The Biden administration announced that protections under the Fair Housing Act will now cover LGBTQ Americans.
This move allows the federal government to investigate complaints of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The new policy by the Department of Housing and Urban Development is the first (of hopefully many) of federal anti-discrimination changes made by the new administration.
Biden’s executive order mandates that agencies implement a Supreme Court decision prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the workplace, covered in laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.
HUD said under this new policy it will be able to investigate complaints made under the Fair Housing Act of 1968 — which
“prohibits this discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability” made by people “who alleged discrimination because of gender identity or sexual orientation.”
Jeanine M. Worden, the acting assistant secretary of HUD’s office Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement.
“Housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity demands urgent enforcement action.
Every person should be able to secure a roof over their head free from discrimination, and the action we are taking today will move us closer to that goal.”
The action was needed, according to HUD because of
“a number of housing discrimination studies which indicate that same-sex couples and transgender persons in communities across the country experience demonstrably less favorable treatment than their straight and cisgender counterparts when seeking rental housing.”
The Trump administration was clearly NOT in favor of such a policy. Former HUD Secretary Ben Carson issued a rule last summer that would have stripped protections for transgender Americans seeking housing in federally funded homeless shelters although the Biden administration will likely seek to stop it from becoming effective.
Many LGBTQ organizations cheered this new act. The National Center for Transgender Equality tweeted,
“It is illegal for someone to discriminate against you for being #LGBTQ:
• When trying to rent an apartment
• When trying to buy a house
• When applying for a mortgage
• When accessing a federal housing program”
The Human Rights Campaign said this new policy will especially help transgender and LGBTQ people of color facing housing discrimination. HRC’s president, Alphonso David, the group’s president, said in a statement,
“LGBTQ people can rest assured that if they are denied housing in an emergency or refused rental of an apartment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity they will have recourse under federal law,”
This. Is. MAJOR.
Or to put it in then Vice President Biden’s own words, as he whispered to President Obama just after he signed the landmark Affordable Care Act,
“This is a big fucking deal.”
“These actions by HUD will both prevent future discrimination and ensure that those who have experienced discrimination have a clear avenue for relief.” — @KarenLLoewy, Lambda Legal Senior Counsel⬇️ 6/6 https://t.co/LReTnpZyDx— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) February 11, 2021
For the first time, LGBTQ Americans will be protected under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Thursday.— Lawyers’ Committee ☎️866-OUR-VOTE (@LawyersComm) February 12, 2021
Read more from @voxdotcom: https://t.co/hPXaFR7XNO
We applaud HUD’s announcement today that it will investigate housing discrimination complaints on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, expanding civil rights protections for LGBTQ people seeking housing or temporary shelter: https://t.co/jcp3V1z9uJ.— National Fair Housing Alliance (@natfairhouse) February 11, 2021
It is illegal for someone to discriminate against you for being #LGBTQ:— National Center for Transgender Equality (@TransEquality) February 11, 2021
o When trying to rent an apartment
o When trying to buy a house
o When applying for a mortgage
o When accessing a federal housing program pic.twitter.com/wr061phjMO
(Photo, YouTube; via CNN)