During the past few weeks, there was a surplus amount of media attention focused on the subject of same-sex marriage. However, far less attention was given to a parallel issue: the question of housing discrimination against same-sex couples.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) quietly released a report that was billed as “the first large-scale, paired-testing study to assess housing discrimination against same-sex couples in metropolitan rental markets via advertisements on the Internet.” The test was based on 6,833 e-mail correspondence tests conducted in 50 metropolitan markets between June and October 2011. Although HUD never explained why it took nearly two years for the results of the test to be made public, the end result was, according to a statement issued by the department, “same-sex couples experience less favorable treatment than heterosexual couples in the online rental housing market.”
It’s not much better for same-sex couples in the purchase market. Only about 20 states plus the District of Columbia and more than 150 municipalities and counties have laws that clearly prohibit housing discrimination against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population. This means that housing discrimination against LGBT Americans is perfectly legal throughout the vast majority of the country.
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