Legally Married Lesbian Couple in NY Sues Landlord For Denying Request That Both Be Listed on Lease

| by Dominic Kelly

A legally married couple in New York is suing their landlord for not allowing them both to be listed on the lease, despite the very clear fact that they are legally married.

Dava Weinstein, 68, and Dorothy Calvani, 63, have been together for 37 years and have lived in their same Upper West Side apartment since 1977. Weinstein and Calvani were married in 2011, the same year that gay marriage became legal in New York. When Weinstein tried to list Calvani on her lease following the marriage, the landlord refused.

“We were totally dumbfounded,” said Weinstein to WCBS 880. “I felt it was definitely based on the fact that she’s a woman. This wasn’t fair, wasn’t right. It was breaking the law. It certainly looks like just rank discrimination.”

The couple is being represented by Lambda Legal. In a press release from Lambda, Weinstein says she worries that if she dies, her wife will be kicked out of their home.

“I’ve lived in this apartment for nearly 40 years, and built a home here with my spouse for the last 36 years,” says Weinstein in the statement. “If something were to happen to me, Dorothy should not have to worry about whether the landlord will try to evict her because she’s not on the lease. That is one of the protections married people are supposed to have. Our landlord is standing in the way of us taking steps to protect our family, something that is of particular importance to us as we get older.”

Susan Sommer of Lambda Legal, the lawyer representing Weinstein and Calvani, says this is not the first time this sort of thing has happened, and that it needs to be stopped.

“How many New York same-sex couples will have to take their landlords to court before landlords stop illegally refusing to add same-sex spouses to rent-stabilized or rent-controlled leases?” asks Sommer. “The landlord’s outright refusal to recognize Dava’s marriage to Dorothy is outrageous and violates New York State and City laws.”