Posting an ad at your church that you are looking for a Christian roommate is evidently illegal in West Michigan. Last July a 31-year-old woman did just that and is now facing a civil rights complaint that could include a punishment of several hundreds of dollars in fines and fair housing training.
“It’s a violation to make, print or publish a discriminatory statement, states Fair Housing Center of West Michigan Executive Director, Nancy Haynes. She adds: “There are no exemptions to that.”
The civil rights complaint filed against the roommate-seeking woman read in part that her advertisement “expresses an illegal preference for a Christian roommate, thus excluding people of other faiths.”
The woman’s attorney, Joel Oster, called the case “outrageous.” He continued: “Clearly this woman has a right to pick and choose who she wants to live with. It is completely absurd to try to penalize a single Christian woman for privately seeking a Christian roommate at church—an obviously legal and constitutionally protected activity.”
Oster is an attorney that works with Alliance Defense Fund and they will be defending the woman free of charge. The Fair Housing Center of West Michigan is not backing down, however, claiming that they “want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Harold Core, Michigan Department of Civil Rights, told the Grand Rapids Press that the Fair Housing Act prevents people from publishing an advertisement stating their preference of religion, race or handicap with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling.
The complaint was filed by a person who saw the ad with the words “Christian Roommate Wanted” on the church bulletin board and then complained to the Fair Housing authorities. It appears that political correctness now extends to who you can choose as a roommate.
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The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) has released a statement distancing themselves from this situation. They MDCR has returned the complaint to Housing and Urban and Development. To read their statement go here.