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Elderly Lesbian Couple Loses Discrimination Lawsuit Against Retirement Home

An elderly lesbian couple in Missouri have lost a discrimination case against a retirement home that refused to house them after finding out they were a married gay couple, reports St. Louis Public Radio.


The couple, Mary Walsh, 72, and Bev Nance, 68, put down a $2000 deposit to secure a place at the Friendship Village of Sunset Hills only to be refused because of a “cohabitation policy” that restricted the definition of marriage as “the union of 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,” says Julie Wilensky from the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), who represented them in their lawsuit. “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.”


A Missouri district court dismissed the case on the basis of discrimination, as the state currently has no laws against LGBT+ discrimination, “Under these circumstances, the Court finds the claims boil down to those of discrimination based on sexual orientation rather than sex alone.”


“We are disappointed by the court’s decision,” Walsh said in a statement. “Bev and I are considering our next steps, and will discuss this with our attorneys.”

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