Statement by NCLR Federal Policy Attorney Maya Rupert

(San Francisco, CA, January 20, 2011)—Today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced proposed changes to a number of its core housing programs, which would provide increased protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The proposed changes will: prohibit all lenders offering Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages from considering sexual orientation or gender identity in determining a borrower’s eligibility; prohibit owners and operators of HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing from inquiring about the sexual orientation or gender identity of an applicant or occupant of a residence; and clarify the definition of “family” to ensure that otherwise eligible participants in any HUD programs will not be excluded based on marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) has had several opportunities to partner with HUD as it works to ensure access to fair and affordable housing for the LGBTQ community. NCLR will participate in a panel with HUD representatives at the Creating Change conference in February in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where these changes, along with other developments in fair housing for the LGBTQ community, will be discussed. The proposed regulation is now open for public comment for sixty days, after which HUD officials will review submitted comments and then publish a final rule.

Statement by NCLR Federal Policy Attorney Maya Rupert:

“NCLR applauds the Obama administration, and specifically, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Assistant Secretary John Trasviña for their commitment to ensuring that HUD’s programs are open to all families, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. It is a fundamental American value that people should never be denied fair and affordable housing simply because of who they are. The idea is self-evident, but it is not self-executing, and we are grateful to HUD for its leadership on working to ensure that the LGBTQ community is able to realize that freedom.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.