LGBTQ+ community gets support for Equality Act from mortgage industry

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It's been 51 years since the U.S. Congress passed the Fair Housing Act and six since the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned by the Supreme Court. However, the Fair Housing Act doesn't include specific language for sexual orientation or gender identity in its protections.

The Equality Act, which is under consideration by the Congress, would add that language to civil rights laws nationwide. The act passed the House of Representatives in May and now awaits action by the Senate.

Many in the mortgage industry support the bill, with Better.com as the latest to voice its endorsement. Better is part of a growing trend, joining the likes of Compass, Exp Realty, NAR, Realogy, Redfin and Remax, among others. The company is also joining the Human Rights Commission's wider business coalition, advocating for the legislation.

"Better.com pledges full and formal support for the Equality Act because the current status quo is unjust," Vishal Garg, founder and CEO, said in a press release. "Every human being — regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation or socioeconomic standing — deserves a fair shot at the American dream of owning a home."

Same-sex couples are 73.12% more likely to be denied from getting a mortgage based on data spanning 1990 to 2015, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That higher likelihood of loan denial helps explain why LBGTQ+ homeownership sits 16% lower than the national average, according to a report by the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals and Freddie Mac.

Just last August, HUD filed a fair housing complaint against Facebook, saying its advertising allowed restrictive covenants in the housing market.

"To know that even in 2019, there is a marginalized community without formal protected laws is unconscionable," Garg said. "The entire reason Better.com was created was to prevent this kind of discrimination in housing through technology. We stand behind all communities and support them as they pursue homeownership."

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