National Fair Housing Month celebrates the Fair Housing Act passed in April of 1968. The law prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, and gender.
The Act was later amended to include protections for people with disabilities and families with children. In downtown Boston, public assistance, disability, familial status, gender identity, and sexual orientation were added. In Boston, Massachusetts age was added as a category.
I see housing discrimination on the job in various forms. It is the Boston condo seller who asks me to sell the house to a family with children or occasionally the seller who doesn’t want to sell to “those” people because his neighbors won’t like it.
Unfortunately, Housing discrimination is baked into our system.
If you are selling your home and want to be fair look at the term of the offer and choose the offer with the best terms. Treat it as a business decision which is what it should be. Do not choose an offer based on who the buyer or buyers are.
Last month the US House of Representatives passed the Equality Act which prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, etc.
Similar legislation has passed Congress in the past but has never made it into law. The future of this piece of legislation is still an open question. What is not in question is the fact that people who are the direct beneficiaries of this kind of law are often times treated unjustly because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. They become second class citizens and victims of violence for simply being who they are
This refreshing statement by the US House of Representatives calls attention to our need as a Boston community to be more open to dialogue about things that we may not fully understand. The initialism LGBT did not make its appearance until the 1980s. Since then there has been a sea change in the way in which we regard sexual orientation and gender identity. The challenge is to put into concrete action what we say we believe: that we are all made in the image and likeness of God, our most fundamental religious belief.