A civil rights complaint accusing a Michigan woman of illegal housing discrimination has been dropped by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
Tricia Rowe, of Alger Heights, Michigan had posted a notice on her church bulletin board seeking “a female Christian roommate” to share living expenses in her home.
The Fair Housing Center of West Michigan, a private group who state their mission as “the eliminating of practices of illegal housing discrimination and promote open, diverse communities through education and advocacy,” filed z complaint against Rowe, saying advertising for a Christian roommate “expresses an illegal preference for a Christian roommate, thus excluding people of other faiths.”
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) took up the case and sent a letter to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights asking that what they called the “groundless complaint” be immediately dismissed.
ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster commented that, “Christians shouldn’t live in fear of being punished by the government for being Christians. 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.”
After the Michigan Department of Civil Rights was reportedly swamped with calls from an outraged public when the case became known, the complaint was sent to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for investigation.
HUD promptly reviewed the case and dropped it.
“[I]n light of the facts provided and after assessing the unique context of the advertisement and the roommate relationship involved in this particular situation potentially involving the sharing of religious beliefs, the Department defers to Constitutional considerations in reaching its conclusion,” the HUD decision stated.
Mr. Oster praised the HUD decision, saying in this instance “common sense prevailed.”
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