For Now, Government Still Lets You Pick Your Own Roommate

The people of the United States ordained a Constitution of limited government. As time passes, the people have more of the “government” and less of the “limited.” Americans must work at maintaining their freedoms. Defense of the constitutional freedom of association involved in choosing roommates to share housing illustrates the effort required. Government has attempted to regulate our ability to choose a roommate, but efforts to resist that intrusion pay off in preserved liberty.

Tricia Rowe, a 31-year-old single woman who owned a three bedroom, single-family house, wanted a roommate. She posted on a church bulletin board a notice that said, “I am looking for a female Christian roommate. Rent is $375/mo, which includes utilities.”

On Thursday, July 15, 2010, an overcast day in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Elizabeth Vezino of an organization calling itself the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan filed a complaint stating under oath that she believed that Ms. Rowe’s roommate-wanted notice expressed “an illegal preference for a Christian roommate, thus excluding people of other faiths.” The Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) went into high gear.



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