LGBT discrimination and protections in the Northwest

Oregon. In Oregon, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals are protected from discrimination in housing and employment, although discrimination still persists.

Boise/Moscow. The Boise City Council recently heard testimony from a packed audience of 300 on a city ordinance that would prohibit discrimination of LGBT individuals in housing or employment. The Council subsequently voted to ban discrimination, and the Moscow City Council and Human Rights Commission may be set to follow suit.

Washington State. The State of Washington recently legalized same-sex marriage through the ballot box, and former governor Chris Gregoire signed ESHB 2661 into law on January 31, 2006.

ESHB 2661 adds sexual orientation as a protected class in Washington State.

Sexual orientation nondiscrimination became effective and part of the Washington State Law Against Discrimination (RCW 49.60) on June 8, 2006.

The new law (RCW 49.60.040) says sexual orientation “means heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and gender expression or identity. As used in this definition, gender expression or identity means having or being perceived to have a gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth.”

 See also


Rainbow Welcome Initiative helps LGBT refugees

From their web site: Rainbow Welcome Initiative supports the resettlement of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and/or Transgender (LGBT) refugees and asylees by offering technical assistance to service providers and disseminating critical resources relevant to both resettlement staff and refugees and asylees.

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New HUD Ruling Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

The Final Rule took effect in 2012 following publication in the Federal Register

“Proud that HUD has been a leader in” the fight, former HUD Secretary Donovan announced publication of a final rule “to ensure that HUD’s core housing programs are open to all eligible persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The rule, which took effect 30 days after publication, requires owners and operators of HUD-assisted housing, or housing whose financing is insured by HUD, to make housing available without regard to the sexual orientation or gender identity of an applicant for, or occupant of, the dwelling, whether renter- or owner;

  • Prohibits lenders from using sexual orientation or gender identity as a basis to determine a borrower’s eligibility for FHA-insured mortgage financing;
  • Clarifies that all otherwise eligible families, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, will have the opportunity to participate in HUD programs; and
  • Prohibits owners and operators of HUD-assisted housing or housing insured by HUD from asking about an applicant or occupant’s sexual orientation and gender identity for the purpose of determining eligibility or otherwise making housing available.

The rule insures “that HUD’s housing programs are open, not to some, not to most, but to all,” the Secretary said.

See the final rule here.

See the Presidential Memorandum here

See a 2013 Estimate of Discrimination AgainstSame-Sex Couples here

Note: This is not a change to the federal Fair Housing Act; with this notice, all HUD-funded ‘core’ programs will extend protections to LGBT households. Although the state of Idaho does not recognize familial status, sexual orientation or gender identity in its fair housing laws, the federal Fair Housing Act trumps state law when it comes to familial status.

Update 10.15.2014: The Ninth Circuit Court and Supreme Court paved the way for same-sex marriage to take place in Idaho and several other states in the fall of 2014. Depending on where one lives in Idaho, there are many different levels of protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. For an overview of laws and ordinances, see Idaho’s Unfinished Quilt of LGBT Protections in The Boise Weekly. And congratulations to all the newlyweds in Idaho!