SEATTLE, Wash. — Zillow recently unveiled its LGBT Local Legal Protections, a data-powered resource to help people see whether for-sale and rental listings are in communities where state and local regulations explicitly protect individuals who identify as LGBTQ (i) individuals from discrimination.
All property listings on Zillow, including homes on and off market, now include information about the home’s jurisdiction and the local laws in place that protect fair and equal treatment in housing, employment, as well as public accommodations (ii) based on sexual orientation and gender identity (iii).
“It’s 2020, and yet, unfortunately, in many parts of the United States, LGBTQ+ home shoppers still face housing discrimination,” said Dawn Lyon, Zillow chief corporate relations officer. “That’s why we strongly support federal-level protections as part of the Equality Act. In lieu of federal law and in the spirit of ‘turning on the lights,’ we want to give people the most information possible when buying, renting and financing a home, including which communities provide equal protection under the law for all.”
Currently, only 22 U.S. states and the District of Columbia offer statewide laws explicitly prohibiting housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and those laws can vary significantly by jurisdiction.
In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled that an existing federal law forbids job discrimination by most employers on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status. The ruling stated that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provides protection against workplace discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, and national origin, among other factors, now also covers sexual orientation and transgender status.
While the SCOTUS ruling is an important step forward for equal treatment of the LGBTQ community in the workplace, explicit housing and lending discrimination protections for LGBTQ people do not exist at the federal level. The Equality Act, which would add these important protections to federal law, is still awaiting consideration in the Senate.
According to the Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report, only 28 percent of LGBTQ buyers and 29 percent of LGBTQ renters completely agree with the statement “I feel accepted for who I am by those around me where I live,” compared to 51 percent of cisgender heterosexual buyers, and 40 percent of cisgender heterosexual renters.
More information on Zillow for Good is available online.
(i) Most laws are written to cover only LGBT because “Q” (“questioning” or “queer”) is not consistently defined from a policy perspective. Therefore, the data provided by the Movement Advancement Project does not include specific references to people who identify as “queer” or “questioning.”
(ii) Protection from being unfairly refused services or entry to or from places accessible to the public (retail stores, restaurants, parks, hotels, etc.).
(iii) Zillow’s LGBT Local Legal Protections feature is powered by data from the Movement Advancement Project, an independent nonprofit organization that provides research on equality for LGBT people.