Same-sex couple suing Boulder property owner

Posted at 12:29 AM, Jan 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-15 02:29:03-05

A Colorado couple is suing a Gold Hill property owner for discrimination after they were allegedly denied the rental of a home because of their sexual orientation. 

Rachel and Tonya Smith, who have been married for more than five years and who have two children, ages six and two, said they are suing Deepika Avanti, the property owner, after reportedly receiving an email where Avanti told them she would not be renting the home because she thought their "unique relationship" would jeopardize her standing in the community.

“We were hoping to find something where they could play outside,” said Rachel Smith, a transgender woman. “We loved the property. Absolutely gorgeous." 

But Avanti said this is all a big misunderstanding.

“I had four lesbian roommates that [sic] I lived with,” Avanti told Denver7 reporter Kristen Skovira, adding that she is the "most liberal person on the planet."

Avanti stated her decision had nothing to do with the couple's sexual identity, but everything to do with peace and quiet. She said in a group living situation, two kids would be too much.

“I have no problem living with communities with people of every background,” she said.

The Smiths said they thought they would not run into problems if they searched in Boulder or the surrounding areas for a home. 

“Horribly frightened. We'd already been looking for quite some time. We thought that Boulder would be a safer place for us because it does tend to be more liberal,” said Rachel.

If Tonya and Rachel are successful, they are asking that the property owner complete fair housing training classes and pay punitive damages.

Avanti said she has been out of town and is still reeling from the news of the lawsuit.


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