News Civil Rights and your roommate

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drankin

So a woman posts an ad on a church wall looking for a Christian roommate and gets slammed with a civil rights complaint.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/10/22/civil-rights-complaint-filed-christian-roommate-advertisement/?test=latestnews

If an athiest posts an add looking for a non-religious roommate, would that person be infringing on the civil rights of the religious?

I think the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan is going to get egg on their face for this one.
 
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Evo

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So a woman posts an ad on a church wall looking for a Christian roommate and gets slammed with a civil rights complaint.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/10/22/civil-rights-complaint-filed-christian-roommate-advertisement/?test=latestnews

If an athiest posts an add looking for a non-religious roommate, would that person be infringing on the civil rights of the religious?

I think the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan is going to get egg on their face for this one.
She's not renting a property to anyone, she's looking for a roommate. This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. This is taking the intent of the law too far.

And it was on a church builletin board.

You most definitely should have a right to select who gets to live with you.

This has nothing to do with *christians*, she just happens to be a christian. So let's not even pretend that this is a law against christians. The law is
the Fair Housing Act prevents people from publishing an advertisement stating their preference of religion, race or handicap with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling.
A rental property and a roommate are not the same thing.
 
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Hepth

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Why doesn't fox report the entire ad rather than a single select section of one sentence?
Unless by <<"The ad included the words, "Christian roommate wanted," along with the woman's contact information. ">> They mean that this is the entire message.

I looked around at a bunch of news sources and noone wants to post the entire ad, just the "I am looking for a Christian roommate" section.

If the ad was like "I have a house that I am currently renting and my previous roommate left, and now I am looking for a Christian roommate.." Then yes, thats illegal right? You can't ADVERTISE the discrimination, but you can discriminate at-will.

I don't see the problem. Its a violation of the law to advertise discrimination when renting.

Again, this is assuming the condition that she had the rental property, or already had the room which would have been sublet to the new roomate. If it was a "I'm looking for someone to together find a place and rent it together thats Christian" Then I don't see that as illegal.
 

Hepth

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You most definitely should have a right to select who gets to live with you.
I thought the point of that law was that you HAVE the right discriminate, but you don't have a right to advertise the discrimination.
 
D

drankin

Why doesn't fox report the entire ad rather than a single select section of one sentence?
Unless by <<"The ad included the words, "Christian roommate wanted," along with the woman's contact information. ">> They mean that this is the entire message.

I looked around at a bunch of news sources and noone wants to post the entire ad, just the "I am looking for a Christian roommate" section.

If the ad was like "I have a house that I am currently renting and my previous roommate left, and now I am looking for a Christian roommate.." Then yes, thats illegal right? You can't ADVERTISE the discrimination, but you can discriminate at-will.

I don't see the problem.
Of course, FN over-dramatizes their articles in an effort to create more news than there actually is. I take most of it with a grain of salt. At least I know what I'm getting with FN.

But, should it be illegal to advertise that you want a Christian roommate? Or an non-religious roommate for that matter? Shouldn't one be able to advertise exactly what they are looking for in someone they will be living with?
 

Evo

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I thought the point of that law was that you HAVE the right discriminate, but you don't have a right to advertise the discrimination.
Yes, it's *advertise*. But is a note tacked to your church's bulletin board advertising? Did she specifically say that the person would have to pay her rent?

If it was a "I'm looking for someone to together find a place and rent it together thats Christian" Then I don't see that as illegal.
That's no different.

What about saying that I want a roommate but won't consider a PETA member? That's as much of a religion than anything I can think of. :tongue2:
 
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Al68

I don't see the problem. Its a violation of the law to advertise discrimination when renting.

Again, this is assuming the condition that she had the rental property, or already had the room which would have been sublet to the new roomate. If it was a "I'm looking for someone to together find a place and rent it together thats Christian" Then I don't see that as illegal.
Either way, there simple is no "dwelling for rent" in this case. A bedroom is not a dwelling. The right to share a bathroom is not a dwelling. This ad was simply not an offer to rent a dwelling.

