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7th Circuit Holds Housing Providers May Be Liable for Anti-LGBT Abuse of Residents

( Chicago, August 27, 2018 ) — In a case closely watched by both LGBT and housing rights advocates, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit today overturned a lower court ruling and held that Glen St. Andrew Living Community in Niles, Illinois, can be held accountable for purposefully failing to protect lesbian senior Marsha Wetzel from the harassment, discrimination and violence she suffered at the hands of other residents because of her sex and sexual orientation.

"This is a tremendous victory for Marsha," said Karen Loewy, Lambda Legal Senior Counsel and Seniors Strategist. "She, just like all people living in rental housing, whether LGBT or not, should be assured that they will at least be safe from discriminatory harassment in their own homes. What happened to Marsha was illegal and unconscionable, and the Court has now put all landlords on notice that they have an obligation to take action to stop known harassment.

"This duty is particularly clear for senior living facilities like Glen St. Andrew, whose staff are entrusted and paid to provide a safe living environment for seniors, including LGBT residents. We are grateful that the Court understood and reinforced that understanding."

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