by: Kevin McCarty Updated:Auburn, Wash. —
A single mother in Auburn said when she and another woman planned to take their daughters to the annual daddy-daughter dance held by Auburn's Parks and Recreation Department in February, she was told she couldn't attend. "They said that we can't go because we're women," said Tiffany Whittaker. "They said it is a daddy-daughter dance, not a mother-daughter."
Whittaker said her daughters were looking forward to a night of dressing up and dancing. "My kids were excited and now they can't go and they're heartbroken, and I have to explain that to them."
Parks and Recreation Director Daryl Faber explained that's the way the event has been for years, and it's too late to change it now. "The program is exclusive in that it's a daddy-daughter event," he said.
Whittaker decided she wasn't taking no for an answer. She organized an online petition drive to drum up support for a similar event that would include single mothers, fathers and same-sex couples. "It's discrimination in my opinion. I have a lot of friends that are in same-sex relationships, and they wouldn't be able to take their kids and that's heartbreaking." But even though her petition has collected only a handful of supporters, Whittaker's efforts may already be paying off. Faber said the Parks and Recreation Department is already looking into adding an event open to all parents. And he said it was Whittaker's determination that convinced his department to do it. "We're glad to have her input and the petition. It had never come to our attention before," he said.