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NAR amends Code of Ethics to protect LGBT, yet finances anti-LGBT candidates

Dual flags in Cherry Grove, New York. Photo by Mark Fowler.

Code of Ethics amended

In January of this year, Article 10 of The Realtor Code of Ethics was amended to include sexual orientation as a protected class.  Article 10 in its entirety now reads as follows:

Realtors® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or sexual orientation. Realtors® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation. (Amended 1/11)

Realtors®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation. (Amended 1/11)

Discrimination problematic, NAR committee stood up

NAR had recognized that there was a problem in housing discrimination, and stepped up to the plate to ensure their members would not participate in denying service to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgendered) community. 

If there wasn’t a need for an advocate in both the rental and homeownership markets, NAR would not have made this momentous change to the COE. What’s cool about our COE is that much like The Constitution, it is a living, breathing, evolving document.  Our Code of Ethics embraces the changes that have happened, that are happening in the world, and is able to adapt accordingly.

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NAR’s historic political donations

NAR historically has donated fairly evenly between Republicans and Democrats, based on their stance on housing issues, and usually it
comes out to be right around 50/50. 

As of August 15th of this year, the split for monies donated is 45% to Democrats and 55% to Republicans.  It isn’t so much the lopsided-ness of the Republican v Democrat spending so far that is concerning.  What is, and what makes things so bassackwards, is who NAR is floating funds to either via PACs, parties, or direct contributions to candidates.

Looking at OpenSecrets.org which is a site that has the dish on who is donating, how much,
and to whom, we see one instance where NAR has donated $1,000 to Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. She is near the top of the alphabetical list of donation recipients, and most people by now have at least heard something about her, which is why we are going to use her as an example. 

Bachmann may have either sponsored or co-sponsored a couple of bills that can be considered housing friendly, but none of which have passed. One was in regards to flood insurance, and the other, repealing the Dodd-Frank Act.

NAR commits to LGBT community on one hand but not the other

Congresswoman Bachmann, if you follow the news, isn’t exactly a fan of
the LGBT community. It is surprising that NAR would place a pittance of housing legislation, which has gone nowhere, over those which they have pledged to protect.

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Really, if one wants to fork over buck to someone who seriously cares about housing issues, NAR should start with Congressman Kucinich Yeah. Totally just said that.

This isn’t meant to be a pissing contest about political parties, or even social issues, and where we all stand as individuals. It’s more about where our principles are as a group, where they should be, and do we practice what we preach as Realtors. Do we actually, honestly, subscribe to the Code of Ethics that we promise to uphold, and abide by? 

Realtors don’t discriminate, why should candidates?

If you are a Realtor, you cannot discriminate based on sexual
orientation, national origin, color, sex, race, religion, handicap, or familial status, and if you reside in the State of Ohio, you also cannot discriminate against those in our Military. End of discussion. 

Why would we as individuals support candidates who do, even if they subtlety discriminate, no matter what their stance on housing? And more importantly, why would NAR?

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Written By

Katie Cosner, occasionally known as Kathleen, or KT, is a Realtor® with Cutler Real Estate and is active in her local Board of Realtors® on the Equal Opportunity & Professional Development Committee. She has been floating around online for a number of years, and is on facebook as well as twitter. While Katie has a few hardcore beliefs, three in the Real Estate World to live and die by are; education, ethics, and the law - insert random quote from “A Few Good Men” here. Katie is also an avid Cleveland Indians fan, which really explains quite a bit of her… quirks.

33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Don Reedy

    August 16, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Katie, your heart is in the right place, but your reasoning is flawed in my opinion.

    You end with "Why would we as individuals support candidates who do, even if they subtlety discriminate, no matter what their stance on housing?"

    Standing against gay marriage, for instance, is not discrimination. Notice I said gay "marriage." Bachmann is not discriminating against gays because of her stance on marriage.

    Rhetoric gets in the way of reason. Discrimination in any form is always inappropriate. Realizing that in the U.S. we are, however, equal in our right to stand on a bully pulpit and say what we believe….is not discrimination. It's liberty, which you clearly call for and believe in.

    Finally, to the point of NAR participating in points of view; here's mine. I stand for my own points of view. In my community, in my family, in my workplace, and in my life I select for myself the people, places, politics, religion, philosophy and values that best reflect me. In allowing NAR to subjugate our individual views, no matter what they are, we do neither ourselves or our potential clients any good. Your well written article reminds me once again that values stem from family and community, not political action committees.

    • Kathleen Cosner

      August 16, 2011 at 11:03 am

      Ooooh, Don I always LUV a good debate. Wikipedia link:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michele_Bachmann#Social_issues

      That's just a small look into things. More can be found via a search engine, and there is more, but this isn't a down a dirty campaign thing. It's important to know where our dollars go, even if we disagree with a candidate, but moreso when they don't even live up to our own COE.

      As I said on F/B in a response, would it be alright if buck was going to an known anti {insert protected class here} candidate, no, probably not.

      Hope this explains the reasoning a little bit.

      • Don Reedy

        August 17, 2011 at 10:24 am

        Hi Kathleen,

        I think you and I are probably on the same page for the most part. If a PAC (NAR) picks a topic, candidate, issue…..and mandates or chooses sides….then some of us, some of the time, are going to be offended or put off.

        The issues related to rights and discrimination are moved forward by banner holders either in favor or opposed to those rights. Organizations like NAR, for example, simply do not speak for me. I speak for me. When they support candidates with my money, on issues with which I don't agree, I seethe. When you pick a person, Bachmann, for example, and single her out for her belief/actions on one issue, I squirm. You and I are the totality of all that we value, think, and actually do. We've become a nation too ready to single out one topic on which to base our evaluation of the larger merits.

        We haven't met, but I'm from Youngstown, Ohio, now live in San Diego, and I can tell you that I'm a pretty "good guy." But you can rest assured I've crossed the line, even my own line, many times.

        All I'm saying is that NAR should stick to housing, not social issues. And by the way, they're not really very good at the housing issues either…

        All my best to you.

        • Kathleen Cosner

          August 17, 2011 at 11:01 am

          Don, We probably are the same page. I understand, or try to, when an organization gives money to whoever, even if the receiver of funds may not be *my* ideal candidate. Esp w/an org like NAR, who is huge, and whose real job it is, is to get housing legislation passed or protect/defend homeownership, affordable housing, including rentals. Hey, it's how they started, as a lobbying group. It is just dumbfounding, when an org takes a first step in standing up for a particularly targetted groups' rights, and then gives buck to someone who opposes those rights. It's sort of being a hypocrit.

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