Equality Virginia teams up with VA Housing group for LGBTQ-friendly business listings
Equality Virginia and Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) are teaming up for Fair Housing Month in April. They are asking LGBT friendly housing providers and realtors to join the “Equality Means Business” campaign, which recognizes businesses against discrimination.
As it stands, there are no laws in Virginia that protect the LGBT community from discrimination in housing or in the workplace.
This session, the General Assembly had two bills that would have expanded protection in housing to sexual orientation and gender identity.
In a press release from Equality Virginia, Wexton said she was not giving up on the issue.
“It makes no sense to consider someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity when deciding whether to rent or sell a home to them,” said Wexton.
“Unfortunately, we know these considerations are blocking housing for LGBTQ Virginians. I plan to reintroduce legislation in 2016 to outlaw this invidious discrimination. In the meantime, housing providers can show their support for these important rights by joining Equality Means Business.”
In 2014, HOME conducted a study investigating discrimination in housing. They found a 31% difference in how same-sex couples were treated compared to heterosexual couples of the same qualifications. Same-sex couples were generally treated worse.
Virginia does outlaw discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap, but landlords are free to discriminate against LGBT individuals.
In a press release, Heather Crislip, President and CEO of HOME said housing should only be based on an applicants qualifications.
“Housing Providers are often the first contact that families have with their new location,” Crislip said. “It is vital for the housing industry to not discriminate in order to create diverse and thriving communities that are welcoming to all individuals. Housing opportunities should be based on someone’s ability to qualify, not on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The Equality Means Business has been launched in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, as a way of showcasing companies that are inclusive to the LGBT community.
Business can apply online for free here.
James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia said, “Businesses that welcome LGBT customers and clients and take a stand for workplace non-discrimination deserve to be recognized for moving Virginia, the region, and indeed the whole country in the right direction.”
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