06.09.17

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Fights to Protect LGBT Americans from Housing Discrimination

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) in introducing the Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2017, a bill that would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the classes protected from discrimination under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), to ensure equal housing opportunities for all Americans. U.S. Representative Scott Taylor (R-VA) introduced the original House version of this bill in early March of this year. The FHA only prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability. Currently, 22 states, the District of Columbia, and over 200 localities protect sexual orientation and gender identity in their housing discrimination statutes.

“A growing number of Americans recognize that their LGBT family members, friends and neighbors deserve to be treated like everyone else in the United States,” said Senator Baldwin. “Yet today, without complete protections in our federal housing law, LGBT Americans can face discrimination when they try to rent or buy a home. This is wrong. This legislation will help ensure that no American will be turned away from a home simply because of who they are or who they love.”

“As a former civil rights attorney who focused on fair housing, I learned that a house is more than just an object. It’s part of the very definition of who you are as a person and is central to every American’s life,” said Senator Kaine. “Because of incomplete protections in federal housing law, LGBT Americans can face discrimination when they try to buy or rent a home, just because of who they are. This is about equality, and no American should be turned away from a home they love because of who they love. I would like to thank Rep. Taylor for his leadership on this issue, as well as all the civil rights attorneys out there fighting for justice on this issue every day.”

“This bill protects and codifies a fundamental American principle: fairness, respect, and equal treatment under the law,” said Congressman Taylor. “Nobody should face discrimination about where they live because of who they love.”

Last month, Senator Baldwin re-introduced the Equality Act, which would amend federal civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in education, employment, housing, credit, and federal jury service. 

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Patrick Leahy (I-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ed Markey (D-MA), Al Franken (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Corey Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are original cosponsors of the Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2017