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Mary Walsh and Bev Nance at their 2009 wedding in Provincetown, Massachusetts. (Facebook/Mary Walsh)

Legal blow

Not ‘understood in the bible’: Judge rules lesbian couple’s exclusion from retirement community is not discriminatory

January 21, 2019

A federal judge struck a blow to the lawsuit of a lesbian couple who were rejected from a Missouri retirement home on the grounds that their relationship  is not “understood in the Bible.”

Bev Nance and Mary Walsh, who have been married for 10 years and together for 40, had applied to rent an apartment at the Friendship Village senior living facility. According to NBC News, they subsequently received a letter from the facility saying that it only accepts applications from couples consisting of “one man and one woman.”

Nance and Walsh filed a lawsuit alleging “discrimination on the basis of sex,” but a federal judge in Missouri dismissed the case on the grounds that it was not a case of gender discrimination. The case could have been considered an instance of discrimination based on sexual orientation, the ruling said, but that is not prohibited by federal fair housing laws. In fact, according to Reuters, only 21 states have explicitly outlawed housing discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.

In 1989, a circuit court of appeals that covers Midwestern states ruled that federal civil rights law “does not prohibit discrimination against homosexuals,” reports NBC. That ruling is currently being challenged by the LGBT advocacy organization Lambda Legal. In the meantime, lawyers for Nance and Walsh say they are “considering next steps.”

Read more at NBC News and Reuters.

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