This February, HUD affirmed that LGBTQ people are protected under federal housing law.
The Federal Fair Housing Act was signed in 1968 to increase housing equity by making it illegal to discriminate in housing transactions because of someone’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or because they have children.
In June of 2020, the Supreme Court decided in Bostock v. Clayton County, GA that federal protections against sex discrimination in employment apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. President Biden expanded that decision in his Day One executive order.
Shortly afterward, HUD released a statement explaining that this decision is relevant to the Federal Fair Housing Act and that LGBTQ persons cannot be discriminated against in housing transactions under federal law. For more information on the decision click here.
There are many state and local laws across the country that make it clear to housing providers that discriminating against prospective tenants based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal. Louisiana does not yet have a state law that enforces this.
It is important that Louisiana pass legislation to protect LGBTQ community members from discrimination. Now that it’s clear that federal housing law outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity , there is no reason for Louisiana not to have its own legislation to let landlords know that this type of discrimination is illegal.
LaFHAC is asking that you encourage representatives to push forward House Bill 282 to expand the Louisiana Equal Housing Opportunity Act. This would make protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity state law in Louisiana.
Without expanding the Equal Housing Opportunity Act, Louisiana will remain out of line with the federal law, continuing to misinform both landlords and tenants about housing rights. Not only would this expanded state law offer clear protections for LGBTQ tenants, but it would also protect landlords who may be unaware that refusal to rent to a same sex couple or a transgender person without just cause could create a liability under the federal Fair Housing Act. The state needs to clearly let housing providers know what the law is and minimize barriers for LGBTQ tenants.
The Louisiana legislature needs to embrace the federal standard created by the Bostock decision and follow HUD’s lead in how it applies to housing policy. This can be done by passing HB 282 and ensuring that Louisiana legislation matches federal protections.