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Same-Sex Couple Claims Discrimination By Summit County Officials

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Jason Rogers talks with CBS4's Jeff Todd (credit: CBS)

Jason Rogers talks with CBS4’s Jeff Todd (credit: CBS)

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – A same-sex couple says discrimination by Summit County officials cost them the home they were building. The county has a very different story and now it’s going to court.

The couple says the county made them jump through too many hoops to build their home. But the county says they were requiring what the ask of any homeowner.

A jury of seven will decide if the county discriminated against the gay couple from Denver who was trying to remodel a house on Hoosier Pass.

“So there was this ever-changing set of goalposts that never quite got us what we wanted,” plaintiff Jason Rogers said.

The couple says there were numerous issues brought up by an inspector about their septic tank and a wildlife area on their land. They believe the issues only existed because of their sexual orientation.

“You’re trying to get done what you want to get done, which is not let us live there,” Rogers said.

Rogers says the unnecessary delays in construction forced them into foreclosure. The county disagrees.

“There was a uniform and equitable application of all the rules and regulations in this case, just like every other case the county deals with,” Summit County Manager Gary Martinez said.

“I want them to admit it or I want the court to admit it for them,” Rogers said. “I want the court to say, ‘They did wrong by you. They should not have done this to you.’ “

“This is not a case we want to settle. Settlement in some ways perhaps indicates we have some problem or trying to cover over,” Martinez said.

Rogers and his partner of 38 years are seeking over $500,000 in damages. That’s roughly the amount of money they lost in foreclosure.

The trial is expected to wrap up later this week. The couple says they will appeal to higher courts if they have to.

The county says it deals with hundreds of permit issues like this every year and has never previously been sued for discrimination.

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