Ohio Civil Rights Commission Backs Landlord's Renting Policy

David Grey, 53, has denied occupancy to numerous unmarried couples during the 25 years he has rented housing because, as a Christian, he believes cohabitation before marriage is wrong.

A year ago in October, an unmarried couple who were potential tenants claimed religious discrimination and challenged Grey's moral convictions by filing a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. However, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission dismissed the case in August, stating "such denial even if based on [Grey's] religious belief does not constitute unlawful discrimination under state housing discrimination laws"

Danielle Levingston, the tenant filing the complaint, meanwhile, says she will appeal the case with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union. "Landlords should only look at credit when screening applicants," says Levingston, 28.

However, Grey's attorney, David Langdon, says Ohio fair housing laws don't protect cohabiting couples, and landlords may choose not to rent to unmarried couples.

Michael Hernandez, 40, a law professor at Regent University in Virginia Beach, says, "The real issue is about whether the law should force someone to violate his conscience."

December Home