The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled Monday, by a 6-3 margin, that LGBTQ people are considered a protected class when it comes to employment discrimination. It’s a decision that could have a major impact on the fight for housing equality for LGBTQ individuals.

“Two days ago the President revoked equal healthcare protection for transgender Americans through executive order,” Ryan Weyandt, a St. Paul-based mortgage professional and LGBT+ advocate in real estate, told Inman. “Today we stand united and celebrate a momentous victory as the Supreme Court rules to protect LGBT+ rights in the workplace.”

“While this is a huge step forward for our community, housing discrimination remains legal against the LGBT+ community in more than half of the states in America,” Weyandt said. “This was a positive step forward, but it emphasizes the need to extend protections to LGBT+ American’s in all aspects of life.”

The Fair Housing Act, passed into law in 1968 and now a bedrock of the real estate industry, makes it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status or national origin in the renting or selling of housing and related services.

It does not, however, specifically mention sexual orientation or gender identity as protected categories.

In the absence of a federal law banning discrimination against such persons in housing and other services, 21 states in the U.S. have passed their own laws banning housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

There’s been a significant initiative in the past year to pass the Equality Act, which is universally supported by the top real estate brokerages and holding companies in the country. The Equality Act would codify those gender identity and sexual orientation protections into law.

The Equality Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives last year, but has failed to make it through the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate, and President Donald Trump has previously expressed his intention to veto the legislation.

Monday’s SCOTUS ruling could be precedent-setting however. If LGBTQ individuals are protected from discrimination in the workplace, it’s reasonable that these same protections could be applied when it comes to housing, if such a case appears before the Supreme Court.

Vince Malta | Photo credit: NAR

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) applauded the ruling, saying it was overjoyed celebrate this victory with the LGBTQ persons among its 1.4 million members.

“NAR amended its code of ethics to prohibit discrimination in real estate based on sexual orientation in 2010 and gender identity in 2013,” NAR President Vince Malta said, in a statement. “Now, all LGBTQ persons will have this same peace of mind in the workplace.”

“Many minorities unfortunately know the sickening feeling that comes with the fear of losing a job because of prejudice,” Malta added. “This ruling today is a victory for fairness at a time our country needs it most. It offers momentum in the fight for equality for all persons suffering under the weight of intolerance and bias.”

Malta also re-affirmed that NAR will continue to actively seek legislation to include gender identity and sexual orientation among the protected classes under the Fair Housing Act.

Email Patrick Kearns

homebuying
Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription