Proposed Legislation Would Amend Fair Housing Act

September 26, 2011
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Last week, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced a bill to outlaw discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) Americans in the housing and credit markets. The bill also would ban housing discrimination based on marital status and source of income. Rep. Jerrold Nadler introduced the companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

The Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) Act would amend the Fair Housing Act (FHA) to prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or source of income. It would also amend the Equal Opportunity Credit Act to prohibit LGBT discrimination in credit decisions.

“It’s hard to believe that in 2011, any law-abiding, tax-paying American who can pay the rent can’t live somewhere just because of who they are,” Sen. Kerry said in a statement. “Housing discrimination against LGBT Americans is wrong, but today in most states there isn’t a thing you can do about it. This legislation would end discrimination that continues to hurt people.”

“Despite a great deal of progress, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people continue to experience discrimination in all aspects of their lives, including one of the most basic--finding a home for themselves and their families,” added Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “We thank Senator Kerry for continuing his leadership toward full legal equality for LGBT Americans by introducing legislation, the first of its kind in the Senate, that would outlaw housing and credit discrimination.”

The HOME Act would:
• Amend the Fair Housing Act to prohibit housing discrimination and intimidation on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or source of income;
• Amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in access to credit;
• Outlaw housing discrimination both before and after a housing unit is acquired;
• Strengthen antidiscrimination protections for handicapped individuals and LGBT parents with custody of a child; and
• Provide the Attorney General with appropriate pre-litigation investigative power to enforce the law.

Source: Sen. Kerry’s Office