This morning, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) introduced the Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) Act in the Senate and House. This legislation would, among other things, amend both the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in housing and credit. It would help to expand the numbers of Americans who have equal access to credit, home lending, the home rental market, and the home sales market.
It should go without saying that access to stable, secure housing is essential for success in life, and the ability to become a home owner is a fundamental aspect of the American Dream. And yet, those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) often experience discrimination in housing, denying them the security of one of life's most basic necessities.
The need for the legislation could not be clearer. Earlier this year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) utilized some of the regulatory tools at their disposal to begin addressing this extensive problem by requiring equal access to HUD housing programs regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. HUD stated that there is strong evidence that LGBT individuals and families do not have equal access to housing. As one example, they discussed a 2007 study of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation in Michigan:
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