Same-Sex Housing Discrimination A Reality According To New Federal Study

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the results of the first ever study on same-sex housing discrimination today. They are unsettling to say the least:

RainbowThe study, An Estimate of Housing Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples, measures the treatment same-sex couples receive from rental agents when inquiring about apartments advertised online, as compared to how otherwise similar heterosexual couples are treated.

According to HUD’s study, same-sex couples experience unequal treatment more often than heterosexual couples when responding to internet ads for rental units, and findings show that gay male couples experience more discrimination than lesbian couples.  

HUD remains committed to providing equal access to housing for all individuals under United States law. Though The Fair Housing Act does not include sexual orientation or gender identity under its umbrella of identified protectorates, twenty states, along with the District of Columbia, have laws reinforcing the protected status of LGBT individuals.

Prior to the housing discrimination study, HUD already recognized the need for such protections to extend across the country.  

Recently, HUD issued new guidance that treats discrimination based on gender nonconformity or sex stereotyping as sex discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, and instructs HUD staff to inform individuals filing complaints about state and local agencies that have LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws. In addition, on February 3, 2012, HUD published a final rule, “Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity”, which requires HUD-funded and HUD-insured housing providers and FHA-approved lenders to provide equal access without regard to sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status. 

What this study's results, and the steps already taken will mean for same-sex couples in the housing market remains to be seen. 


  1. David Hearne says

    Key findings of the study showed that:

    Same-sex couples experience discrimination in the online rental housing market, relative to heterosexual couples.
    Adverse treatment is found primarily in the form of same-sex couples receiving fewer responses to the email inquiry than heterosexual couples.

    This is not a scientific method. In the first place, why would a landlord know what your relationship is in an email? Secondly, it can’t possibly account for the fact that a landlord might have a legitimate aversion to renting to two 25 year old males when he wouldn’t have the same concern for a 25 year old heterosexual couple. Lastly, as is typical for liberals, they are not distinguishing between legal and illegal discrimination. If I own a two unit house and live in one of those units, it’s perfectly legal for me to discriminate in my choice of tenants for the other unit.

  2. says

    thank you david hearne for expressing the mentality of gay conservatives, that leads you fools to be closeted, cowardly pathetic suck-ups who earn no respect or love at any moment in your entire lives.

    i’m serious :-) you provide a great example to young readers for what may happen to them if they refuse to ever grow spines and stand up for themselves.

    it’s like It Gets Better, only what you’re really saying is “Do what I do, and one day you too can be a doormat for republicans to wipe s**t on!”


  3. YsoSerious says

    I know actually reading the study or watching the Secretary of HUD speak on the subject would be too much to ask. HUD also noted in an earlier study that folks who appeared to be Hispanic or just had Hispanic sounding names suffered overwhelming discrimination.

    The letter of the law and the way individual landlords/property managers/etc view the law is vastly different. Just like folks with disabilities or people of color suffer from the ‘now that I see you we rented that place already’ syndrome.

    I know LGBT folks are discriminated against, but we’re not the only ones. And solidarity in the face of such rampant idiocy is a good thing.

  4. Pookie says

    I’m not sure I understand Mr. Kiwi’s remarks. After looking up the study in question, I have my own doubts about how accurate or relevant the data is, and how it’s being interpreted.

    Hearne’s remarks also don’t strike me as “gay conservative” particularly, though is generalizations about “liberals” are of course trite.

    The margin of supposed discrimination in this study is well within the error margin. I’m sorry, but there’s enough real and tangible persecution of gay people that we really don’t need to inflate and mislead to gain support.

  5. David Hearne says

    Little Kiwi,

    Before you get too self-righteous, please consider that gay people do a fair amount of discriminating in renting as well. There are gay landlords who only advertise in gay publication, and who emphasize “all gay building” or “in gay neighborhood”.

    Having been a licensed realtor in four states, let me assure you that expressing a preference in tenant either by stating outright or by suggesting who or what kind of person would enjoy the property is considered unethical. The Northern Virginia Board of Realtors even went so far as to say that “executive home” and “near schools and churches” were unacceptable in advertising.

    The letter of the law IS the law. It’s not your property at risk. As the article stated, they were more likely to discriminate against two gay men than two gay women. That would suggest that the operative value isn’t gayness, it’s sex. As I said, two 25 year old males are less desirable than a heterosexual couple as a rule and I should have added a female gay couple. Two guys, even if they are a couple often represent a greater risk to the property than other couples.

  6. David Hearne says

    Scott, I am looking at the report and it lists small buildings which would be exempt if owner occupied, and a huge block of buildings designed “of unknown size” none of which mentions whether they are owner occupied. I can find no statement supporting your claim that owner occupied buildings were excluded.

  7. Jeff says

    Rulings are wonderful, but reality won’t be. One key element has been omitted from the celebration–prejudice against gays is very real.

Leave A Reply