Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fair Housing Legislation Introduced in House and Senate

The Advocate is reporting that legislation has been introduced to the House of Representatives and Senate which would prohibit discrimination against LGBT people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts has introduced federal legislation to expressly prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in housing.

The bill, known as the Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act, or HOME Act, would amend the 1968 Fair Housing Act to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, as well as amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to prevent such discrimination in lending (the bill would also bar discrimination based on source of income and marital status). A House version of the bill will be introduced later today by Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York.
So far, the bill has seven cosponsors in the Senate, all of whom are Democrats.  According to a press release sent out by Kerry's office, the HOME Act will accomplish five things:

  • 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 anti-discrimination protections for handicapped individuals and LGBT parents with custody of a child.
  • Provide the Attorney General with appropriate pre-litigation investigative power to enforce the law.
I think it's terrific that fair housing legislation has been introduced to both chambers of Congress.  But with various LGBT-related bills (ENDA, UAFA, DOMA, etc.) targeting various forms of discrimination, one wonders if it would be more worthwhile to introduce one gigantic omnibus bill that would immediately make LGBT people equal in all realms.  We've heard noise that Rep. Jared Polis is drafting a bill - with the help of LGBT activists - that would cover all of these areas.  Doubtlessly, the bill will be going nowhere for a while, but I'm starting to think it might be smart to introduce one package we can all rally around, as opposed to splitting all of our issues up into different bills and risking spreading ourselves too thin.

It's certainly something to consider.  Until then, though, it is great to see more equal rights legislation introduced, and I look forward to seeing the bill pick up more and more cosponsors in both chambers.

1 comment:

  1. Equal housing opportunity should always be a major point for giving country citizens equal rights for living and having a stable life. Once they are given the right to live, I think it is a good start for them to have a better life.

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