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State Rules Camp Meeting Association Violated Discrimination Laws

Ocean Grove organization in 2007 denied lesbian couple use of boardwalk pavilion for civil union

The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association violated state discrimination laws in 2007 when it denied a same-sex couple’s application to hold a civil union ceremony at its boardwalk pavilion, a state agency said Tuesday.

The association broke the state Law Against Discrimination when it refused to allow lesbians Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster to use the pavilion for their civil union ceremony, according to the director of the state Division on Civil Rights, Craig Sashihara.

The association discriminated against the couple based on civil union status and sexual orientation, Sashihara concluded in the 16-page report.

Sashihara upheld a decision reached in January by a judge with the state Office of Administrative Law.

Bernstein and Paster did not seek financial restitution for what occurred, therefore, the association received no penalties aside from the actual finding.

In 2008, the state Department of Environmental Protection denied the association’s request for a tax abatement for the pavilion portion of its property because the structure was not made available to all on an equal basis, according to APP.com.

Since the incident, the association has stopped renting out the pavilion for weddings, APP.com reports.

Rather than the pavilion, Bernstein told APP.com that she and Paster ended up having their ceremony on a fishing pier in Neptune.

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