Unfortunately for Paul and Hava Forziano, a married couple with special needs, that adjustment period was thwarted. Both Paul and Hava, who lived in separate group homes prior to their wedding on April 7, 2013, were each told by their respective group homes that they could not live together despite being husband and wife.
The couple, along with their parents, challenged the group homes’ decision in a federal civil rights lawsuit. Since the group homes are run by state-sanctioned nonprofit organizations, they are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the Act, “a public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures … to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability.”
Despite the denial by their group homes to live together and the lawsuit that ensued as a result, Paul and Hava may finally be able to live together as husband and wife. The newlyweds were offered an apartment in a group home in Riverhead.
While their ultimate goal of living together as a married couple may soon be accomplished, hopefully the lawsuit will not become a moot point because there is a need for the courts to address this issue.
Individuals with special needs are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. If Paul and Hava are capable of being married under the law, then they should not be denied the ability to live together as a married couple.