A Minnesota court had upheld the right of a Roman Catholic landlady to refuse to rent a Minneapolis apartment to a couple she maintained was violating "God's law" by living together unmarried.
Judge Archie Gingold of the Ramsey County District Court (St. Paul) overturned a 1977 Minnesota Department of Human Rights decision which held that Marion Balkins, the landlady, violated a state law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of "marital status."
Balkins testified that she rejected the rental application of Alan Everding two years ago after he told her he would be living in the apartment with his girlfriend. According to court records, she refused to rent to him on the grounds that his plans were "against the Ten Commandments" and a violation of her religious beliefs.
Judge Gingold held that Balkins, who was described as a devout Catholic, had expressed "deep and sincere, religious, moral and ethical averseness to the rental of her premises for fornication between two unmarried people." Held that her constitutional right to freedom of expression of religion was paramount in the case.
A report on "Human Sexuality and Sexual Behavior," prepared for the American Lutheran Church, reaffirms the church's traditional teaching "that homosexual erotic behavior violates God's intent."
The 16-page report, which has been submitted to the denomination's 4,850 congregations for study and comment before final action by the national church in 1980, distinguishes between homosexuality and homosexual behavior.
In a related matter in another denomination, the New York United Methodists have petitioned that church's Judicial Council to rule on whether a self-proclaimed homosexual clergyman may serve as a pastor in the church.
The appeal to the church's supreme court grows out of the reappointment last year of the Rev. Paul Abels as pastor of Washington Square United Methodist Church in New York's Greenwich Village.
Methodist discipline precludes ordaining homosexuals to the ministry but offers no guidelines as to what to do about those whose homosexuality becomes known after ordination. The church's New York bishop acquiesced last year when the congregation of the radically oriented Greenwich Village church requested the reappointment of Abels, who has served there for a number of years.