Also Called 'F*cking Faggot' and 'Homosexual B*tch' – Was Hit and Spat On
From 1982 to 2013 Marsha Wetzel lived with her same-sex partner. The couple adopted and raised a son together but were never able to marry. When Judith Kahn died of cancer Wetzel found herself alone. She was evicted from the home they shared because Kahn's family did not support their relationship. And then she became estranged from the son they both had raised.
A social worker placed Wetzel in a retirement facility, the Glen St. Andrew Living Community in Nies, Illinois, The Washington Post reports.
Everything was fine until she let the other seniors know she was a lesbian.
“When I first got here, I started meeting the people. It was great making all these new friends, and I thought, hey, this isn’t bad,” Wetzel, 70, tells Lambda Legal in a video (below). “And then, it changed.”
Lambda Legal says, "After she disclosed to other residents that she had been in a 30-year relationship with a woman and that they had raised a child together, some residents began to harass her, physically attack her and call her names like 'fucking dyke,' 'fucking faggot,' and 'homosexual bitch.'"
Wetzel reported the abuse, which reportedly included being spat on, to facility administrators, but they ignored it. Not only did they ignore it, "the staff marginalized and alienated Marsha and retaliated against her for complaining about the harassment," Lambda Legal notes.
A federal court ruled Wetzel could not sue, but on Monday the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling and ordered the lower court to hear the case.
It's a big win.
Lambda Legal says the 7th Circuit ruled Glen St. Andrew Living Community "can be held accountable for purposefully failing to protect lesbian senior Marsha Wetzel from the harassment, discrimination and violence she suffered at the hands of other residents because of her sex and sexual orientation."
Now she will have her day in court.
"No one should have to endure what I endured because of who I am."
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