New Fair Housing Initiative Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity
On Feb. 11, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it will enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The announcement follows a recent executive order in which President Joe Biden directed all executive branch agencies to examine further steps that could be taken to combat such discrimination. HUD's new interpretation of the Fair Housing Act expands the prohibition of discrimination based on sex to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity based on the Supreme Court's decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, which held that Title VII's prohibition on discrimination based on sex encompasses sexual orientation and transgender status.
HUD specifically announced that it would be taking the following enforcement activities:
- HUD will conduct all activities involving the application, interpretation and enforcement of the Fair Housing Act's prohibition on sex discrimination to include discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- HUD will accept and investigate all jurisdictional complaints of sex discrimination, including discrimination because of gender identity or sexual orientation, and enforce the Fair Housing Act where it finds such discrimination occurred.
- State and local jurisdictions funded by HUD's Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) that enforce the Fair Housing Act through their HUD-certified substantially equivalent laws will be required to administer those laws to prohibit discrimination because of gender identity and sexual orientation.
- Organizations and agencies that receive grants through the department's Fair Housing Initiative Program (FHIP) must carry out their funded activities to also prevent and combat discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- HUD (and organizations receiving HUD grants) will review all records of allegations received in the last year and notify persons who alleged discrimination because of gender identity or sexual orientation that their claims may be timely and jurisdictional for filing under this memorandum.
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