Biden’s HUD extends housing protections for LGBTQ + Americans
The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday that it would extend protections to LGBTQ + Americans under the Fair Housing Act, becoming the first federal agency to implement such a policy change in response to an executive order. Joe Biden.
On his first full day in office, Biden signed Executive Decree 13988, aimed at preventing discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. The order ordered executive agencies to thoroughly investigate their internal policies and to “review, suspend or cancel” anything that violates or targets LGBTQ rights.
In HUD’s review of its policies, the agency found that the language of the Fair Housing Act is “comparable in text and purpose” to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits gender discrimination in the workplace. In a statesmenPublished Thursday, the agency said it had already been “limited in its efforts” to determine whether prosecutions for discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity fell within its legal jurisdiction.
Essentially, the HUD’s policy change follows a Supreme Court ruling last summer that gender identity and sexual orientation are protected under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
“Discrimination in housing on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity demands urgent enforcement action,” wrote Jeanine M. Worden, Acting Assistant Secretary at the Fair Housing and Housing Bureau. equal opportunity of the HUD. “That is why the HUD, under the Biden administration, will fully enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.”
“Everyone should be able to secure a roof over their head without discrimination, and the action we take today will bring us closer to that goal,” she added.
Changes to HUD’s interpretation of the Fair Housing Act mean that the agency will be able to investigate complaints of discrimination based on sexual identity or orientation and apply penalties when ‘she will find out that such discrimination has occurred.
Already, the agency has ordered its regional offices and beneficiaries to review all complaints filed since Biden’s inauguration on January 20 and to “notify those who have alleged discrimination based on the identity of gender or sexual orientation as their claims may be expedient and jurisdictional for filing under this memorandum.
The move is a major reversal of the position of Trump administration housing secretary Ben Carson.
The new policy also kills a Carson-era proposal that would have allowed homeless shelters to deny entry to transgender people. This policy has been proposed and promoted, but never finalized
The Associated Press contributed to this report.