Pro-life pregnancy center sues after landlord with Planned Parenthood tenant breaks contract
A pro-life pregnancy care center has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against a landlord it says violated both contract law and California's religious liberty statute -- all to help another tenant, Planned Parenthood.
Represented by the Pacific Justice Institute, Alpha Pregnancy Clinics of Northern California says it had signed a lease to relocate to a building in Vacaville. However, after it sent its first rental check for $6,475.76 on October 31, Alpha was told its presence in the new building was "not a good fit." The check was returned.
Part of the reason Alpha chose the location it was supposed to move into on November 15 was because Planned Parenthood is another tenant. According to Brad Daucus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, Alpha's landlord is clearly showing preference for Planned Parenthood, "and aimed to squelch opposition to Planned Parenthood's agenda of killing as many unborn children as possible" by breaking the contract with Alpha.
"In deciding to breach the lease agreement, the landlord simply said it wasn't a good fit," Daucus told LifeSiteNews. "This is a clear warning that they do not have a legitimate reason to exclude this pro-life group from this building. We know the building houses Planned Parenthood. We are confident that in discovery, it will be obvious that the landlord opposed the religious beliefs and practices of our client, supports Planned Parenthood, and aimed to squelch opposition to Planned Parenthood's agenda of killing as many unborn children as possible."
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"This case involves a violation of the California Unruh [Civil Rights] Act, which forbids businesses from discriminating against tenets, like our client, because of their religious beliefs and convictions,” Daucus said. “We believe this case will be able to prove that our clients were discriminated against because of their religious beliefs, practices, and convictions, particularly with regards to protecting the unborn child and ministering to their mothers."
According to the website of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Unruh Act entitles "all persons...to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments, including both private and public entities. The Unruh Civil Rights Act protects all persons against arbitrary and unreasonable discrimination by a business establishment (Civil Code section 51)."
"We think we will be able to prove the clear discrimination and bias against our clients because of what they believe," said Daucus. "Depositions, interrogatories, and other methods will show that there is no other valid answer." Daucus says the alleged violation of the Unruh Act "is totally separate from the breach of contract, which is a legal issue all on its own. Alpha signed a lease agreement, and sent in the upfront payment, which was returned."
Vacaville-based reporter Melissa Murphy spoke to the property manager of the building at issue, Warren Owens, who said that he had not seen Pacific Justice Institute's lawsuit, "and would not likely comment even if he had."
The case is expected to be heard early next year.