(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) signed on as an original cosponsor of legislation to outlaw discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Americans in the housing and credit markets. The Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) Act, introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), would amend the Fair Housing Act 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.
“Equal protection under the law is a fundamental right in our country,” said Sen. Murray. “No one should suffer discrimination when trying to secure a roof over their head or a line of credit. This legislation would end this unfortunate practice that continues to hurt people in the LGBT community.”
Last January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development released a report recognizing that “there is evidence...that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and families are being arbitrarily excluded from some housing opportunities in the private sector.” Still today, prejudiced landlords are discriminating against LGBT and other innocent tenants -- and these tenants often have no recourse in states without LGBT protections.
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 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.