The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Thursday that it would “administer and enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) issued a memorandum stating that HUD interprets the Fair Housing Act to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and directing HUD offices and recipients of HUD funds to enforce the Act accordingly. The memorandum begins implementation of the policy set forth in President Biden’s Executive Order 13988 on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation (Executive Order), which directed executive branch agencies to examine further steps that could be taken to combat such discrimination.
“The significance of this action is underscored by a number of housing discrimination studies which indicate that same-sex couples and transgender persons in communities across the country experience demonstrably less favorable treatment than their straight and cisgender counterparts when seeking rental housing. Despite this reality, the Department has been constrained in its efforts to address housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity by legal uncertainty about whether most such discrimination was within HUD’s reach.
“The memorandum relies on the Department’s legal conclusion that the Fair Housing Act’s sex discrimination provisions are comparable in text and purpose to those of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bars sex discrimination in the workplace. In Bostock v Clayton County, the Supreme Court held that workplace prohibitions on sex discrimination include discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity. HUD has now determined that the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination in housing likewise includes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Accordingly, and consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order, HUD will enforce the Fair Housing Act to prevent and combat such discrimination.”\
“Persons who believe they have experienced housing discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (TTY/Relay). Housing discrimination complaints may also be submitted online at hud.gov/fairhousing.
Read the full memo HERE.