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Senate bill seeks to expand LGBTI housing anti-discrimination protections

Senate bill seeks to expand LGBTI housing anti-discrimination protections

Gay neighborhoods

A new Senate bill seeks to expand federal housing anti-discrimination protections for LGBTI people.

The Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2019 has been introduced by a bipartisan group of senators.

The bill aims to ban mortgage lending or housing rental on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

A recent study found that same-sex couples have mortgages rejected 73% more often than straight couples.

There are currently no federal laws in place to protect LGBTI homeowners or renters from discrimination.

Lack of federal protections 

The Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2019 has bipartisan support. Its sponsors are Senators Susan Collins (Republican-Maine), Angus King (Independent-Maine) and Tim Kaine (Democrat-Virginia), according to The Real Deal.

The bill seeks to add language to the Fair Housing Act.

Current federal laws protect against discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, and age.

These laws do not extend to protecting applicants based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

However, there are laws protecting against LGBTI housing discrimination at state levels. This is true in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

Far higher rate of rejection 

Research from Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business found that same-sex couples are rejected for mortgages at far higher rates than heterosexual couples.

The study found same-sex couples had to pay slightly more than their mixed-sex counterparts, experiencing fees 0.5% higher on average.

It also found no correlation between mortgage rejections and same-sex couples being high-risk borrowers.

Researchers said that the numbers suggest inherent discrimination against the LGBTI community in the property sector.

A separate survey found that only 49% of same-sex couples own a home. In contrast, over 65% of mixed-sex couples who own their own property.

Figures from a June 2017 study also show that property prices in areas with high numbers of gay residents were rising at a rapid rate.

The Equality Act, a wide-ranging bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, is currently awaiting a vote in Congress.

The bill would prohibit discrimination in housing, along with employment, public accommodation, and more, on a national level.