Realtor group pulls support from GOP rep over comments about selling to LGBT homebuyers

Realtor group pulls support from GOP rep over comments about selling to LGBT homebuyers
© Greg Nash

Rep. Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherDemocratic gains erasing House GOP in California California New Members 2019 McCarthy defeats Jordan for minority leader in 159-to-43 vote MORE (R-Calif.) has lost the support of a national realtors group after he indicated that homeowners should be able to refuse to sell to LGBT people, The Orange County Register reported Thursday.

Rohrabacher reportedly told a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) that he didn’t believe in extending fair housing protections to LGBT people during a meeting earlier this week.

“A person who owns their own home, they have a right to choose who they do business with,” Rohrabacher told The Orange County Register on Thursday. “We’ve drawn a line on racism. But I don’t think we should extend that line.”

The realtor group member, Wayne Woodyard, said he asked Rohrabacher if he would support a bill to extend discrimination protections in the Fair Housing Act to LGBTQ individuals.

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“He refused to support and was adamant that every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone that they don’t agree with their ‘lifestyle,’” Woodyard said of Rohrabacher's comments, according to a letter by the NAGLREP. Woodyard reportedly posted his account of the meeting on Facebook in a post that quickly circulated this week.

The National Association of Realtors said in a statement to The Orange County Register that it had decided to withdraw its endorsement of Rohrabacher over his comments.

The group also pulled him from a list of candidates that the association urges members to donate to.

“The association’s member Code of Ethics is far ahead of Congress on gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination. We certainly hope that Congress will … support the elimination of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” the NAR said in a statement.

Rohrabacher told the Register that he’s not “anti-gay” and opposes discrimination on the basis of race, religion or sex.

“There are some fundamentalist Christians who do not approve of their lifestyle. I support their rights,” Rohrabacher told the paper.

He added that the NAR pulling his endorsement “certainly can’t do me any good,” adding that “it’s sad to see [NAR’s] priority is standing in solidarity with making sure a stamp of approval is put on somebody’s private lifestyle.”

The Hill has reached out to Rohrabacher's office for comment.

NAGLREP founder and CEO Jeff Berger told The Hill that Rohrabacher's comments were "disturbing" and applauded the NAR for pulling its endorsement.

"We hope that if this behavior we’ve encountered again by legislators should arise, that [the NAR] will take a stand and let everyone know that their organization is serious about fair housing," Berger said.

Rohrabacher's statements come as he faces a difficult reelection bid  — his race has been rated as a "toss up" by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

--Updated at 10:48 p.m.