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U.S. agency moves to ban housing discrimination against gays

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has proposed regulations that would ban discrimination against gay people in federally-assisted housing programs. The new rules would prohibit lenders from discriminating based on sexual orientation in offering FHA-insured mortgages. They would also prohibit discrimination in HUD programs including public housing, Section 8 vouchers, and multi-family housing assisted through HUD funding.

Currently, the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in renting, selling and mortgage lending on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and family status. The new rules say that “family status” includes the fact that someone is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. HUD is accepting comments on the proposed rules and expects to make a final version official by the end of 2011.

While there is currently no federal law concerning discrimination against gays in housing, there are discrimination bans in effect in roughly 20 states and more than 150 cities and towns in the U.S.

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