The Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) has unveiled a series of proposed rule changes that would prohibit lenders from using sexual orientation or gender identity as a way of determining a borrower's eligibility.
The proposed rule changes will (a) define sexual orientation and gender identity, (b) prohibit inquiries regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, (c) prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds for decision making in Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) programs, and (d) would clarify that all eligible families, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, have the opportunity to participate in HUD programs, including the housing choice voucher program.
The proposed rule changes come in response to information gathered by HUD which suggests that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) individuals and families are arbitrarily excluded from housing opportunities because of their sexual preferences and gender identities. The decision by HUD to seek to protect LGBT individuals and families is a controversial decision, but one which is supported by the findings of arbitrary discrimination. One of the primary goals of the Fair Housing Act (“the Act”) is to eliminate arbitrary and invidious discrimination in the area of housing, and HUDs attempt to protect LGBT individuals and families is well in line with the federal goals of the Act and the mission of HUD.
If you wish to review and comment on the proposed rule changes, you can do so at www.regulations.gov .