US ‘Christian roommate’ complaint thrown out

Fri, 5 Nov 2010

An American woman who placed an advert in her church for a Christian roommate has had a complaint against her dismissed.

The unnamed single woman from Michigan had been landed with a civil rights complaint for the advert and was facing a big fine.

But following intervention from a leading US religious liberty group, which had labelled the case “absurd”, the complaint against the 31-year-old woman was thrown out.

Frivolous

Joel Oster, from the Alliance Defense Fund legal group, welcomed the decision, saying it was right that the “frivolous complaint” had been dismissed.

“Anti-religious groups wanting to confine Christians and their beliefs within the four walls of their church or home cannot also invade those very walls by forcing their own ideas upon Christians through threats of severe punishment”, Mr Oster said.

ADF had written to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights calling for the case to be dismissed, saying neither federal nor state law prohibited the woman from seeking a Christian roommate.

In response the US Department of Housing and Urban Development dismissed the case, saying there was “no reasonable cause” for a civil rights complaint in this particular situation.

Concern

ADF has now raised concerns about the “anti-discrimination” law that was used in the case, adding that the group may file a lawsuit to attempt to strike the legislation down.

ADF has also highlighted a contract between the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan, which issued the civil rights complaint, and the city authority of Grand Rapids, in Michigan.

The contract states that the center will be paid for submitting a specific number of complaints reporting “discrimination”, ADF says.

Incentive

Mr Oster commented: “There is real concern when a special interest group like this center has a financial incentive from the city to file various complaints. This complaint should have never been brought.

“It is borderline frivolous to suggest that a single lady can be fined by the government simply for seeking a Christian female roommate to share her 900-square-foot house.”