Governor Sandoval has signed into law SB368 which affords fair housing protections to the LGBT community in Nevada. The bill, co-sponsored by Senators Sheila Leslie and David Parks, adds to Nevada’s existing protected classes under fair housing law (race, color, religion, gender, national origin, family status, ancestry, disability) two more classes of individuals: gender identity/expression and sexual orientation. Despite some pretty heated testimony in opposition to the bill, it made its way through both the Senate and Assembly without amendment.
Those opposed to the bill included “Nevada Concerned Citizens,” a group that testified, in part:
“…Nevada residents who believe it is better for men to remain men and women to remain women ought to have the freedom to act on those beliefs, without facing stigma or punishment. This is the central reason for our opposition to this bill.”
The group went on to claim “The bill violates the privacy rights of every Nevada citizen,” by making it a crime to deny [housing] to a person based on his/her gender identity.
Those testifying in support of the bill included “Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates,” and the “Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada,” whose testimony included key findings of the “Nevada Transgender Community Needs Assessment Survey.” In part, the survey found nearly 80% of Nevadans support equal rights for all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
SB368 becomes effective on October 1, 2011.
Important note to Nevada Property Managers: Be sure to update your forms and fair housing policy to include these new protected classes!