EVANSVILLE — A same-sex couple who were denied rental housing in Evansville because of their sexual orientation won their complaint this week against a company that says God, not government, is the final authority.

The Evansville-Vanderburgh County Human Relations Commission ruled in favor of Kimberly and Chasity Scott in their 2020 filing, while Myers Family Rentals, the subject of the Scotts' complaint, was hit with $41,000 in civil penalties and damages.

It's not uncommon for cases alleging bias for sexual orientation or gender identity to be filed with the commission. The Scotts' case, however, was the first to reach a public hearing after an initial probable cause finding, Executive Director Diane Clements-Boyd said.

The Scotts said they were discriminated against based on Vanderburgh County's Fair Housing Ordinance, which is a companion to federal and Indiana fair housing laws.

Vanderburgh County's ordinance delegates the local Human Relations Commission to investigate fair housing complaints.

In ruling in favor of the Scotts, the Human Relations Commission said Myers Family Rentals committed a "discriminatory practice" in violation of the county's Fair Housing Ordinance when the company refused to offer or negotiate a rental agreement.

The commission's 6-0 ruling said Myers Family Rental essentially admitted the house would have been rented if the Scotts had been a heterosexual couple.

According to the ruling, Myers Family Rentals must: 

  • • Pay $16,000 in civil penalties to the Human Relations Commission.
  • • Pay $15,000 in damages to the Scotts for the couple's "increased gas, mileage and utility charges incurred as a result of being denied this housing opportunity."
  • • Pay $5,000 to Kimberly Scott and $5,000 to Chasity Scott for emotional distress caused by (the company's) discriminatory practices."
  • • Cease and desist all practices that violate local, state and federal laws.

Myers Family Rentals conducts business in Arizona and in Evansville. Luke Myers, who lives in Arizona, emailed this statement to the Courier & Press regarding the Human Relations Commission's ruling: "Throughout the matter, the City has denied the authority of God and appealed only to legislation as a final authority. Denying God as final authority and asserting man as final authority, the City's ruling effectively forbids the practice of the Christian religion where God is the authority and seeks to impose the practice of the religion of secular humanism, or statism where the individual, or the state, is the authority of final appeal. First Amendment objections were raised from the beginning, but the City issued their final order without touching them."

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