Today the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released the first national study on housing discrimination against same-sex couples in the private rental market.
According to the study, same-sex couples experience unequal treatment more often than heterosexual couples from rental agents when responding to internet ads for rental units.
Researchers tested 6,833 email correspondences responses across 50 U.S. metropolitan housing markets to find that same-sex couples, particularly male couples, received significantly fewer responses to e-mail inquires about rental properties.
Surprisingly, the study also reported a slight increase in the adverse treatment of same-sex couples in jurisdictions with state-level protections against housing discrimination compared to jurisdictions without such protections.
Though HUD noted that when same-sex couples were treated equally when they received a response, the study moreover speaks to the inhibited access same-sex couples have to rental markets and the need for nondiscrimination protections.
Currently, only 20 states plus the District of Columbia, and more than 150 cities, towns and counties prohibit discrimination against LGBT individuals in housing accommodations.
The study serves as an initial step toward further research on same-sex housing discrimination, as well as highlights the need for investigation into discrimination against transgender individuals.