Login  /  Register  | 3 premium articles left before you must register.

Fair housing for all

Published July 22. 2013 4:00AM

The following editorial appeared recently in the Los Angeles Times.

The federal Fair Housing Act was passed 45 years ago, just one week after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Initially the law prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin or religion. Over the decades, it has been amended to include protection from discrimination on the basis of gender or disability or whether there are children in the household. Now it's time to amend the law to prohibit bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Currently, the law does not set aside as a protected class people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. Although it does offer some legal recourse for them - housing providers who receive federal funding or have loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, for instance, may be subject to requirements that they ensure equal access to gay and transgendered people - it is not enough.

Civil rights and gay rights groups as well as private fair housing organizations have tracked individual complaints and undertaken studies in various states that have identified bias against gays and lesbians. The most extensive evidence comes from a groundbreaking national study released last month by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The study, based on thousands of emails between prospective renters and housing providers, found that heterosexual couples seeking rental housing online received 15.9 percent more favorable responses than gay male couples and 15.6 percent more favorable responses than lesbian couples.

The initial emails contained identical information, except for the way the couples referred to their sexual orientation. The housing department is now starting a study to determine how gay and transgendered renters are treated in person.

Despite gains in gay rights in recent years, federal laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation are still necessary in certain arenas. Housing is such an arena. The federal government needs to state explicitly that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal.

News by Town

Most Recent Poll
Are you happy about A-Rod's return to the Yankees Monday?
I'm a Yankees fan and I think he can improve the ball club's mediocre season.
12%
I'm a Yankees fan and I don't want to see him in the lineup.
14%
I'm a Red Sox fan and I couldn't be happier.
24%
I hope he never plays again.
34%
I hope he ends his career on a positive note.
15%
Number of votes: 746

No current items found