“Straight or Gay Only” Renters May Lose Option to Choose

A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that a district court should consider a case brought by the The Fair Housing Councils of San Fernando Valley and San Diego against roommates.com. The Fair Housing Councils say that options on profiles by renters indicating “straight or gay only” are discriminatory.

RoommatesSaid the court: “While Roommate provides a useful service, its search mechanism and email notifications mean that it is neither a passive pass-through of information provided by others nor merely a facilitator of expression by individuals. By categorizing, channeling and limiting the distribution of users’ profiles, Roommate provides an additional layer of information that it is ‘responsible’ at least ‘in part’ for creating or developing. Whether these actions ultimately violate the FHA is a question the district court must decide in the first instance.”