Court hearing appeal in potentially landmark lesbian case

CHICAGO (AP) _ A court will hear oral arguments in a 70-year-old lesbian’s bid to revive her lawsuit alleging a Chicago-area senior living facility did nothing to stop residents from hurling slurs, spitting at her and physically harassing her.

Marsha Wetzel says she was harassed because of her sexual orientation. Tuesday’s 7th U.S. Court of Appeals hearing in one of the first-of-its-kind lawsuits comes a year after a lower court dismissed Wetzel’s suit. If it’s reinstated, it could help establish that federal Fair Housing Act protections extend to LGBT tenants.

Wetzel’s partner of 30 years died in 2013 and Wetzel moved to Niles’ Glen Saint Andrew Living Community. One resident allegedly told her “homosexuals will burn in hell.”

The lower court concluded Wetzel hadn’t shown administrators displayed “any discriminatory animus, motive or intent.”