Married lesbian couple rejected from retirement community win lawsuit
The lesbian couple, who were told in 2018 that they would not be welcome at the Friendship Retirement Village have reached a settlement.
A lesbian couple who have been together for over 40 years has won a legal battle after they were refused entry into a retirement village together because they are married.
Mary Walsh, 74, and Bev Nance, 70, applied for a house in the Friendship Village senior living community in Sunset Hills, Missouri, where a number of their friends already live.
The couple attended a viewing in July 2016 and had put a $2,000 deposit on a home, however, their application was rejected.
They were told: “Your request to share a single unit does not fall within the categories permitted by the long-standing policy of Friendship Village Sunset Hills.”
Owners stated their cohabitation policy only extends to opposite-sex married couples citing their belief is that marriage is “the union of one man and one woman, as marriage is understood in the Bible.”
Mary and Bev were shocked by this as a couple who have been together since 1978 and married since 2009. They sued Friendship Village alleging housing discrimination but their case was dismissed with a judge finding that the discrimination was not illegal.
The brave couple did not give up and their case was reinstated in July 2019 following the landmark US Supreme Court ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination, applies to cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The lesbian couple got their victory on 8 December 2020, having reached a confidential settlement with the retirement village.
“This has been a harrowing experience and one that I hope no other same-sex couple has to face,” Walsh said after the ruling was announced. “Bev and I are relieved that this case is now behind us and that we have closure after our lives were thrown into chaos.”
Mary and Bev’s focus now is only “on their health and each other,” and trying to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Online LGBT+ Bookstore Our Community’s Been Asking For
Queer Lit is a new and exciting LGBT+ Bookstore who’s finally given the community somewhere online to discover over 1000 LGBT+ titles. If you want to learn more about LGBT+ Literature, you won’t have much luck heading into your local high street. Even the “Largest Book Shop in The North” doesn’t offer you a “safe place” to find out about LGBT+ books.
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Matthew Cornford – Managing Director
Matthew has over 15 years of retail management and operations with some very big brands, he’s got the experience, passion and vision to make Queer Lit something really special.
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This year there was a very different World AIDS Day Vigil. If you missed it you can watch the Vigil in full here. The vigil offered a moment of reflection, a chance to remember and an opportunity to look to the future.
Merry Christmas from The Jingle Belles