Housing and Urban Development Secretary
Shaun Donovan on Saturday announced new protections for LGBT people
during his keynote address at a gay rights conference.
Speaking at the 24th annual
National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change taking place in
Baltimore, Donovan announced a new anti-discrimination rule.
“Today, I am proud to announce a new
Equal Access to Housing Rule that says clearly and unequivocally that
LGBT individuals and couples have the rights to live where they
choose,” Donovan said.
“This is an idea whose time has
The change bars owners and operators of
HUD-funded or -financed housing from inquiring about an applicant's
sexual orientation or gender identity.
“If you are denying HUD housing to
people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity –
actual or perceived – you're discriminating, you're breaking the
law, and you will be held accountable.”
The rule also protects LGBT people
applying for a mortgage insured by the FHA, which is part of HUD.
The new rule will be published next
week and go into effect 30 days later.
“Enacting a rule is not enough,”
Donovan added. “Training and education are essential to ensuring
rules are followed in communities across the country.
“And so, HUD and its fair housing
partners will work to provide guidance and training on the substance
of this rule, and the impact it will have for both how we administer
HUD programs and also how we enforce our nation's fair housing laws
more broadly.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this
our video library for more videos.)
Gay rights activists cheered the news,
calling it historic.
“This rule is truly historic for the
LGBT community and the impact it will have on all our lives cannot be
overstated,” Maya Rupert, federal policy director at the National
Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), said in a statement. “This will
improve the lives of countless families and individuals across the
country who no longer have to fear being denied housing because of
who they are.”