Bay View Association near Petoskey owns more than 300 acres of land on Lake Michigan with 30 public buildings, 450 cottages, and two inns. Under Michigan law, Bay View is a unit of government vested with governmental powers, including the power to levy and collect taxes, the power to deputize law enforcement officials, and the power to make and enforce civil and criminal laws. 

But Bay View allows only practicing Christians to own the cottages — thereby excluding Jews, Muslims and all those not active in a church. In February 2017 the ACLU of Michigan wrote to Bay View explaining that its discriminatory housing policy is unconstitutional and urged it, consistent with the will of the majority of Bay View residents, to open up home ownership to all. 

The Association refused and the residents sued. In May 2018, the ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the residents, explaining how the blatant discrimination at Bay View harkens back to a shameful period of housing discrimination in our country against Catholics, Jews and people of color. 

(Bay View Chautauqua Inclusiveness Group v. Bay View Association; National ACLU Attorneys Heather Weaver and Daniel Mach; ACLU of Michigan Legal Director Michael J. Steinberg.)

Date filed


Defending liberty