The Equality Bill – which aims to expand the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 to include discrimination against sexual orientation, sex, and gender identity, was first introduced in 2015. Unfortunately, it never left committee.
Although federal protections are most needed, and the federal government has lagged – it’s important to remember the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and members have come out in droves to support this legislation, continuing its great track record on LGBT equality. Nearly a decade ago made it against the code of ethics (see Article 10) for any realtor to discriminate against an LGBT person. NAR has long been on the side of LGBT equality, and as a fun piece of trivia: when it came to the historic marriage ruling – the lead plaintiff Obergefell was a Realtor.
But there is some direct action happening as well.
Recently, John Smaby, President of NAR, sent a formal letter to Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) a letter of support for the Equality Act, including its assertion for fair access to housing regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Smaby reminds Representative Cicilline that access to fair housing is essential to improve access for employment, education, and even health opportunities. NAR revised its Code of Ethics (meaning members who violate the Code lose their license) in both 2010 and 2014 and encourages congress to follow its lead and extend the necessary protections for fair housing to the LGBTQ community.
A lack of legal LGBT protections is a continued vulnerability in the fight for fair and equal access to housing, and even before this bill was reintroduced, 2019 was promising to be a big year with the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) and NAR making a renewed push to end housing discrimination for LGBT populations. Things are happening!
What can you do? Write your senator or congressional representative, sign up to help push the law into action and stay in the know.