Mentally disabled couple sues to live together

Published On: May 08 2013 11:29:54 AM EDT
Updated On: May 08 2013 04:29:06 PM EDT

Facebook.com

Two mentally disabled newlyweds and their parents have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit so that they may live as married couple.

Paul Forziano and Hava Samuels got married last month, but the state-sanctioned nonprofits that run the group homes they live in have a strict rule which forbids residents from sharing bedrooms, according to The Associated Press.

The couple and their parents said they have been seeking a solution since 2010 and only filed a lawsuit that after Forziano and Samuels were flat-out refused permission from their respective group homes to live together as husband and wife. "It's not something we wanted to do, it's something we had to do," said Bonnie Samuels, the mother of the bride.

The lawsuit contends Forziano's facility refused because people requiring the services of a group home are by definition incapable of living as married people. Samuels' home refused because it believes she doesn't have the mental capacity to consent to sex.

This case put the Americans With Disabilities Act, which says that "a public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures ... to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability" into the spotlight. The group homes are licensed as nonprofits by the state and receive Medicaid funding on behalf of their clients.

Experts say it is difficult to estimate how many mentally disabled people are married, since states ask no questions about a person's mental capacity on marriage licenses.

Comments

The views expressed below are not those of Click On Detroit, WDIV, or its affiliated companies. By clicking on "Post," you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and your comment is in compliance with such terms. Readers, please help keep this discussion respectful and on topic by flagging comments that are offensive or inappropriate (hover over the commenter's name and you'll see the flag option appear on right side of that line). And remember, respect goes both ways: Tolerance of others' opinions is important in a free discourse. If you're easily offended by strong opinions, you might skip reading comments entirely.

blog comments powered by Disqus