LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance launches anti-LGBTQ bill tracker

Courtesy of Inman News

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Almost two years after launching its “Article 10 Rule” campaign, the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance has upped the ante with a new webpage that tracks anti-LGBTQ legislators who’ve received funding from the National Association of Realtors’ lobbying arm, the Realtor Political Action Committee (RPAC).

“The Alliance has a responsibility to advocate on behalf of our LGBTQ+ members, along with current and potential LGBTQ+ homebuyers and sellers,” LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance CEO Ryan Weyandt said in a written statement on Thursday. “There are already more than 320 bills sponsored in 2024 by RPAC-funded legislators. This needs to change.”

According to the page, which relies on data from the American Civil Liberties Union, Bill Track 50 and several other public data sources, the RPAC has given more than $3.3 million to anti-LGBTQ legislators since 2018.

This year alone, legislators have proposed 322 bills aimed at censoring LGBTQ-inclusive school curriculum, eliminating access to gender-affirming healthcare, restricting drag performers’ ability to perform at certain public venues and giving religious exemptions to business owners who don’t want to serve LGBTQ+ patrons alongside a slew of other laws limiting LGBTQ+ civil rights.

The page lists every anti-LGBTQ bill proposal since 2018 and their current legislative status. It also lists whether the legislators who sponsored the bill received RPAC funding, and if so, how much. The funding ranges from five figures — one Iowa state legislator received $50,000 during his 2022 term — to a few hundred dollars.

Oklahoma, Tennesse and Missouri legislators have led the way in introducting anti-LGBTQ legislation this year, with roughly a third of anti-LGBTQ bill proposals coming from those states (100). The number of anti-LGBTQ bills proposed this year (330) is 37 percent away from matching the total for 2023 (510).

The Alliance said the webpage’s data will be updated regularly to account for new anti-LGBTQ bill proposals.

“I live in Texas and am an agent with eXp Realty,” Alliance President Anita Blue said in a written statement. “I love working in real estate and know how important it is to fund pro-housing politicians. But too often, as our new site shows, RPACs are supporting those who are also anti-LGBTQ+.”

“We launched the site to hopefully bring a needed discussion about changing the system on who receives RPAC funds,” she added. “Housing and community go hand-in-hand and therefore those who divide us should not be supported.”

In a phone call with Inman, Weyandt said the site comes from frustration with getting RPAC to evaluate political candidates based on NAR’s Article 10 Code of Ethics, which prohibits Realtors from “denying equal professional services” based on “race, religion, national origin, color, familial status, sex, and disability.”

“You can’t say one thing out of the left side of your mouth and then out of the right side of your mouth and do a completely other thing,” he said. “We don’t live in a world where we can address one topic at a time, so saying that you are serving politicians and candidates who are pro-housing is a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card that they have gotten very used to using to rationalize the other side of the sword, which is cutting people.”

Weyandt said civil rights are intimately tied to housing rights, as anti-LGBTQ+ bills make it difficult for LGBTQ homebuyers and sellers to live the American Dream — the ability to live and invest in a community without fear and judgment.

“I truly believe Realtors are the ambassadors to their communities,” he said. “They pride themselves on knowing as much about the houses and the neighborhoods they’re serving — they need to convey trust, hope and the promise of the American dream to the clients.”

“So if we are going through and funding politicians who are working to systematically erase certain portions of the population’s rights, how can we claim that we’re still pro-housing for all?” he added.  “It just doesn’t work. It doesn’t exist. It’s a double standard. Plain and simple. It can’t be tolerated anymore.”

When asked about the Alliance’s RPAC tracker, an NAR spokesperson told Inman RPAC has a “comprehensive process” to evaluate legislators who receive funding.

The spokesperson pointed Inman to an explainer video that noted 21 RPAC trustees are responsible for approving or denying state-level RPAC leaders’ funding requests. The video said trustees consider legislators’ voting record and support of housing-related issues, such as fair housing.

“These decisions are not made lightly,” the video said. “They’re based on a full view of the state’s reasoning and RPAC’s commitment to support candidates who advocate for pro-real estate policies regardless of political party.”

The spokesperson said NAR has a lengthy record of bi-partisan funding, with Republican and Democratic legislators receiving an equal share of the $7.2 million dispersed in 2022.

“The Code [of Ethics] is for Realtors only,” the spokesperson concluded. “Using the Code for other purposes or requiring non-Realtors to adhere to it makes it difficult to enforce the Code effectively.”

Although NAR has declined the Alliance’s requests, Weyandt and Alliance Project Manager Pip Franke said the page still has the power to change the minds of Realtors and RPAC leaders by helping them see the scale of anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the U.S.

“Thankfully we have so many allies standing with us including those who have taken the Stop Hate in Real Estate pledge,” he said. “Real estate leaders and professionals can do better. We can use our power for good and, hopefully, by pulling funding, make candidates reconsider their views. If Realtors must abide by the Code of Ethics, clearly those we support should be held to similar standards.”

Email Marian McPherson

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