New Jersey sides with lesbian couple in discrimination case against Methodist Church association

We reported in August 2007 that a New Jersey couple was pursuing a civil rights complaint against a Methodist Church association that refused to allow them to use it’s campgrounds for their civil union ceremony. Harriet Bernstein (left) and Luisa Paster are at the center of the lawsuit.

Now the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights ruled that the couple can move forward with a discrimination complaint against Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association.

Since Ocean Grove regularly offered the pavilion to the broader public, it’s bound by the state Law Against Discrimination from barring civil unions, division director J. Frank Vespa-Papaleo ruled. Because its action was voluntary, he added, use of the discrimination statute does not impair the association’s “free exercise of religion.”

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