Federal Judge Rules Fair Housing Law Protects Colorado LGBT Couple
A U.S. district judge recently ruled that a Colorado landlord’s refusal to rent to a lesbian couple, one of whom is transgender, violates federal housing law. The ruling is the first in which a court has extended protections to people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity under the federal Fair Housing Act. The act bars housing discrimination because of race, religion, and sex, among other factors.
In his opinion, the judge cited the Supreme Court’s 1989 ruling in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, an employment discrimination case. The justices held that bias against a woman judged insufficiently feminine, among other things, by male partners was a form of sexual stereotyping and therefore fit the definition of “sex” in Title VII, the law barring job discrimination.
“Such stereotypical norms are no different from other stereotypes associated with women, such as the way she should dress or act (e.g., that a woman should not be overly aggressive, or should not act macho), and are products of sex stereotyping,” the judge wrote.