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Supreme Court of the United States

Case Dropped Against Michigan Woman Seeking Christian Roommate

October 17, 2017

Sanity has been restored – for now.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has dropped its case against the 31-year-old Michigan woman who was being charged with housing discrimination for seeking a Christian female roommate.

This case was absurd from the beginning.  Our client, a single lady living in Grand Rapids, Michigan, wanted to share her house with another female roommate who was also a Christian.  So she placed a note card on the bulletin board of her church, stating, “I am looking for a female Christian roommate.”

This should be seen as nothing out of the ordinary.  This lady wanted to share her house with someone, and by so doing, wanted her “roomie” to be someone who would encourage her in her Christian walk.  She wanted to be able to talk about her faith with her roommate, pray together, and read the Bible together.

She most certainly did not want to be living with someone who would constantly be tearing her down in her faith or trying to convert her to another faith.  Your walls are your fortress.  It should shock no one that she wanted to be with someone of the same faith behind the walls of her home.

But what was shocking is that the government thought it could step in and tell Ms. Tricia who she can and cannot seek in a roommate!  Apparently the right to privacy does not extend to choosing who you share your one bathroom with in your home.

We kept telling the media that eventually, someone in Michigan would come to their senses and drop this case.  And on October 28, HUD did drop this case, stating, “in 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 personal religious beliefs, the Department defers to Constitutional considerations in reaching its conclusion.  Accordingly, the Department finds that there is No Reasonable Cause to believe that the Act was violated in this matter.”

Or did it?  Because in the same letter, HUD states that if the allegations in the complaint are “proven, the allegation would constitute a violation of Section 804(c) of the Act.”  Furthermore, HUD then gives permission for the complainant to sue our client in federal court!  “Notwithstanding this determination by the Department, the Fair Housing Act provides that Complainant may file a civil action in an appropriate federal district court or state court within two years … of the alleged discriminatory housing practice.”

So Ms. Tricia now has to wait 2 years to learn if the complainant – the Fair Housing Center of Western Michigan – plans to sue her for her supposed discriminatory actions.

We at ADF are not satisfied with this conclusion.  We are pleased that HUD had the senses to stop their investigation.  But our client should not have to live on pins and needles over the next 2 years wondering if she will be hauled into court for seeking a female Christian roommate.  Consequently, we are considering all of her legal options to set the record straight.

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Alliance Defending Freedom

Alliance Defending Freedom

Non-profit organization

Alliance Defending Freedom advocates for your right to freely live out your faith


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