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Lesbian Couple Accuses Town of Addison of Discrimination

The Town of Addison is being accused of discriminating against a lesbian couple.
ADDISON, Vt. - The Town of Addison is being accused of discriminating against a lesbian couple.

That couple filed a lawsuit Wednesday after what they say was years of problems.

Barbara Ernst and Barbara Supeno thought they had found a dream home when they moved to Addison in 2004.

"They enjoyed the natural scenic beauty down in Addison," says David Bond, the couple's attorney.

Bond says the couple soon realized being lesbians made them targets.

In a lawsuit, the couple claims their neighboors harassed them and even worse, the Town of Addison was discriminating.

"Civil rights laws are very favorable in recognizing in that there shouldn't be discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and they never expected they would be moving into this hotbed of hatred," says Bond.

Bond says the couple had to file for bankruptcy as they fought bogus town citations, unfair zoning decisions, and a 300-percent jump in their property taxes.

They blame anti-gay members of the town, including the town selectboard chair, who is also a Baptist pastor.

The selectboard chair says he did not want to comment because he had not received the lawsuit yet. But he says the town treats everybody fairly.

The lawsuit lays out six counts including defamation and sexual orientation discrimination. The couple is asking to be paid for their suffering and for the town to leave them alone.

"Their hope is this lawsuit will change things," says Bond.

The couple says they do not want to move.
   
They are asking for a trial, though it's unclear when this case will first land in court. The defendants including the town, the selectboard chair, and two neighbors still need to be served the lawsuit and get a chance to file a legal response.

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