On Sept. 22, members of both chambers of Congress introduced legislation that would extend housing and lending nondiscrimination laws to include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) was joined by seven other Democratic senators in introducing the bill, the Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) Act, while Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) was joined by six Democratic House colleagues in introducing the bill.
The bill would amend the Fair Housing Act to prohibit housing discrimination and intimidation on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or source of income, as well as amending the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in access to credit.
Kerry, in a statement, said, ”It’s hard to believe that in 2011, any law-abiding, tax-paying American who can pay the rent can’t live somewhere just because of who they are. Housing discrimination against LGBT Americans is wrong, but today in most states there isn’t a thing you can do about it. This legislation would end discrimination that continues to hurt people.”
According to the Center for American Progress, 13 states and the District of Columbia outlaw housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and an additional eight do so on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity.
Nadler added, in a statement, ”LGBT Americans, non-traditional families, and the disabled should not be subjected to housing discrimination at the hands of the unscrupulous or bigoted.”
In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development took steps to expand the regulatory scope of protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination because it found, ”There is evidence … that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and families are being arbitrarily excluded from some housing opportunities in the private sector.”