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Judge rules against elderly lesbian couple rejected by St. Louis retirement home

Posted at 10:18 AM, Jan 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-18 11:18:04-05

A federal court has ruled against a lesbian couple who brought a lawsuit against a Missouri retirement home that rejected the women’s apartment application because their marriage is not “understood in the Bible.”

Bev Nance, 68, and Mary Walsh, 72, married a decade ago in Massachusetts and have been in a committed relationship for roughly 40 years.

NBC News reports when they applied to move into the Friendship Village senior living facility in St. Louis, Mo., they did so “because it is in their community, they have friends there, and it offers services that would allow them to stay together there for the rest of their lives,” said Julie Wilensky, an attorney representing the couple.

But once Friendship Village staff found that Nance and Walsh are married, they told the couple that they were not allowed to move in, because the home did not condone homosexuality. The letter they received said that the only married couples they accepted were those in unions between “one man and one woman.”

The couple sued, alleging “discrimination on the basis of sex,” and their case was finally decided this week by a federal court in Missouri, which found “sexual orientation rather than sex lies at the heart of Plaintiffs’ claims.” The ruling was released on Wednesday.

LGBTQ groups decried the outcome, and the couple’s lawyers said: “we disagree with the court’s decision, and our clients are considering next steps.”