Today: 7th Circuit Hears Argument in Case of Lesbian Senior Who Endured Discrimination

By Adam Polaski • February 6, 2018 • 12:27 pm

Today, February 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit is hearing oral argument in the case of Wetzel v. Glen St. Andrew Living Community, which involves Marsha Wetzel, a lesbian senior suing the Glen St. Andrew Living Community for failing to protect her from harassment, discrimination, and violence waged against her by other residents because of her sexual orientation and sex. The case is led by Lambda Legal.

Marsha Wetzel, Plaintiff for Lambda Legal Case

The case involves claims under the federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits housing discrimination based on sex. A growing legal consensus has found that federal laws (including Title IX of the Education Amendments and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act) that prohibit discrimination based on sex also extend to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Read more about the growing trend in the Freedom for All Americans Litigation Tracker.

Freedom for All Americans has been proud to work with our partners at SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders) to amplify the stories of LGBTQ elders who face discrimination, including people like Marsha Wetzel. No one should face discrimination because of who they are, and LGBTQ seniors should be able to live in peace without fear of harassment and discrimination based on who they are.

The 7th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana, heard the case at 9:30am on Tuesday by a three judge panel of Judge Wood, Judge Kanne, and Judge Hamilton.

In May 2017, a three-judge panel from the 7th Circuit ruled that a school district that restricted restroom access for a transgender student violated Title IX. Previously, the en banc 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an employer that fired a woman because of her sexual orientation violated Title VII, a historic decision.

Read more from Lambda Legal about the Wetzel case. And visit Equality Case Files’ Case Page for the Wetzel case.

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