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Wetzel v. Glen St. Andrew Living Community

Case Concerning Housing Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

Key Date: August 27, 2018
Status: LGBTQ Claims Resolved in Favor of Plaintiff
Legal Team: Lambda Legal
Type: Housing Discrimination

Case Overview:

Wetzel v. Glen St. Andrew Living Community is a case concerning discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation. The plaintiff is Marsha Wetzel, a woman in Niles, Illinois who experienced harassment and discrimination from residents and administrators at Glen St. Andrew Living Community.

Illinois state law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. The case also seeks recognition that the federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The case is being led by Lambda Legal.

Latest in the Case:

In August 2018 a 3-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court ruled in favor of Wetzel, affirming that discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited under the Fair Housing Act. The panel determines that a 2017 ruling holding that the “sex” discrimination prohibition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also covers employment discrimination based on sexual orientation applies equally to the Fair Housing Act. In November 2018 the defendants in the case sought cert. from the U.S. Supreme Court, but they did not appeal the portions of the case related to sexual orientation as a protected class. 

Case History:

Here’s an overview of key dates and rulings in the case:

  • July 27, 2016: Lambda Legal files a lawsuit against Glen St. Andrew Living Community on behalf of Marsha Wetzel under the United States Fair Housing Act and Illinois Human Rights Act.
  • January 18, 2017: U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan grants Glen St. Andrew Living Community’s motion to dismiss the case.
  • June 12, 2017: Lambda Legal files an appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking to overturn the motion to dismiss.
  • February 6, 2018: The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals hears oral argument in this case.
  • August 27, 2018: A 3-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court affirms that discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited under the Fair Housing Act. The panel determines that a 2017 en banc ruling from the 7th Circuit (which held that the “sex” discrimination prohibition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also covers employment discrimination based on sexual orientation) applies equally to the Fair Housing Act.

Last Updated December 13, 2018

Lambda Legal Case Page Ruling from 7th Circuit Court of Appeals

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