INVESTIGATORS: Board ends discriminatory policy following 10 News report

10:28 PM, Aug 22, 2013   |    comments
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Sarasota, Florida -- It's a story that gained national attention after our 10 News Investigators uncovered a condominium association that refused to allow unmarried gay or straight couples to buy a unit.

On Thursday afternoon, the board of the Casa Di Amici condos in Venice struck the unmarried couple policy and said two adults in any kind of relationship would be allowed to be there.

While there is still some disagreement over whether it was an inadvertent mistake or a direct slap at straight or gay unmarried couples, the board -- which took some heat since our story -- said it had to reverse the policy.

As the board's attorney Dan Lobeck noted, the name of the condo is "Casa Di Amici," which translates into "House of Friends." Lobeck says the board wants the condo to be a friendly, welcoming place.

But the way Florida law is written, the discrimination against gay and straight unmarried couples is perfectly legal.

Lobeck says the reversal in the policy "is being corrected by the association not because the law requires it, but because it is the right thing to do." Lobeck adds, "And that's the focus now, and I hope that would be the focus going forward."

The woman who challenged the policy, Julia Nowak, is delighted with the reversal. But she's still bothered that what the condo association was doing didn't break any state law. 

She says, "Yes, this was totally legal. That's the next step, we have to make it not legal. We have to do something to make sure this cannot happen anywhere. There can't be a misunderstanding, there has to be laws that protect everybody."

Nowak says she believes the state should have a human rights ordinance that would outlaw this type of discrimination. Several communities have already passed such a law which would have made the policy illegal.

In Sarasota County, where the condo is located, has no such ordinance. All the owners in the condo have to vote to approve the change that the board approved on Thursday. That is expected to happen within the next 45 days.

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