Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) introduced the Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act (FDCA) of 2013, which would amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) to prohibit discrimination in the provision of credit based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Currently, there is no federal law that consistently protects LGBT individuals from credit discrimination.
"Obtaining credit is a critical step for many looking to buy a home, go to college, or start a small business," said Senator Murray. "And since equal protection under the law is a fundamental right in our country, no one should suffer discrimination when trying to secure a roof over their head or a high quality education. I'm proud to introduce this legislation with Representative Israel to end this unfortunate practice that continues to hurt people in the LGBT community."
"The ability to secure credit is essential to keeping our economy moving and ensuring that everyone from small business owners to middle-class families can grow and prosper," said Representative Israel. "However, there are currently no federal protections in place for LGBT Americans who face discrimination when applying for credit. It's time for us to change this, and that's why I'm joining Senator Murray in introducing legislation to prohibit lenders from denying credit based on sexual orientation or gender identity."
"Securing credit is critical to some of the most important undertakings in life, yet many LGBT Americans can be denied credit simply because of who they are," said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin. "Credit decisions should not be based on personal characteristics unrelated to creditworthiness. FDCA will help LGBT people realize the American dream."
Twelve states and the District of Columbia have already passed laws prohibiting credit discrimination generally based on sexual orientation, including Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Additionally, ten states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination in credit transactions generally based on gender identity, including Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont. FDCA would allow all LGBT Americans to benefit from similar protections.
In addition to the Human Rights Campaign, FDCA has been endorsed by: National Center for Transgender Equality, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and Credit Union National Association.