June 15, 2017

Whitehouse Cosponsors Bill to Protect LGBT Americans from Housing Discrimination

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has joined U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and 14 of their colleagues to introduce the Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2017, a bill to ensure equal housing opportunities for all Americans by adding gender identity and sexual orientation to the classes protected from discrimination under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). 

“We can take pride that Rhode Island was an early leader on safeguarding equality.  But there are still too many places across the country where Americans can legally be denied housing because of who they love or how they identify,” said Whitehouse.  “It’s long past time these basic protections become federal law.”

The FHA prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability.  Rhode Island is one of 22 states and the District of Columbia that also protect sexual orientation and gender identity in their housing discrimination statutes.  Rhode Island became the second state to outlaw housing discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1995.

“At RIHousing, we know that a home is so much more than just a place to live – it’s the foundation for families and individuals to thrive and succeed.  Denying someone that opportunity because of their gender identity or who they love is not only discriminatory and unjust, it is also illegal in our state,” said Barbara Fields, RIHousing Executive Director.  “RIHousing is proud that Rhode Island is one of the 22 states in our nation that already provide fair housing protections to people, and we work hard to provide opportunities for all Rhode Islanders – regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation – to have a good home.”  

U.S. Representative Scott Taylor (R-VA) introduced the House version of this bill in March of this year. 


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Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921