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Lesbian couple settles lawsuit with retirement community

December 9, 2020 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A married lesbian couple has settled a lawsuit against a St. Louis retirement community that refused to let them live there, an attorney for the couple said Wednesday.

Mary Walsh and Bev Nance sued Friendship Village in Sunset Hills in July 2018, alleging they were not permitted to move in because the community’s cohabitation policy defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Tony Rothert, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, which helped handle the case, declined to disclose the terms of the settlement, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

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A lawyer for Friendship Village declined to comment on the settlement, which was filed Tuesday.

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit last year, ruling that the Fair Housing Act does not protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

But the 8th U.S. Court of Appeals remanded the case in July, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from June that said sexual orientation was protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Rothert said after that ruling, “we hope not to see policies like we were challenging here in the future.”