Senate bill would expand Fair Housing Act to protect LGBTQ households

The “Fair and Equal Housing Act” would nationally ban housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

(Credit: iStock)
(Credit: iStock)

A new bill seeks to expand federal anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ renters and homeowners.

A bipartisan group of senators last month introduced the “Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2019,” which would add language to the federal Fair Housing Act banning discrimination in renting, or mortgage lending, based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

As currently written, the federal law prohibits landlords and lenders from denying service on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, familial status or disability. State-level laws already prohibit LGBTQ housing discrimination in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

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A study by Iowa State University found that same-sex couples were less likely to be approved for a mortgage than their straight counterparts.

The bill is sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Angus King (I-Maine) and Tim Kaine (D-Virginia). Kaine, who was a fair housing attorney earlier in his career, introduced a similar bill in 2017 that did not pass.

More than 50 years after the 1968 passage of the Fair Housing Act, study after study has found that America’s largest cities remain starkly segregated. [HousingWire] — Alex Nitkin