Are you someone who knows or loves an LGBTQ+ person? It’s time to stand up!
Are you a Realtor who is held to high ethical standards through the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics? It’s time to stand up!
I know advocacy work isn’t for everyone. But I also know doing the right thing is not that hard — integrity matters. And our industry has reached a point where we can no longer stand aside and allow elected officials to discriminate. You may not even know that you and your colleagues may be funding those who do.
Realtors, through local, regional and state RPACs are providing financial support for elected officials who are discriminating as they write and support anti-LGBTQ+ bills in statehouses across the nation. They are doing the same against the AAPI community currently. And I haven’t even touched on our nation’s long history of discrimination against the Black community, Jews, Hispanics and LatinX, and Indigenous Americans.
Would Realtors or RPACs support a candidate who was part of the KKK? Would we support a candidate who wanted to bring back Japanese internment camps? What about those who are anti-Semitic? I would hope that would be a hard NO. So why are we allowing those who are anti-LGBTQ+ to prosper? LGBTQ+ folks are people. Plain and simple; we deserve to be treated fairly. We also buy homes and have a huge economic impact!
The force behind these attacks is a minority of Americans. But we have far too many politicians pandering to this group. It’s time to stand up.
Think about it: NAR is the nation’s largest trade group, with 1.6 million members. It’s a lobbying machine led by RPAC. It touts itself as the “nation’s largest direct contributor to candidates that stand up for American homeowners and individual communities.” Realtors have a huge presence, and it’s time to put the power of our industry behind making sure no one in our nation is discriminated against.
Too many enthusiastic RPAC supporters have blinders on. As we’ve heard, they believe RPAC “needs to stay in its lane.” That means if a candidate supports fair housing or is pro-Realtor, we will consider them. It doesn’t matter if they discriminate. It doesn’t matter that their discrimination may damage communities, create barriers to financial stability and generational wealth, which all go against our industry’s desire to ensure homeownership for all.
That is why we launched a campaign to have NAR and every state, regional and local Realtor association adopt our “Article 10 Rule.” It’s pretty simple: Before distributing funds or support, RPACs ensure that candidates or elected officials are not engaged in discriminatory behavior. If they are, have a history of, or refuse to support a commitment to protect all NAR-protected classes, then they do not get funding.
These officials should be held to the same guidelines that Article10 of NAR’s Code of Ethics shares:
Realtors shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Realtors® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
You can’t discriminate as a Realtor. Why should RPAC fund those who do?
You likely saw that the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance has previously called on Florida Realtors and its RPAC to rescind its endorsement and hundreds of thousands of dollars in the funding of Governor Ron DeSantis, who leads the nation in his anti-LGBTQ+ activity.
We have now asked Texas Realtors President and CEO Travis Kessler to stand up and work to ensure that those elected officials who discriminate are not supported by TREPAC. This includes several state senators and representatives, Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has authored or supported multiple discriminatory bills against the LGBTQ+ community.
Kessler has suggested to Alliance members and his own Diversity Committee that the way they can impact change is to get involved and ultimately be appointed as an RPAC Trustee, which, by the way, likely “requires” substantial donation levels and a few years of service.
He says that unless those who want to stop discrimination are voted into local leadership, Texas Realtors and TREPAC will continue supporting discrimination.
That is crazy!
If you agree with me, here is what you can do:
- Reach out to your local and state Realtor association and RPAC, and have them join with associations like Washington, D.C., and Palm Springs in adopting the “Article 10 Rule.”
- If you are an RPAC investor, or comfortable investing in RPAC, use your seat at the table to share our message and demand change.
- Recognize that you may be inadvertently supporting discrimination through your personal RPAC donation, which is often automatically included in your Association renewal dues.
- If all else fails, remember that you control your dollars. You can “opt out” of your local RPAC. The best approach is to reach out to your local Realtor association CEO, president or staff membership director and ask if they are supporting discriminatory officials and, if so, how can you pull out your donation.
- You can also call the Realtors Party at 800-874-6500.
Realtors — all 1.6 million — can and should work to ensure that every LGBTQ+ person, parents with LGBTQ+ kids, or anyone else who is part of a diverse or marginalized group, is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. Realtors should stand up and speak out against discrimination. This includes elected officials.
Let’s work together to ensure that everyone can find their dream home, regardless of who they are or who they love.
Ryan Weyandt is the CEO of The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, a 501(c)6 nonprofit dedicated to empowering the LGBTQ+ community on the path to homeownership through advocacy on behalf of the community on housing issues. The Alliance, founded in June 2020, is an all-inclusive organization that works to improve the professional lives of its members through a public-facing Alliance Referral Community.