June 2019 Church & State Magazine - June 2019

New Jersey Condo Can’t Restrict Swimming On Basis Of Sex

  Rob Boston

A New Jersey condominium association can’t maintain gender-segregated hours at a community swimming pool, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The lawsuit was brought by the owners of three condos at A Country Place, which is located in Lakewood. Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the three sued after the condominium association fined each of them $50 for using the pool during times when it was restricted by gender.

The three, Diana and Steve Lusardi and Marie Curto, argued that the rules establishing separate swimming times for men and women were put in place to placate Orthodox Jewish residents, who accounted for the majority of the condo complex’s residents. In court, their attorneys argued that the policy amounted to unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex in violation of federal housing law.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, declaring that the arrangement violated the Fair Housing Act. Ruling in Curto v. A Country Place Condominium Association, the court found “inequitable features” in the association’s rules. For example, women were allotted just three and a half hours of pool time after 5 p.m. on weeknights, while more than 16 hours were reserved for men, reported the Asbury Park Press.

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