Congress is trying to extend the Fair Housing Act to the LGBTQ community
More than 50 years after the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was passed, bipartisan support in Congress is building to extend the Fair Housing Act to cover the LGBTQ community. We applaud the efforts of both Republicans and Democrats to protect all Americans from the evils of housing discrimination. Homeownership for all should mean exactly that - homeownership for all.
For many reasons, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 remains one of the most important laws enacted in the 20th century. This key legislation continues to protect minority homebuyers and renters from being discriminated against on the basis of race and has enabled millions of families to reap the benefits of homeownership.
Tragically, members of the LGBTQ community still experience significant levels of discrimination when it comes to housing. According to the Human Rights Campaign, “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people face significant levels of discrimination in housing, which can take many forms. LGBTQ people are at risk of being denied, charged higher rates for, or being removed from housing. Several other national studies confirm this disturbing trend.
In response, Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Angus King (R-Maine) and Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) recently sponsored the Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2019 (S. 1328), which is designed to provide the same housing discrimination protections in the original Fair Housing Act to the LGBTQ community. Originally introduced in the House in 2017 (H.R. 1447), the Senate bill was introduced in an effort to gain more bipartisan support so the bill can eventually be sent to the President.
Many observers believe the Congressional effort is long overdue because efforts to protect the LGBTQ community at the state level are lacking and the few states who have implemented such laws only protect a portion of the LGBTQ community from housing discrimination. At the federal level, there is currently no law that protects the LGBTQ community and federal courts have ruled that any such law should specify the LGBTQ community as a protected class. Thus, the need for Congress to pass a new fair housing bill that stipulates the LGBTQ community is a protected class.
At Nutter Home Loans, we’ve been in business since 1951 and to us this debate sounds a lot like the same discussion our country had in 1968. We hope the new housing law passes quickly because we remember all too well how long it can take for Congress to pass civil rights legislation. It’s one of the reasons why our founder, James B. Nutter, Sr., accepted loan applications from minority homebuyers long before Congress passed the Fair Housing Act in 1968. He knew it was the right thing to do and he didn’t need to wait for Congress to tell him to do so.
In the final analysis, homeownership is an important part of the American dream. We know that homeownership builds neighborhoods, which in turn builds communities. Housing discrimination should be a relic of the past because every American should have the ability to enjoy the benefits of homeownership. This statement is just as true in 2019 as it was back in 1968.
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