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Fogel and Daniels v University Townhouses

#W91-07 | Location: Ann Arbor | Court Level: State | Settlement: Non-disclosed

Categories: Co-op, Marital Status, Sex, Sexual Orientation
Tags: Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, Gay, Lesbian

Carla Daniels and Gretchen Fogel, a lesbian couple, have been a family for 15 years. In March of 1991 the couple went to apply for a unit at University Townhouses, a cooperative in Ann Arbor. According to the lawsuit filed in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, Fogel and Daniels were told that they must be related by blood or law in order to qualify for entrance into the co-op. The application at University Townhouses Cooperative states: “The family is understood to be two or more people related by blood or law. Unmarried couples (male & female) constitute family also.”

The suit, filed in March 1994 by Cooperating Attorney Helen Gallagher, alleges violations of the Michigan Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act and the City of Ann Arbor Human Rights Ordinance. The Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act bans discrimination based on sex and marital status and the City of Ann Arbor Human Rights Ordinance prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. This case is believed to be the first time that marital status and sex provisions of the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act were used to uphold the housing rights of a same sex couple. The case is assigned to Chief Judge Melinda Morris.

According to the settlement agreement University Townhouses will “treat same sex couples in the same matter as it treats unmarried couples for the purpose of accepting and acting on applications for membership…” and will pay the couples’ moving expenses provided they are approved. The agreement also calls for an undisclosed cash settlement to FHC complainants to resolve their complaint of discrimination based on sex, marital status, and sexual orientation.

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