A Missouri senior living community is being sued by a lesbian couple who allege that it cited the Bible as a justification for denying them housing.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that married couple Mary Walsh, 72, and Bev Nance, 68, are claiming that the St. Louis county-based Friendship Village senior living community wouldn’t let them live in its Sunset Hills community because their relationship violated its policy that married couples at its facilities be “one man and one woman, as marriage is understood in the Bible.”
“Mary and Bev were denied housing for one reason and one reason only — because they were married to each other rather than to men,” said Julie Wilensky, a lawyer for the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights. “This is exactly the type of sex discrimination the Fair Housing Act prohibits. Their story demonstrates the kind of exclusion and discrimination still facing same-sex couples of all ages.”
The couple says that they visited the community multiple times before deciding they wanted to move there, and they say they never got any indication that the community would object to their relationship.
They tried to move to the community in July 2016 and paid a $2,000 deposit, but were subsequently rejected based on the center’s “longstanding policy” of denying housing to same-sex couples.
Friendship Village offered no formal comment on the lawsuit when asked by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and it only acknowledged it was aware that the complaint had been filed.