How One Vermont Town Tried To Force Out A Lesbian Couple


"The Barbaras"

Barbara Ernst and Barbara Supeno (“The Barbaras”) have filed suit against the town of Addison, Vermont, accusing its leadership and citizenry of a decade of anti-gay harassment since they’ve owned their lakefront property on Lake Champlain. Here are some of the accusations The Barbaras have made against the town:

  • Neighbors insulted them, made obscene gestures to them, and left dead animals on their property.
  • The town refused to respond to grievances they filed about harassment they experienced from neighbors.
  • When the town leadership met to discuss zoning issues about The Barbaras’ property — namely, a fence the couple erected to protect against harassment — they didn’t inform the couple the meetings were taking place.
  • When the couple applied for a permit to install a handicap ramp for Supeno’s mother (to avoid a $100 fine), the town clerk refused to accept the application.
  • A letter circulated throughout the town accusing the couple of being scam artists, pretending to be involved citizens to cover up “their devious and vicious behavior.”
  • A lawyer circulated a letter supposedly from The Barbaras claiming that they regularly take advantage of attorneys without paying them.

Watch a full report of their complaint from WPTZ:

Vermont has a robust law that protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In recent years, it was tested when a same-sex couple sued the Wildflower Inn for refusing to host their wedding reception. The venue eventually settled, admitting they had violated the law.

The Barbaras have no desire to abandon their lakefront home; the assessed value of their property has tripled over the ten years they’ve lived there.