Metro Weekly

Iowa lawmakers vote to end discrimination against LGBTQ renters

Bipartisan measure heads to Gov. Terry Branstad's desk for signature into law

Iowa State Capitol – Photo: Cburnett, via Wikimedia.

Iowa lawmakers have passed a measure preventing LGBTQ people from being discriminated against when renting property.

Advocates are cheering the bipartisan measure, which prevents localities from adopting limitations on what types of properties people may rent based on their familial status.

The bill, HF134, reads: “A city shall not, after January 1, 2018, adopt any regulation or restriction related to the occupancy of residential rental property that is based upon the existence of familial or non-familial relationships between the occupants of such rental property.”

The bill overwhelmingly passed in the Republican-controlled House and Senate, amassing bipartisan support as it worked its way through the legislature. The measure now heads to the desk of Gov. Terry Branstad (R) for his signature into law.

LGBTQ rights group One Iowa praised the bill’s passage, noting that without the restrictions, families headed by same-sex couples or individuals who are LGBTQ are among those who could be discriminated against.

“While we fully support city governments making their own decisions about aspects of rental properties, like number of occupants or health and safety standards, the use of familial status to determine occupancy should be eliminated,” the group’s executive director, Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel said in a statement. “Allowing municipalities to define ‘family’ and use that definition to determine who can and can’t rent a home opens the door to discrimination against LGBTQ families.

“Local ordinances that discriminate against people based on what their family looks like do not reflect our state’s legacy of equality,” he continued, “and we thank the Iowa Senate for bringing us one step closer to ridding Iowa of these restrictions.

“It’s important to acknowledge that this Republican-introduced bill passed with bipartisan support, showcasing that upholding Iowa’s legacy of equality is a bipartisan effort.”

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