After Judy, her partner of 30 years, died of colon cancer, 70-year-old Marsha Wetzel moved into the Glen Saint Andrew Living Community in Niles, Illinois.
When she moved in, Wetzel didn’t realize that she would eventually have to fight for her rights as a human being because someone at the care home couldn’t accept her sexual orientation.
LGBTQ rights group Lambda Legal released a video (found below) of Wetzel talking about how she had to move to the care home after her in-laws rejected her. She couldn’t even attend her late partner’s funeral because the in-laws didn’t approve of their relationship. Even worse, they took her home away.
That said, Wetzel made good out of the bad and she created a new life at the Glen Saint Andrew Living Community.
But the bad only came back after she answered truthfully to questions about her husband.
“I thought: oh no, here we go again. Gay hate."
“There were a handful of residents, I could tell were really going to give me trouble. I tried to avoid them but they would seek me out to taunt me."
Wetzel says she wasn’t only called homosexual terms but hit as well.
You can get so scared, you can’t sleep, you can’t eat,” said Marsha.
“You don’t want to take a shower, you don’t want to get dressed. You don’t want to go in the hall."
Of course, the staff could have easily protected Wetzel, but none did. Instead, they ignored her and her strife. That’s when Wetzel knew she had to seek out legal action.
“How many other gays in these retirement homes are going through what I’m going through?” she asked.
“I want to stick with this and get justice, and I want people to know: stop pushing us around.”
Now Marsha Wetzel is at the center of a landmark court case that could change the Fair Housing Act and protect LGBTQ elders in the future from similar abuse.
The ruling from the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago is expected in the next few weeks.