A Florida condo association that had recently rewritten their bylines in a way that effectively banned non-married couples from buying or leasing in their neighborhood has retracted the policy after an uproar from gay rights groups.
The Casa Di Amici Condominium Association near Sarasota now claims that the policy wasn't meant to ban gay couples, but instead was meant to keep companies from buying up several units in the development.
However, the policy specifically defined a married couple as a husband and wife. Meaning that by the letter of their policies even same-sex couples who had married outside of Florida would not be allowed to own in the development.
"We never wanted to prevent anyone from living here," board member Bill Moniz told The Sarasota Herald-Tribune. "I intend to make this right."
Attorney Dan Lobeck, an attorney who represents the association but did not draft the amendment to the condo declaration, claims that the mistake may have been a simple case of not thinking through the effects of language in the document.
"When I drafted one of my first condominium declarations, it required everyone to go out and buy a dog over 45 pounds," he told the paper. "Mistakes are made and this is a notably regrettable one."
The condo board has now approved changes to the declaration that replaces references to married couples with any two people. Condo owners will vote in the next 45 days to approve the changes.
Because neither Sarasota County, the state of Florida or the federal government has laws which protect LGBT citizens from housing discrimination the former language was perfectly legal. Now local activists in Sarasota County are hoping to pass a human rights ordinance so incidents like this, whether intentional or not, will not happen again.
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