Central PA's LGBT News Source
U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher told a group of realtors recently that homeowners should be able to refuse to sell their property to gays and lesbians, reports Jeff Collins for The Orange county Register. His statement reportedly cost him the support of a key national realtor group.
“Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone (if) they don’t agree with their lifestyle,” Rohrabacher told an Orange County Association of Realtors delegation at a May 16 meeting in Washington, D.C., according to Wayne Woodyard, a former Orange County Realtor president who was at the event.
Rohrabacher confirmed the accuracy of the sentiment, and added that homeowners should have the right to “choose who they do business with.”
“We’ve drawn a line on racism, but I don’t think we should extend that line,” Rohrabacher said.
“A homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral.”
The statement ignited a protest by a realtor gay-rights group, prompting the National Association of Realtors to withdraw its recommendation that members send campaign contributions to Rohrabacher.
“It was determined that Rep. Rohrabacher will no longer receive support from NAR’s President’s Circle,” an association statement said, referring to its list of recommended candidates.
Rohrabacher’s stance, the 1.3-million-member trade group said, is contrary to NAR’s code of ethics, which bans discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation or gender identity.”
“We certainly hope that Congress will … support the elimination of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The about-face occurred as the 15-term coastal Orange County Republican is locked in his toughest re-election campaign.
He’s facing 15 challengers, including eight Democrats as well as onetime political ally Scott Baugh, former Orange County GOP chairman.
Rohrabacher added he vehemently opposes housing discrimination based on race, religion or a person’s sex.
But, he said, “there are some fundamentalist Christians who do not approve of their lifestyle. I support their rights.” He also said he believes the Realtor association’s stance is “way out of sync” with its own industry.
Rohrabacher distinguished race-based discrimination from choosing not to do business with someone because of their lifestyle or political beliefs.
Homeowners, for example, shouldn’t be allowed to deny a sale to an interracial couple, he said.
But Democrats or Republicans should be able to refuse a home sale to people with opposing political views.
Would Rohrabacher, who uses a medical marijuana cream to ease his arthritis and supports relaxed penalties for cannabis use, be OK if a home seller refused to do business with him based on that lifestyle choice?
“Yes,” Rohrabacher said. “Absolutely.”