Re: ‘Real estate agent disciplined for steering gay couple‘ (May 3)
You asked for feedback on the rookie/steering gays issue. Two things came to mind. As a real estate instructor (and fair housing is one of my topics), I was concerned about the attorney saying that the agent’s comments probably wouldn’t have gotten him in trouble if he had told the buyers he, too, was gay. Does that then infer that a white agent could steer white clients; Hispanic (agent) steer fellow Hispanics; African-American (agent) steer fellow African-Americans, etc.? I am troubled that the wrong inference may have come from that attorney’s statement. I’m not sure the attorney has any basis in fact for his statement. As you pointed out using the religion issue — this is not a good road to go down.
Secondly, to the best of my knowledge, sexual preference is not a federally protected class. Before I go on, I need to say I don’t believe any real estate agents should discriminate for any reason — saying that, however, there is discrimination that is a violation under federal law and some that is not. Since sexual preference is not a federally protected class, the commissioner’s office saying that the agent violated a federal law was incorrect. Sexual preference, if protected by state laws, would have been a violation, but not federally. Was there something else here we were missing?
Great article — and hopefully it generates the kind of thought and comments we need to get these issues clairified by HUD or whoever needs to give us the guidance we need so that we are not ‘at the mercy’ of interpretations of law at the local and state level that so often put our agents in jeopardy.
Lynn Madison Seminars