Federal judge rules against senior lesbians denied housing by a retirement home

Ra'eesah Manack
Jan 19, 2019
04:02 P.M.
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A Judge rules against elderly lesbians Bev Nance and Mary Walsh who were denied an apartment in Missouri’s Friendship Village.


According to elderly lesbians Bev Nance and Mary Walsh they were denied housing at the Friendship Village. They are claiming it is because their marriage is not “understood in the Bible.”A federal judge this week ruled against a lesbian couple. The couple was attempting to sue the Missouri retirement home for rejecting their apartment application. 


Bev Nance, 68, and Mary Walsh, 72, were married a decade ago in Massachusetts. They've been together in a committed relationship for over 40 years.

They recently decided to move and applied to move into the Friendship Village senior living facility. They wanted a safe place to stay together and make friends.


They went on to reveal that they applied  “because it is in their community, they have friends there, and it offers services that would allow them to stay together there for the rest of their lives,” said Julie Wilensky, an attorney representing the couple.

However, the Friendship Village staff found out Nance and Walsh are married. They apparently told the couple that they were not allowed to move in, because the home did not condone homosexuality.


The home sent them a letter which stated that the only married couples they accepted were those in unions between "one man and one woman." It went on to explain they did not condone the relationship between the two ladies.

The couple sued the home, alleging “discrimination on the basis of sex.” A federal judge in Missouri ruled on Wednesday that "sexual orientation rather than sex lies at the heart of Plaintiffs’ claims.”


LGBTQ groups were horrified by the outcome of the court case. They immediately took to social media in support of the elderly ladies.

The couple’s lawyers said, “we disagree with the court’s decision, and our clients are considering next steps.”

Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE, which advocates for LGBTQ seniors, said, “This is sex discrimination, and it is against the law.”

“Mary Walsh and Bev Nance were discriminatorily denied admission to the Friendship Village retirement community for one reason only — because they are two women in a committed relationship rather than a woman and a man,” Adams said.