The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department has dismissed a civil rights complaint against against a woman in Grand Rapids, Mich., who posted an advertisement at her church last July seeking a Christian roommate.
The complaint filed by the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan.had accused the unidentified 31-year-old woman of posting an ad that "expresses an illegal preference for a Christian roommate, thus excluding people of other faiths."
HUD acknowledged that statements suggesting a preference for one religion are prohibited, but it concluded that the woman in this case didn't violate the law.
"In light of the facts provided and after assessing the unique context of the advertisement and the roommate relationship involved in this particular situation potentially involving the sharing of personal religious beliefs, the Department defers to Constitutional considerations in reaching its conclusion. Accordingly, the Department finds that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the Act was violated in this matter," HUD said.
Joel Oster, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, which represented the woman free of charge, had described the case as "outrageous."
"Clearly this woman has a right to pick and choose who she wants to live with," he said. "Christians shouldn't live in fear of being punished by the government for being Christians. It is completely absurd to try to penalize a single Christian woman for privately seeking a Christian roommate at church -- an obviously legal and constitutionally protected activity."