Psychic Landlord Couldn't Predict Lawsuit For Discriminating Against Lesbian Couple
A self-professed psychic landlord who declined to rent property to a lesbian couple in Boulder, Colorado last year claims she did not discriminate against the couple in making her decision, which was influenced by a psychic vision that the couple's "uniqueness" would bring chaos to the neighborhood.
Property owner Deepika Avanti told the couple, Rachel and Tonya Smith, in an email in April that their relationship would also blow her "low profile" in the community as a spiritual healer.
The email read in part:
"Your unique relationship would become the town focus, in small towns everyone talks and gossips, all of us would be the most popular subject in town, in this way I could not be a low profile.
[I don't want to] attract the town attention, and there is no way to avoid this having the kids go to (the Gold Hill Elementary) school, and I am not sure they would not be unincluded due to your uniqueness."
The Smiths' filed suit against Avanti with help from Lambda Legal, claiming their civil rights had been violated under the federal Fair Housing Act and the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. They're seeking an unlisted amount of compensatory and punitive damages.
Avanti denied she was homophobic or transphobic (Rachel is trans) in an interview with the Daily Camera after the Smith's filed suit against her. "I'm a psychotherapist. I'm fine with that," she said, adding that she "has a transvestite friend herself."
Instead, Avanti claims she denied renting to the Smiths because their kids would have been "too noisy."
"It had nothing to do with their sexuality or anything like that," Avanti said. "It had to do with noise levels. I live at that house. It would have been too noisy for me. I am one of the housemates there. It was just too many bodies in too small a space."
The Smiths called Avanti's concerns "ridiculous," claiming her back-and-forth caused them emotional distress because they were previously homeless and feared becoming so again.
"It was so much more upsetting, because we had been homeless previously," Rachel said. "We were concerned about having that happen again."