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Thursday, 15 August 2013 23:08

Study: Housing Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples

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 housing discrimination

 

We know that we can be discriminated when we want to rent a house and for the first time, HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) conducted a study which confirms that.

HUD examined the discrimination in housing against same-sex couples in the rental market.

On the department's site, HUD explains that the research is based on 6,833 e-mail correspondence tests conducted in 50 metropolitan markets across the United States from June through October 2011. For each correspondence test, two e-mails were sent to the housing provider, each inquiring about the availability of the unit advertised on the Internet. The only difference between the two e-mails was the sexual orientation of the couple making the inquiry. Two sets of correspondence tests were conducted, one assessing the treatment of gay male couples relative to heterosexual couples and one assessing the treatment of lesbian couples relative to heterosexual couples. This methodology provides the first direct evidence of discriminatory treatment of same-sex couples compared with the treatment of heterosexual couples when searching for rental housing advertised on the Internet in the United States.

Without surprise, the results are positive. Gay couples as lesbian couples are discriminated and in the same way since discriminations against gay couples represented 15.9% of the requests and 15.6% of the requests for lesbian couples.

"As this study shows, we need to continue our efforts to ensure that everyone is treated the same when it comes to finding a home to call their own, regardless of their sexual orientation," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a statement.

There however is a federal law, the Fair Housing Act, which bans discrimination in housing but we are not included. It protects people on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and familial status.

Fortunately, more and more states (currently 20) protect us thanks to laws against this discrimination. And even if your state does not protect you, check your county or city's laws out if you are victims of this kind of discrimination. We saw on several occasions cities or counties which voted this protection.

"This study serves as evidence that there is a dire need to include protections for the LGBT community in the federal Fair Housing Act," said Shanna L. Smith, president of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA).

"More enforcement of these laws is also necessary as discrimination continues at high rates even in states that have these protections for the LGBT community."

A bill which would add to the federal law a protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity is being prepared.

The full study can be read here: An Estimate of Housing Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples

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