2009-11-07, 12:13

HUD Posts New Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Rules

By: Multifamily Real Estate Industry Team
On October 21, the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a press release announced the agency's intention to propose regulations regarding HUD-supported rental programs and their effect on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender tenants and prospective tenants; see http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2009/HUDNo.09-206. This proposal would require individuals and entities which receive grants from HUD or participate it its programs to comply with state or local sexual orientation or gender identity laws; while "clarifying" that family status discrimination protections extend to families composed of or including LGBT individuals, as well as specifying that FHA-insured mortgage qualifications cannot take sexual orientation or gender identity into account.

This initiative, highlighted by the National Multi Housing Association in their NMHC News at <http://www.nmhc.org/Content/whatsNew.cfm?cID=5459&pID=&t=c>, is extremely significant in its implications for future regulatory and legislative efforts dealing with sexual orientation in the context of fair housing. The HUD notice is careful to point out that the Fair Housing Act's prohibitions on housing discrimination do not currently apply to sexual orientation, further observing that HUD has no data on the subject other than that derived from state and local government studies such as ones which have been published in Michigan and California. However, readers should also be aware that the topic of LGBT discrimination in employment is currently under Congressional review in the Employment Non Discrimination Act (HR 3017, S 1584). Development of data by HUD will almost certainly lead to efforts to amend the Fair Housing Act, so this is an issue to watch carefully.


(This entry posted by Charlie Edwards, a member of Womble Carlyle's Labor and Employment group.)

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