Two House Democrats are backing a bill
that would outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
and gender identity in the area of housing.
Representative Jerrold Nadler of New
York, along with Michigan Congressman John Conyers, introduced the
measure Thursday at a subcommittee hearing reviewing the efficacy of
the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
“Housing discrimination remains a
persistent problem in our country,” Nadler told the panel. “Jim
Crow laws and restrictive covenants may no longer be with us, but the
discriminatory attitudes and practices they represent remain.
Outright discrimination, steering, a refusal to build accessible
housing as required by law, and discriminatory lending practices
continue to plague renters and prospective homeowners. And,
shamefully, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and
gender identity are perfectly legal in many areas, and people are
regularly denied a place to live simply because of that status.”
The Nadler/Conyers bill seeks to amend
the Fair Housing Act to include sexual orientation and gender
Rea Carey, executive director of the
Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, testified that 11 percent
of transgender people have been evicted because of their gender
identity; another 19 percent have been left homeless. A 2007 study
concluded that 30 percent of gay couples were treated differently
when attempting to buy or rent a home, Carey said.
“For us, the pursuit of the American
dream, including home ownership, is a risky proposition. We may
experience resistance or outright hostility from a variety of sources
including landlords, lenders and realtors,” Carey testified.
“When we disclose our sexual
orientation or gender identity, voluntarily or involuntarily, we may
be subjected to violence and/or property damage,” she added.
A hearing on the bill has yet to be