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Ocean Grove organization discriminates against lesbian couple

When people think about modern day discrimination issues here in New Jersey, they will often think of instances of employers discriminating in the workplace and in the hiring process. While it is certainly illegal for employers to discriminate against protected classes, anti-discrimination laws apply to many areas outside of employment--like housing, transportation and commerce, just to name a few.

Just this week it was revealed that an association in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, discriminated against a lesbian couple back in 2007 when it refused to allow the couple to hold a civil union ceremony in their pavilion. A New Jersey state agency said Tuesday that the association's refusal to allow the couple to rent the boardwalk pavilion violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

The only penalty levied against the association is the finding that it has violated anti-discrimination laws, because the couple did not seek financial restitution. If they wanted to do so, the couple could have sought financial damages as is often done in discrimination lawsuits.

The association has, however, faced one form of financial punishment. In 2008, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection denied its request for a tax abatement for the portion of the property that was not made available to all.

The association has since stopped renting the pavilion for wedding ceremonies.

When someone is discriminated against here in New Jersey, it is very important to hold the party or the person who is responsible for the discrimination accountable. One effective way to do this is with a civil claim. A civil action allows a victim a chance not only to obtain compensation for damages, but also to set the record straight, which is a very important step in stamping out discrimination in our state.

Source: Asbury Park Press, "N.J. Civil Group Found to Discriminate Against Lesbian Couple," Jason St. Amand, Oct. 25, 2012

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