Lesbian Couple Sues Neighbors for Bias

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com March 10 2014 6:08 PM ET

A lesbian couple in Vermont are suing officials in their town after reportedly experiencing more than a decade of discrimination from neighbors.

Barbara Ernst and Barbara Supeno, who have been together for 21 years, bought lakefront property in Addison, Vt., in 2004. In their lawsuit, filed last week, the couple said town leaders have been attempting to push them out ever since they moved in, according to Burlington TV station WPTZ.

The couple's suit focuses largely on conflicts they have had over zoning and property. Two public meetings where held in 2008 regarding a fence they had installed, but they say they were not notified about the meetings. The complaint also says Supeno faced a $100 fine for installing an accessibility ramp for her mother. Also, they claim that anonymous bullies circulated a letter about the couple three years ago, which stated they were scam artists. Their attorney says the problems they've faced are rooted in antigay bias.

"It's entirely based on their sexual orientation," attorney David Bond said. "Neighbors insulted them, made obscene gestures to them. There were dead animals left on their property."