Gays and Lesbians More Likely to Face Housing Discrimination, Study Finds | WABE 90.1 FM

Gays and Lesbians More Likely to Face Housing Discrimination, Study Finds

Jun 20, 2013

Those who identify as lesbian or gay are more likely to face discrimination when it comes to renting a home  according to a first-of-its-kind report released this week by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The study involved 7,000 Internet posts for rental housing in 50 US cities, including Atlanta.

Researchers sent two Emails for each listing.  One indicated the potential renters were a male and  female couple.  The other used language indicating the respondents were of the same gender.

Researchers found heterosexual couples were 16% more likely to get a response.  However, that was for the sample as a whole, and would likely vary widely when looked at city-by-city. 

“I think it’s really important from a policy perspective,” says SUNY at Albany sociologist Samantha Friedman.  She, along with M. Davis & Co.,  conducted the study.

Friedman says the report highlights the need to add sexual orientation as a federally-protected class.   

Existing non-discrimination policies protecting categories like race, gender and religion "are very important and have worked in a way over time, but on the other hand, people have to take actions too.”

In other words, protections only work if those who experience discrimination speak up.

Hundreds of cities and 20 states prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Neither Atlanta nor Georgia have such protections.