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REALTORS Go To Washington: Support LGBIA Inclusion to the Fair Housing Act
Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018 @ 12:36 AM

By: Christopher Nikhil Bowen - June 5, 2018 - Washington D.C. was buzzing with REALTOR® activity the week of May 14th. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Midyear Business Meetings and lobby day brought REALTORS® and staff together from across the country. While each association faces its own set of challenges, there are also many more issues that we have in common. Those issues that can only be remedied by Congress were addressed to them by REALTOR® delegations.

 

Issues ranged from tax policy, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), supporting strong net neutrality protections, and equal access to housing opportunities. Issues like flood insurance and tax policy are mainstays when REALTORS® visit the Hill, but equal access to housing was new, and it drew quite a bit of attention.


BHGLAAR outside the office of Rep. Jimmy GomezHaving recently fêted the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act with over 300 REALTORS® at the Proud Bird in Inglewood, Los Angeles REALTORS® have been proud to champion the message of housing inclusion. BH/GLAAR was proud to partner with the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) to support national fair housing.


Unfortunately, the Fair Housing Act did not include LGBIA members. This is why we urged our representatives to support H.R. 1447, the Fair and Equal Housing Act. The bill would protect Americans from housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This story has picked up local and national coverage because of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s refusal to support the bill when he met with Orange County Association of REALTORS® (OCAR) representatives.


BH/GLAAR CEO and LGBT ally Chip Ahlswede (who grew up in Rohrabacher’s district) has been working overtime reaching out to Rohrabacher’s office trying to inform him of the importance of passing this bill. While unsuccessful thus far, he relishes these opportunities to speak with members and the general public on the importance of Fair Housing for all.CEO Chip Ahlswede in the background as President Steve Drust shakes Rep. Ted Lieu's hand.


BH/GLAAR Government Affairs Director James Litz (an out gay man) was pleased with the responses from Los Angeles area Representatives including Jimmy Gomez, Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters, Karen Bass and Ted Lieu to all four lobby points, but expressed frustration with others in the state and the country that aren’t supportive of fair housing for all. “We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go. Education, advocacy, and persistence is key. We’re prepared to support NAR’s position, please look for our delegation in this year’s Pride Parade in Los Angeles. We have a great message, you don’t want to miss it!”



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