New Jersey Civil Rights Division Upholds Decision Against Anti-Gay Methodist Pavilion

This past January, a New Jersey judge ruled that the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association illegally discriminated against a same-sex couple by refusing them use of their boardwalk pavilion for a civil union ceremony. The Methodist church group had a real-estate tax exemption that was based on conservation and recreation, not their religious affiliation, and thus they were obligated under law to make their pavilion open to all people. This week, the state Division on Civil Rights upheld that decision, ruling that the group’s discrimination “clearly violates the settled laws of this state.” The couple that complained ended up holding their ceremony on a fishing pier in Neptune, and the pavilion is no longer being rented for weddings.