Can a Claim of Discrimination Be Based on Sexual Orientation of a Person ?

In Levin v. Yeshiva University, 2001 Slip Op. 05943, 2001 WL 735762 (Ct. App. 2001), the Court of Appeals held that lesbian life partners had stated a cause of action for unlawful discrimination against a university that refused to grant their application for married student housing. The court held: A claim of discrimination based on sexual orientation can be stated where a facially neutral policy or practice has a disparate impact on a protected group (N.Y.C. Admin. Code 8-107[17][a][1]-[2]). Under that section a claim is established where a plaintiff demonstrates that a defendant's policy or practice "results in a disparate impact to the detriment of any group protected" under the City Human Rights Law (Id.) Our inquiry at this stage concerns whether the complaint sufficiently pleads that [Yeshiva's] housing policy has such a disparate impact on the basis of sexual orientation. Although the Court of Appeals in Levin applied the City Human Rights Law to a university policy rather than to the rent stabilization laws, the Court of Appeals construed N.Y.C. Admin. Code 8-101 et seq. to recognize the status of lesbian life partners and to advance public policy considerations substantially identical to those herein where this court must construe the City Human Rights Law and the Rent Stabilization Code to avoid disparate impact upon a protected class.