Refusing to sell homes to gay people is OK, congressman says. Realtors disagree
The Washington Post
May 31. 2018 9:38PM
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) in a June 2015 file image. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
A California congressman has lost the endorsement of a 1.3 million-member Realtors group after saying it was acceptable for people to refuse to sell their homes to gay men and lesbians if “they don’t agree with their lifestyle.”
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., made the controversial comments May 16, during a meeting with a delegation from the National Association of Realtors, the Orange County Register reported.
“Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone [if] they don’t agree with their lifestyle,” Rohrabacher said, according to Wayne Woodyard, a former president of the Orange County Association of Realtors.
Woodyard said the meeting included proposing a change to the Fair Housing Act to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT groups.
“I told the congressman that we need to add federal protections for the LGBTQ community as the final piece of the Fair Housing Act, and the minute I stopped speaking, he said, ’I just will not support that,’ ” Woodyard said. Rohrabacher himself confirmed to the Register that he had made those statements.
“We’ve drawn a line on racism, but I don’t think we should extend that line,” Rohrabacher told the newspaper. “A homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral.”
The congressman’s remarks prompted outrage online, including from prominent LGBT rights groups, and ultimately prompted the Realtors association to drop its support of him.
NAR president Elizabeth Mendenhall said the group “carefully considers many criteria before supporting candidates” and that its President’s Circle — an exclusive and influential group within NAR that donates directly to “Realtor-friendly candidates” — would no longer be supporting Rohrabacher.
“Making this decision was the right thing for NAR to do; the association’s member Code of Ethics is far ahead of Congress on gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination,” Mendenhall said.