Leadership

Realtors Move Ahead of Federal Law on LGBT Discrimination Issues

In a move that puts the National Association of Realtors ahead of federal fair housing law, the group voted this week to add language to its code of ethics blocking discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

In a move that puts the ethics code of the National Association of Realtors ahead of federal fair housing law, the group voted this week to add language to its code blocking discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

The country’s largest trade association is taking another big step toward acceptance within its ranks.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced this week that it would amend its code of ethics to include language adding gender identity to its fair housing protections. The change, which was voted on by the membership, follows the group’s 2011 addition of sexual orientation to the list. The decision was made Monday by the NAR board of directors at the group’s annual meeting in San Francisco.

According to REALTORMag, the amended language in Article 10 of NAR’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice will read:

REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

In a statement, the NAR’s incoming president, Steve Brown, called the decision “a fitting example of the code as a living, dynamic set of principles that define the professionalism that Realtors bring to the real estate transaction.” Brown is the association’s first openly gay president.

The move puts NAR policy ahead of the federal Fair Housing Act, which was enacted in 1968. In recent years, groups such as the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) have called on lawmakers to update the statute’s language to reflect LGBT concerns.

“As support grows for marriage equality, it is important to fight for full inclusion in society by recognizing other areas in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are discriminated against,” the NFHA wrote in its 2013 Fair Housing Trends Report [PDF]. “Without access to safe housing of their choice, free from discrimination, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people face limited life opportunities.”

(iStock/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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