On January 6, 2015, the City of Greensboro became the first city in North Carolina to prohibit discrimination in housing based on an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The ordinance, which was passed unanimously by the City Council, applies to the rentals or sale of residential housing as well as to related housing transactions. The City Council also voted to prohibit discrimination in city employment as well as the provision of city programs, services, or activities, based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
Previously, Greensboro’s fair housing ordinance tracked the language of the federal and state fair housing acts, which prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, nation origin, sex, familial status, and disability.
According to a map produced by the Human Rights Campaign, 18 states plus the District of Columbia currently prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, and an additional 3 states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation alone. In addition, hundreds of cities provide similar protections. Equality NC issued a statement praising Greensboro’s actions, noting:
This historic vote in Greensboro sends a clear signal that gay and transgender citizens, workers and their families should be treated fairly and equally by the laws and policies in North Carolina, while also sending a strong message to other parts of the state that no one should have to choose between who they are or who they love, and where they can live, where they can work, and the basic services they receive.
By updating their policies tonight, the City of Greensboro has leveled the playing field for citizens of Greensboro who are willing to work hard, earn a living, and provide for themselves and their families — a model every corner of the state should aspire to achieve and a message we’ll continue to make loud and clear in Equality NC’s continuing work to pass updates to non-discrimination policies on the state and local level.
According to press reports in the News and Record, the City of Charlotte is expected to consider similar legislation soon.
Click here to read Greensboro’s Amended Ordinance.