Mississippi is home to more than 60,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) adults. According to the Williams Institute, 3,500 same-sex couples call Mississippi home, and 29% of those couples are raising children. One in five transgender people in the United States has been discriminated when seeking a home, and more than one in ten have been evicted from their homes, because of their gender identity.
Without state protections for all Mississippians in housing, LGBT individuals and their families are open to discrimination from biased landlords and housing organizations. The lack of protections leaves countless otherwise qualified individuals susceptible to being denied housing because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Mississippians that qualify for affordable housing programs, like those offered by the Mississippi Home Corporation, should not be discriminated against for any reason. No one should have to face being left out on the street or forced to leave Mississippi because otherwise available housing is not made available to all who reside here.
Under House Bill 1523, “seriously held religious beliefs or moral convictions” allows discrimination against same-sex couples, transgender peole, and heterosexual couples. For example, this discriminatory law says that single mothers and fathers an be refused rental of an apartment building by religiously-affiliated organizations.
All residents should be treated fairly and equally under the laws of our state and that includes having the right housing. A federal judge in Colorado ruled that the Federal Fair Housing Act protects LGBT people. Mississippi taxpayers should not have to bear the cost of a federal lawsuit in order to protect those who call the magnolia state home. Amending Section 43-33-723 of the Mississippi Constitution would extend protections from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination so that all Mississippians have a fair chance at putting a roof over their head.
If you have experienced LGBT discrimination in housing, employment, or public accomodations, let us know.