May 19, 2017

Senators Shaheen, Hassan Cosponsor Bill to End Anti-LGBTQ Credit Discrimination

Senators Shaheen, Hassan Cosponsor Bill to End Anti-LGBTQ Credit Discrimination

The Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act Would Prohibit Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity When Applying for Credit

Currently, No Federal Law Protects LGBTQ Individuals from Credit Discrimination

WASHINGTON - Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) cosponsored the Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act (FDCA) of 2017, introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative JoshGottheimer (NJ-5), amending the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to prohibit credit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"No American should ever face discrimination because of their gender identity or sexual orientation," said Senator Shaheen. "While we have made tremendous progress, we must continue to ensure LGBT Americans enjoy or have the same basic rights, freedoms and economic opportunities as everyone else. The Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act will help LGBT individuals receive equal access to credit and equal treatment in our economy."

"All Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, should be able to pursue their dreams and thrive economically," said Senator Hassan. "The Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act is an important step toward ensuring that all LGBTQ Americans have the opportunity to fully participate in the social, civic, and economic life of our communities by making sure that they have equal access to credit, and I hope that my colleagues will join us in supporting this important legislation."

See below for more information on the Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act (FDCA):

BACKGROUND

Securing credit is critical to buying a home, going to college, or starting a small business. As such, credit decisions should not be based on personal characteristics unrelated to creditworthiness. Unfortunately, there is no federal law that protects individuals from credit discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act of 2017 (FDCA) would amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to prohibit credit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

WHY THE FDCA IS NEEDED

Unfortunately, in many states LGBTQ Americans can be denied a mortgage, credit card, student loan, or other types of credit simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. While several states have passed laws prohibiting discrimination in credit based on sexual orientation or gender identity, there is no uniform, nationwide protection from sexual orientation or gender identity credit discrimination for LGBTQ Americans. The FDCA seeks to fix this.

LEGISLATIVE SUMMARY

• Under current law, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination in the provision of credit on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, and age. The FDCA would amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to prohibit credit discrimination based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

• The FDCA was included in the Equality Act as Section 11, cosponsored by 220 Members of Congress and Senators in the 114th Congress.

CURRENT STATUS OF STATE LAWS

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia prohibit credit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Those states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. FDCA would prohibit credit discrimination against all LGBTQ Americans.

SUPPORT

In previous Congresses the FDCA was endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, 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.

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