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Discrimination on ice: Figure skaters win lawsuit

Two award-winning gay figure skaters won a discrimination suit against East Bay Iceland, Inc., in Berkeley, Calif. The skaters, Alan Lessik and John Manzon-Santos, were told repeatedly by rink management to stop holding hands as they practiced their pair’s routine.

The pair contended that the rink prevented them from practicing their routine for the Gay Games in a complaint filed in Alameda County Superior Court.

Lessik and Manzon-Santos were represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Fred Alvarez, Amy Todd, and Tamara Fisher of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

As part of the settlement, East Bay Iceland will conduct diversity training for all its employees along with placing placards at its rinks in Berkeley, Dublin and Belmont. Additionally, the corporation will make donations to both NCLR and the Federation of Gay Games.

Iceland will issue a public apology while confirming their commitment to equal treatment of all patrons by hosting a monthly Gay-Straight Skate Night in Berkeley and signing the "Tip of the Iceberg" anti-discrimination pledge. The Berkeley rink will offer weekly "pairs preferred" freestyle skating sessions. Manzon-Santos and Lessik shall receive free admission to the sessions for one year, according to a press release by NCLR.

Manzon-Santos and Lessik are not a couple, but plan to compete as a pair in the Gay Games in Chicago in July.