The Fair Housing Act now includes protections for LGBTQ+ individuals

The Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968 to protect from housing discrimination on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin,” but did not explicitly include sexual orientation or gender identity. Now, motivated by a recent Supreme Court ruling, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will officially include and enforce housing protections for LGBTQ+ Americans. 

Last year, the Bostock v. Clayton County ruling from the Supreme Court determined that gender identity and sexual orientation were protected under Title VII workplace protections. This, in conjunction with a recent executive order that directs all government departments to ensure that anti-discriminatory policies extend to gender and sexuality protections as well, motivated HUD to begin enforcing protections of LGBTQ+ tenants. 

This is a big move forward for LGBTQ+ Americans who experience disproportionate housing discrimination. One study found that 27 percent of same-sex couples faced extra application and rental fees while another 2017 study found that gender non-conforming people experienced housing discrimination 61 percent of the time. 

With the new HUD policy, LGBTQ+ individuals who experience discrimination while renting, seeking a mortgage, or accessing public housing can file an official complaint with HUD. It also communicates to landlords, real estate agents, and lending agencies, especially in the 21 states with no specific bans on LGBTQ+ discrimination, that this injustice will no longer be tolerated.

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