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Friday, January 21, 2011

HUD unveils proposals to end LGBT discrimination in lending, housing programs

By Michael K. Lavers -

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.
Housing and Urban Development 
Secretary Shaun Donovan.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced on Thursday, Jan. 20, his agency plans to propose new regulations that would ban discrimination against LGBT people who seek access to HUD-funded or HUD-insured programs.

Under the proposed measures, lenders would be banned from using a borrower’s sexual orientation or gender identity to determine their eligibility to receive Federal Housing Authority-backed mortgages. The proposal would also clarify the definition of families eligible to enroll in HUD programs. And HUD-supported housing initiatives would not be allowed to inquire about an applicant’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

"For more than 200 years, family and home have gone hand and hand in America," Donovan told LGBT reporters on a conference call. "These are the kinds of values our country celebrates and every family in America should have the opportunity to pass them along to their children."

This announcement comes roughly a month after President Obama signed the bill that officially repealed the military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers. Donovan stressed his organization’s new proposal reaffirms the White House’s commitment to LGBT Americans.

"This administration is committed to fighting discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people," he said. "I want to make sure HUD is a leader in this fight."

HUD will formally announce the proposed regulations on Monday, Jan. 24, and they will undergo a 60 day public comment period that will end on March 25.

"I am very pleased that HUD is taking this important step toward protecting the LGBT community from housing discrimination," said Congressman Jerrold Nadler [D-N.Y.] in a statement. "For far too long, housing discrimination against LGBT Americans has been tolerated or ignored, and these new regulations will advance our efforts to reject prejudice in the housing market."
Michael K. Lavers manages the Fire Island News. His work has also appeared in the Village Voice, WNYC, the BBC, the Advocate and other media outlets. And he blogs at Boy in Bushwick [] 

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