Sgt. Joel Morgan; Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Veteran, Suing Pacifist Landlord Janice Roberts for Rental Discrimination
A National Guardsman who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay is suing a Massachusetts landlord who he claims discriminated against him because she is an anti-war activist opposed to his military service.
According to the Boston Herald, Sgt. Joel Morgan, 29, wanted to rent a $1,220-month apartment in Savin Hill owned by 63-year-old Janice Roberts. After showing Morgan the apartment in April, the lawsuit alleges that the landlady left him a voicemail message informing him that renting to him would present a “conflict of interest” due to her anti-war activities.
“We are very adamant in our beliefs,” Roberts said in the voicemail, which was verified by the Boston Herald.
“It just is not going to be comfortable for us without a doubt. It probably would be better for you to look for a place that is a little bit less politically active and controversial,” she said.
“For her to do that to me, it was like a spit in the face,” Morgan told the Herald. “For what we have gone through overseas, to come home to our country and have people … discriminate against us. … It made me extremely insecure about being a soldier.”
His suit, filed in the Suffolk County Superior Court, accuses Roberts of violating a state law banning rental discrimination based on veteran status.
“It’s illegal,” Morgan’s attorney Joseph Sulman told the Herald, “but also just unconscionable. It’s something any American should be embarrassed about.”
Moral Low Ground understands Roberts’ pacifism. We, too, are staunchly opposed to US wars and atrocities. But there is no evidence that Sgt. Morgan participated in any such atrocities. Yes, he served at Guantanamo Bay, home of a US military concentration camp where hundreds of innocent men were imprisoned without charge or trial for years, many of them tortured. But it is unclear in what capacity Sgt. Morgan served at GITMO.
Writing to the Herald, Roberts tried to explain herself.
“There was never any mention to Morgan that his being a veteran would impede his chances to rent from us. If anything, he was a victim of US greed, and for that, I feel much empathy,” she wrote.
“Why would someone like Joel Morgan, who apparently fought so valiently (sic) in wars in which he believed, want to even choose to subject himself to renting an apartment from people — like myself — who were so vigorously seeking an end to the Iraq War?”
Well, Ms. Roberts, perhaps because Morgan believes in the democratic principles for which he believed he was serving in the military, among these being tolerance of those who espouse divergent viewpoints or choose different paths in life.
Tagged Guantanamo Bay, janice roberts savin hill, joel morgan janice roberts, landlord refuses to rent to veteran, savin hill, sgt. joel morgan, suffolk county superior court, veteran suing over rental discrimination, veterans housing discrimination