The only problem I see here are power hungry bureaucrats in desperate need of wedgies.
 
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Al68

What about saying that I want a roommate but won't consider a PETA member? That's as much of a religion than anything I can think of. :tongue2:
Hey, how is that a religion? I'm a Person for the Eating of Tasty Animals. :biggrin:
 

Ivan Seeking

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It sounds like the problem is with the wording of the law. An exemption is made for people of the opposite sex sharing space, which suggests that a rented room counts as a dwelling, but no general exemption is allowed for the same conditions.
 

Evo

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So sexual descrimination is allowed, it's perfectly fine for someone to refuse to rent to a homosexual. Unless homosexuals start a church, then they are protected. This is so wrong. I become more opposed to the misuse and abuse of "Freedom of Religion" every day. Freedom of Religion should be restricted to the right of an individual to practice that religion, period, that's all. And I really don't think it should be covered in the Constitution anymore, there is no need now, it's obsolete, A person's choice of religion doesn't need any more protection than my choosing which shoes to wear. Renting a house has nothing to do with them practicing their religion. Religion is chosen, it's not like a person's race, you can't choose your race.
 
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Ivan Seeking

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So sexual descrimination is allowed, it's perfectly fine for someone to refuse to rent to a homosexual. Unless homosexuals start a church, then they are protected. This is so wrong. I become more opposed to the misuse and abuse of "Freedom of Religion" every day. Freedom of Religion should be restricted to the right of an individual to practice that religion, period, that's all. And I really don't think it should be covered in the Constitution anymore, there is no need now, it's obsolete, A person's choice of religion doesn't need any more protection than my choosing which shoes to wear. Renting a house has nothing to do with them practicing their religion. Religion is chosen, it's not like a person's race, you can't choose your race.
It seems to me that anyone looking for a roommate should be able to list any preferences desired. They just need to generally exempt advertisements for roommates from the anti-descrimination law.
 
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Al68

Freedom of Religion should be restricted to the right of an individual to practice that religion, period, that's all. And I really don't think it should be covered in the Constitution anymore, there is no need now, it's obsolete, A person's choice of religion doesn't need any more protection than my choosing which shoes to wear. Renting a house has nothing to do with them practicing their religion.
This seems more like a freedom of speech issue than freedom of religion, since no one is being deprived of their right to practice their religion, and there is no separation of church and state issue at all.

The supposed "wrongful act" is speech, so the issue is whether this particular type of speech should be prohibited and punished. Is stating a preference for a roommate equivalent to yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theater?
 

Ivan Seeking

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The supposed "wrongful act" is speech, so the issue is whether this particular type of speech should be prohibited and punished. Is stating a preference for a roommate equivalent to yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theater?
It is an issue of a roommate being equivalent to a renter. Why in the world would you relate this to the fire example when this is clearly about anti-discrimination laws?

My impulse is to say that when it comes to sharing a personal living space, privacy rights trump the anti-discrimination law.
 
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Al68

It is an issue of a roommate being equivalent to a renter. Why in the world would you relate this to the fire example when this is clearly about anti-discrimination laws?
Uh, because the "anti-discrimination" law in question prohibits speech. :uhh:
 
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Evo

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Uh, because the "anti-discrimination" law in question prohibits speech. :uhh:
Free speech doesn't apply to things that are illegal. You can't solicit sex with minors, you can't offer your body parts for sale, you can't offer sex for money, soliciting murder for hire, etc...
 
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Al68

Free speech doesn't apply to things that are illegal. You can't solicit sex with minors, you can't offer your body parts for sale, you can't offer sex for money, soliciting murder for hire, etc...
It was my understanding that it was not illegal to actually decline a roommate based on their religion. Is that not correct?

Having (and exercising) the roommate preference is perfectly legal, but stating it is illegal.

