N.J. Civil Group Found to Discriminate Against Lesbian Couple
A New Jersey agency found on Tuesday that an organization based in Ocean Grove, N.J., discriminated against a lesbian couple when it refused to allow them to hold a civil ceremony on its boardwalk pavilion in 2007, the Asbury Park Press reports.
The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association prohibited Harriet Bernstein, 70, and her partner Lusia Paster, 60, from holding their civil union ceremony on the Ocean Grove public boardwalk five years ago when they denied the couple’s application to use the facility.
The women sued the group and in January, they saw a victory when a judge ruled in their favor and found that the organization violated the state’s Law Against Discrimination, EDGE reported.
The association allowed other citizens to use the facility and never refused them a permit unless there were scheduling conflicts, according to Judge Solomon A. Metzger of the Office Administrative Law. But EDGE pointed out in September 2007 that the organization did turn away Janice Moore and Emily Sonnessa and another lesbian couple the use of the pavilion.
The state division of civil rights director Craig Sashihara upheld Metzger’s decision and wrote that the organization violated the anti-discrimination measure that protects members of the LGBT community.
"The laws of New Jersey prevailed," Bernstein told the newspaper. "We’re delighted."