Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined 15 of her colleagues in cosponsoring the Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2017, a bill that would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the classes protected from discrimination under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), to ensure equal housing opportunities for all Americans. U.S. Representative Scott Taylor (R-Va.) introduced the original House version of this bill in early March of this year. The FHA only prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability. Currently, 22 states, the District of Columbia, and over 200 localities protect sexual orientation and gender identity in their housing discrimination statutes.
“No individual in the United States deserves the indignity of being denied housing simply because of who they are,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Housing is not optional. The fact that LGBTQ Americans face uneven protection at the state level from housing discrimination is alarming and it must be addressed. I am proud to join my colleagues in cosponsoring this much-needed legislation. We need to ensure that everyone has equal access to obtaining a decent place to live.”
The legislation, sponsored by Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), was also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Corey Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).