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Anti-LGBT Housing Discrimination Bill Introduced in Congress

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Congressional leaders have introduced federal legislation that would prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in housing.

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York are the lead sponsors of the Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act, or HOME Act.

The bill seeks to AMEND the 1968 Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the sale, rental or financing of housing. It would also change the decades-old law’s definition of “familial status” to provide equal protection to ALL types of families. The HOME Act would prohibit discrimination during the lending process AND once a purchase or lease is signed.

Jeff Krehely is the director of the Center for American Progress’s LGBT research and communications project. He tells OutQ News that he’s happy housing discrimination is finally being addressed, considering much of the legislative focus has been on employment discrimination.

Krehely admits that the likelihood of the HOME Act passing through the Republican-led House is slim to none. But he says there are alternatives to ensuring equality in housing.

KREHELY: There is the potential to work for those types of laws at the state and even local level as well, and to also have groups like the LGBT Chamber of Commerce or other pro-business LGBT organizations to encourage private rental companies, mortgage brokers, real estate companies to adopt these non-discrimination protections for their own private businesses.

Krehely says right now about 30 percent of same-sex couples–and about a quarter of transgender Americans–have a negative experience when seeking to buy or rent property.


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