Landlord's donation to anti-gay marriage group irks some tenants

SEATTLE -- A landlord's opposition to same-sex marriage has him at odds with many of his Capitol Hill tenants.

Breier-Scheetz Properties recently donated $20,000 to preserve Marriage Washington, becoming one of the largest contributors to the campaign against same-sex marriage.

Now some of the property owner's gay and lesbian tenants are wondering if their rent money is funding a cause they oppose, and are questioning the timing of the contribution.

Kit Bond has rented rooms at the Granada Apartments for three years, but learning his landlord's stance on same-sex marriage is making him think twice.

"It makes me want to move out, and we probably will move out," he said.

Shortly after a tenant held a small fundraiser for Marriage Equality in the building's courtyard, the property owner, Breier-Scheetz Properties, donated funds to preserve Marriage Washington, the campaign opposing Referendum 74 and same-sex marriage.

"He increased our rent recently, said (it was) to pay for aging building. So he can take his profits and donate it to something when half his tenants here might be gay," said Bond.

Breier-Scheetz owns several apartment buildings on Capitol Hill, the core of Seattle's gay and lesbian community. Some consider their landlord's contribution a slap in the face.

But others see it as their landlord's right.

"It probably seems like a slap in the face to them. But if he did not have that right, then it would be a slap in the face to him," said tenant Bob Conahan.

Conahan says though he once lived a gay lifestyle, he supports his landlord's right to put his money where his conscience lies.

"You don't silence people because you disagree with them," Conahan said.

Neither building owner Frederick Scheetz nor the apartment's property manager could be reached for comment.

Before bond moves out, he has a message for his landlord: "Go buy some buildings in Marysville or out in the sticks, away from a community that's made it very clear that this is a gay community and friendly to everybody, straight or not."

Some of the tenants hope to raise more funds than Breier-Scheetz, and are planning another fundraiser for Washington United for Marriage to be held a week from Saturday.