.- A local lesbian couple has decided to file a lawsuit against a Catholic school and the local Catholic parish after they declined to admit their daughter.
Lee Inkmann, along with her partner, Trish Wilson, says the denial came because they are gay. They are seeking up to $550,000 in damages on behalf of their daughter.
According to the lawsuit -which names O'Hara Catholic School's principal Dianne Bert and St. Mary Catholic Church's pastor Fr. Mark Bachmeier, Inkmann told the principal about her domestic partner after a school tour last winter.
A couple of weeks later, also according to the suit, Bert informed Inkmann that the school wouldn't enroll their daughter, now 5, because her parents' relationship was opposed to Church teachings and would be confusing for other students and their parents, the suit alleges.
The couple's attorney, Martha Walters, said she thinks the private school meets the definition of a place of public accommodation. That makes it subject to Eugene's city code, which forbids discrimination based on sex, marital status, domestic-partnership status, or sexual orientation, she argues.
Bud Bunce, spokesman for the Archdiocese, said the Archdiocese plans a vigorous defense. "O'Hara Catholic School and the Archdiocese of Portland do not discuss publicly details concerning school admissions of any particular child," he said. "However, it is believed that this situation was handled appropriately. The lawsuit filed includes numerous false statements of fact and is believed to be totally without merit."