Mary Walsh, 68, and Bev Nance, 72, have been legally married about 10 years They have been a couple for about 40 years. And yet earlier this month, a federal judge in Missouri ruled in favor of a the Friendship Village senior living facility, which had rejected the women’s application for an apartment there because their marriage is not “understood in the Bible,” according to ABC News.
Julie Wilensky, the attorney representing Walsh and Nance in their lawsuit against Friendship Village, said the women wanted to move to the facility because they had friends already living there and because it would allow them to “stay together there for the rest of their lives.”
But officials at the not-so-friendly Friendship Village the facility does not “condone” homosexuality and that only married couples consisting of “one man and one woman” are allowed there.
Nancy and Walsh’s lawsuit alleges “discrimination on the basis of sex,” but Judge Jean C. Hamilton said “sexual orientation rather than sex lies at the heart of the plaintiffs’ claims.”
Judge Jean C. Hamilton, however, provided a different view of the case’s merits.
Hamilton then dismissed the couple’s claim on the basis that the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Missouri and other Midwestern states, ruled in 1989, in Williamson v. A.G. Edwards& Sons, that existing federal civil rights law “does not prohibit discrimination against homosexuals.”
As ABC News points out, the 1989 case is being currently challenged in court in a lawsuit, Horton v. Midwest Geriatric Management, and the U.S. Supreme Court is debating whether to hear appeals on several cases addressing whether federal laws banning “sex discrimination” also apply to cases like this.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS, state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, last week introduced House Bill 1035, which would allow people to cite their own religious beliefs as justification for discriminating against people they don’t like, i.e. lesbians, gay men, transgender people, people of color, women, people of different religions, left-handed people — whomever.
— Tammye Nash