February 12, 2021
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is supporting the historic decision made Thursday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) confirming that members of the LGBTQ community are protected against housing discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.
Since 1968, the Fair Housing Act has prohibited discrimination by landlords, real estate companies, municipalities, banks or other lending institutions, and homeowners insurance companies based on race or color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin or disability. HUD has now confirmed that sex discrimination also includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“HUD’s decision surpasses the landmark ruling in Bostock v Clayton County and is consistent with our current efforts before the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court in Rouch World LLC et al v Michigan Department of Civil Rights et al,” Nessel said. “In that case, my office is arguing for equal protection under the law for all Michigan residents – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation – and I wholeheartedly support HUD’s recognition of such protections under the Fair Housing Act in places of public accommodation.”
According to an April 2019 study published by the UCLA School of Law, Williams Institute, discrimination against LGBT people in Michigan has occurred in housing and public accommodations. In response to a 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 26 percent of respondents from Michigan reported having experienced some form of housing discrimination, such as being evicted from their home or denied a home or apartment because of being transgender. Further, 20 percent of respondents said they had become homeless at some point in the last year due to discrimination based on their gender identity. A 2007 matched pairs study conducted by Michigan’s Fair Housing Centers also found evidence of housing discrimination against same-sex couples in the state.
HUD’s decision will positively impact the lives of Michigan LGBTQ people who experience discrimination in housing. The decision follows President Joe Biden’s executive order just three weeks ago directing federal agencies to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination to the full extent of the law.
Nessel will continue to work towards ensuring the civil rights of all people who live in Michigan.