Metro Weekly

Bill prohibiting credit discrimination introduced in Congress

Provisions in bill had previously been introduced in the Equality Act

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer – Photo: Kristie Boyd; U.S. House Office of Photography.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) have introduced a bill in Congress to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in lending and credit.

The bill, dubbed the “Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act,” would amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to include protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Thirteen other senators and more than 20 representatives have already signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. 

“No one should ever fear discrimination when trying to secure a roof over their head, seek a high quality education, or receive a loan to start a small business, simply because of who they love or who they are,” Murray said in a statement. “By coming together to ensure LGBTQ individuals are protected from this discriminatory practice once and for all, we can take an important step forward in our country and send a very clear message against President Trump’s anti-LGBTQ agenda.”

This is not the first time that such a proposal has been introduced in Congress. The provisions in Murray and Gottheimer’s bill were previously included in the Equality Act, which would have amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections for LGBTQ individuals in employment, housing, public accommodations, and credit.

Currently, 15 states and the District of Columbia prohibit credit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Both Murray and Gottheimer hail from states that include those protections in their nondiscrimination laws. Without such protections, LGBTQ people can potentially be denied a mortgage, credit card, student loan, or other type of lending. 

“All Americans should be free to pursue their dreams, whether that be buying a home, starting a business, or continuing their education,” Gottheimer said in a statement.

“No one’s ability to purchase a home or finance their education or business should be denied simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, which is supporting the bill. “We thank Senator Murray and Representative Gottheimer for introducing this bill to help members of the LGBTQ community work toward achieving their dreams without fear of discrimination in the credit process.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com