A resort founded by Methodists in Michigan is being sued because of its policy that only lets Christians own property within its community.
MLive.com reports that the Bay View Association, a cottage resort located in Emmet County, Michigan, is being sued by an organization called the Bay View Chautauqua Inclusiveness Group that objects to its restrictions on who is allowed to own property there.
Founded in 1875, the Bay View Association requires all property owners to be practicing Christians. Additionally, the resort places restrictions on what kinds of Christians can own property, including a quota on the number of Catholics who can own property.
The association even used to have a rule that only white people could own property on the resort, but it officially scrapped that restriction in 1959.
Sarah Prescott, the attorney who is filing the suit against the resort on behalf of the Bay View Chautauqua Inclusiveness Group, tells MLive.com that even some resort members are upset by the rules because they prevent them from passing their cottages onto relatives who are of the “wrong” religion.
Bay View Association Executive Director Mike Spencer defended his organization’s restrictions, although he acknowledged that they might not be popular with many people.
“Like most private associations, there are specific requirements for membership,” he said in an official statement. “Our membership requirements have been part of our history and we understand that some of our members or the general public may disagree with them. The Bay View Association of the United Methodist Church is an ecumenical, private, voluntary membership, organization.”