The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has been trying to systematically measure housing discrimination against minorities in America for the last 40 years (latest update: it stubbornly still exists on a surprisingly wide scale). This year for the first time, however, the agency is releasing a large new housing study about what many consider the next frontier of the civil rights fight: discrimination against gays and lesbians. Technically, the federal Fair Housing Act that bars homeowners or property agencies from discriminating against racial minorities offers no such protection for the LGBT community. As of now, such legislation has been left up to individual states and municipalities (20 states and the District of Columbia offer some protection; here is a map of all the states that don't). Increasingly, though, HUD is throwing its support behind the issue. Last year, the agency published a new rule requiring HUD-funded and -insured housing providers and Federal Housing Administration-approved lenders to provide equal access without regard to sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. This latest study, released today, is another notable milestone.
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