Lesbian couple sues Vermont town alleging decade of threats and discrimination

By David Ferguson
Thursday, March 6, 2014 10:24 EDT
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Barbara Ernst and Barbara Supeno via screencap
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A lesbian couple in Vermont is suing the town where they live alleging more than ten years of harassment, discrimination and intimidation. According to WPTZ.com, Barbara Ernst and Barbara Supeno say that officials in the town of Addison have done everything in their power to try and drive the couple away.

The women — whose friends call them “the Barbaras” — moved into their lakefront home in Addison in 2004. Town leadership, they said, has spent every day since then trying to drive them out.

Their attorney David Bond told Channel 5 that there have been threats, property disputes and bureaucratic harassment over a number of issues, including zoning and environmental issues.

“It’s entirely based on their sexual orientation,” Bond said. “Neighbors insulted them, made obscene gestures to them. There were dead animals left on their property.”

Town officials have issued citations and demanded fines over issues ranging from a fence the women chose to erect around their property and a handicapped access ramp for Supeno’s mother.

Three years ago, an anonymous letter was circulated to the people of Addison alleging that the Barbaras were a pair of scam artists.

In badly mangled English, the letter said, “It has been over 6 years that the Subject two women have been passing themselves off as involved citizens and very concerns about the town direction and in particular with Zoning, the school and the environment. Beware: This is a totally phony perception that they have fabricated is a front to cover their devious and vicious behavior.”

Local Baptist minister Jeff Kaufmann heads the Addison zoning committee. He is named as a codefendant in the case. He declined to comment to WPTZ.

Watch video about this story, embedded below:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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