HUD Seeks Ban on Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation
HUD has proposed new regulations to ensure that its housing programs are open to all eligible persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Recent studies suggest that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and families do not have equal access to housing. For example, a 2007 report by Michigan's Fair Housing Centers found that nearly 30 percent of same-sex couples were treated differently when attempting to buy or rent a home.
HUD's proposed rule clarifies that families, otherwise eligible for HUD programs, may not be excluded because one or more members of the family may be an LGBT individual, have an LGBT relationship, or be perceived to be such an individual or in such a relationship.
The proposed rule also prohibits owners and operators of HUD-assisted housing, or housing whose financing is insured by HUD, from inquiring about the sexual orientation or gender identity of an applicant for, or occupant of, the dwelling. HUD is proposing to institute this policy in its rental assistance and homeownership programs, which include the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance programs, community development programs, and public and assisted housing programs.