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Plaintiffs in Bay View case allege religious discrimination continues, despite bylaw change

Pat (Cletch) Williams

Briefs filed in federal court Tuesday allege a small northern Michigan community has continued a practice of religious discrimination, despite making a bylaw change saying they would stop..

The Bay View community voted to change its bylaws just last month to remove a religious requirement for home ownership in the exclusive resort community.

But now an attorney for the plaintiffs in a federal case against the resort says the community never intended to change.

She’s provided the court with an email from Bay View’s president, sent four days after the new bylaw passed, telling the membership committee that it would have to “step up as gatekeeper of Bay View’s Christian Culture”. 

Plaintiff Attorney Sarah Prescott said it could not be clearer “The direction of the president speaking on behalf of the board is ‘we’re keeping this a Christian community. Period.’”

Exhibit K from Plaintiffs brief (1st page)

Bay View has since rescinded that email saying it would develop policies for membership “in full compliance with all applicable law.”

But, Prescott said, she believes the organization has already made its intent clear.

Lawyers for Bay View did not respond for comment. 

It’s not clear when the judge will respond to the briefs.