. of the North Carolina Business Court noted on July 18 that the Keisters apparently settled with the YMCA of Western North Carolina. The parent company was the sole defendant remaining when Jolly considered a motion to dismiss the amended complaint.
He said the motions presents the court with the question of "whether Y-USA's efforts to market YMCAs nationwide as safe, friendly and Christian-oriented environments amount to unfair or deceptive trade practice where the Y-USA was aware of instances of 'cruising' within certain discrete YMCA facilities."
Ultimately, the Keisters did not prove their case, according to the July 18 ruling.
"The court does not read the Y-USA's marketing statements to constitute representations that consumers, as YMCA members, would never be subjected to behavior they might object to within the walls of the YMCA," Judge John Jolly Jr. wrote. "Rather, YMCA facilities are largely public facilities with numerous members and they YMCA cannot entirely control the behavior of members who elect to make use of those facilities. Joining or using a YMCA is no guarantee of avoiding behavior that some consumers might find objectionable. Accordingly, the representations of Y-USA do not have a tendency to deceive consumers." [IMAGE]