Earlier this week, a Chicago federal appeals court ruled that LGBTQ employees are protected under the Civil Rights Act. Now, in another major win for the LGBTQ community, a U.S. district judge in Denver has ruled that the federal Fair Housing Act protects citizens from housing discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity.
After Colorado landlord Deepika Avanti refused to rent a townhouse to a lesbian family based on their “unique relationship,” partners Rachel and Tonya Smith sued for discrimination. Denver federal Judge Raymond Moore wrote a ruling on the case, arguing that LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex-based stereotyping that is unlawful.
“[The plaintiffs] contend that discrimination against women (like them) for failure to conform to stereotype norms concerning to or with whom a woman should be attracted, should marry, and/or should have children is discrimination on the basis of sex under the FHA. The Court agrees,” Moore wrote, according to the Washington Post.
“Such stereotypical norms are no different from other stereotypes associated with women, such as the way she should dress or act (e.g., that a woman should not be overly aggressive, or should not act macho), and are products of sex stereotyping.”
One of the plaintiffs, Rachel Smith, is a transgender woman. Because the ruling also protects for gender identity, the case sets a precedent for protecting transgender citizens who are discriminated against based on their gender.
Lambda Legal lawyer Omar Gonzalez-Pagan found the ruling a significant one, stressing the importance of bringing these cases to court. “What you are seeing in these cases is a recognition that our civil rights laws really protect LGBT people,” Gonzales-Pagan said, according to the Post.