HUD on Jan. 24 proposed a rule that would prohibit discrimination in federal housing programs on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The rule is available at http://bit.ly/hLMC0H. HUD says that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals and families are being arbitrarily excluded from housing opportunities. HUD reports that 20 states, the District of Columbia and over 200 localities have similar laws.The proposal clarifies that the term “family” includes LGBT families and couples and also prohibits inquiries regarding sexual orientation or gender identity in all HUD-assisted housing or housing with financing insured by HUD.
While this proposal is limited to HUD-assisted housing, there was movement in the last Congress to expand the protected classes in the Fair Housing Act to include not only gender identity and sexual orientation, but source of income as well. At this time, it is unclear whether such efforts will emerge in the 112th Congress.