Fair Housing Act covers LGBT people, federal court rules

  • A federal court has ruled for the first time that a federal fair housing law protects LGBT people on the basis of sex discrimination.

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In April 2015, landlord Deepika Avanti refused to rent one of her townhouses to the Smith family in the tiny town of Gold Hill, Colorado, in Boulder County. Avanti denied the Smiths, spouses Tonya Smith and Rachel Smith, who is transgender, and their two children, housing because of concerns regarding the children and "noise" as well as the Smiths' "unique relationship," which Avanti feared would become the focus of the small community and jeopardize her and her husband's "low profile." Thus rebuffed, the Smith family searched for months for another place to live and settled on a place that was less suitable to their needs. The family later sued Avanti, alleging sex discrimination and familial status discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. The family also alleged sexual orientation discrimination under the CADA. Now, just in time for Fair Housing Month, a federal court last week found for the first time that t...