Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Nadler proposal would protect LGBTs in U.S. housing law

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-New York, pictured at left) introduced an amendment today that would include sexual orientation and gender identity in the federal Fair Housing Act. The law prohibits discrimination in the sale and rental of housing.

The move comes as the Housing and Urban Development department is preparing an unprecedented study on discrimination against LGBTs.

The agency held a town hall at San Francisco’s LGBT Community Center on March 1 where dozens of people voiced their concerns about local issues related to housing discrimination, including bias against people with HIV/AIDS and the lack of affordable housing.

Nadler, who chairs the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, held a hearing today that examined Fair Housing Act education, investigation and enforcement.

“Jim Crow laws and restrictive covenants may no longer be with us, but the discriminatory attitudes and practices they represented remain,” Nadler said in a statement. “… [S]hamefully, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are perfectly legal in many areas, and people are regularly denied a place to live simply because of that status.”

Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D – MI) joined Nadler in introducing the bill, H.R. 4820. The federal act already prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, and other categories.

Today’s testimony focused on the findings of recent reports by the National Fair Housing Alliance, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, as well as recent court settlements.

Rea Carey, executive director of the NGLTF, was among the witnesses.

“For us, the pursuit of the American dream, including home ownership, is a risky proposition,” Carey testified, according to NGLTF. “When our sexual orientation or gender identity is known, either because we offer it willingly or a landlord, realtor or lender is made aware by other means, there is potential for outright hostility, property damage and even physical violence.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 11, 2010 @ 1:37 pm PST
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