Obviously offering to buy or sell an illegal service is itself illegal, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.
 
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The law mandates providing false hope to people, that's all. I'm an owner-occupant renting out my basement to some roommates. At one point, they were going to move out, so I was advertising on craigslist to get a new one.

I would NOT have accepted a religious fundamentalist in my house living with me, but I wasn't allowed to advertise that. If I had gotten interest from one, I would have had to say no.

It seems to me this harms the applicant more than helps them. It would have saved this hypothetical zealot time and energy if I was able to post "no religious nuts" in my ad.

(before anyone asks, owner-occupants have more rights in accepting or declining a tenant than a more traditional landlord. If I moved out, I couldn't discriminate based on anything protected. As long as I live here, I get to choose who I live with)
 

Evo

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It was my understanding that it was not illegal to actually decline a roommate based on their religion. Is that not correct?
It's advertising as was stated earlier, which makes your post about free speech make even less sense.

Obviously offering to buy or sell an illegal service is itself illegal, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.
That is the case. She "advertised" for a roommate, so they claim. Have you read any posts? Or did you forget what you posted about "free speech"?
 
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Al68

The law mandates providing false hope to people, that's all. I'm an owner-occupant renting out my basement to some roommates. At one point, they were going to move out, so I was advertising on craigslist to get a new one.

I would NOT have accepted a religious fundamentalist in my house living with me, but I wasn't allowed to advertise that. If I had gotten interest from one, I would have had to say no.

It seems to me this harms the applicant more than helps them. It would have saved this hypothetical zealot time and energy if I was able to post "no religious nuts" in my ad.

(before anyone asks, owner-occupants have more rights in accepting or declining a tenant than a more traditional landlord. If I moved out, I couldn't discriminate based on anything protected. As long as I live here, I get to choose who I live with)
I agree. Like I mentioned before, this is a free speech issue. It's perfectly legal for you to have and exercise your preference, but it's illegal to advertise it.
 

Evo

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I agree. Like I mentioned before, this is a free speech issue. It's perfectly legal for you to have and exercise your preference, but it's illegal to advertise it.
No, it's not free speech. I pointed that out earlier. Don't degrade the thread with nonsense.
 
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Al68

It was my understanding that it was not illegal to actually decline a roommate based on their religion. Is that not correct?
It's advertising as was stated earlier, which makes your post about free speech make even less sense.
I don't understand what you mean here. You correctly pointed out that advertising an illegal service was not protected speech and I pointed out that the actions advertised were not illegal. Only the speech itself is prohibited by this law.
Obviously offering to buy or sell an illegal service is itself illegal, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.
That is the case. She "advertised" for a roommate, so they claim. Have you read any posts? Or did you forget what you posted about "free speech"?
Having a roommate is an illegal service? What are you talking about?
 
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I don't understand what you mean here. You correctly pointed out that advertising an illegal service was not protected speech and I pointed out that the actions advertised were not illegal. Only the speech itself is prohibited by the law.Having a roommate is an illegal service? What are you talking about?
you've got two different actions here. one is the act of putting your requirements in the ad. the other action is actually choosing the roommate based on your preferences. one of those actions you can do, the other you can't. that is the difference.
 
J

Jasongreat

This is the most absurd complaint ever,imo, if buisinesses have the right to refuse sevice to anybody(atleast thats what the signs say), I would think somebody could choose who they want as a roommate. I routinely get turned down for rentals just because of being a single male(who wants the chance of parties every night in their rental property), and I see adds all the time asking for only female roomates. Private property is private property imo, choose who you want for any reason you want. She probably would have had better luck if she would of just listed the things she wanted, like non-smoker, non-drinker, or what ever instead of putting a certain religion in there, but she did list it in a church and not in a public place such as a city building. IMO government has no rights to dictate private interaction in private settings.
 

BobG

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How does this affect dating web sites?

I take it I could word my profile so incompatible people would realize we're not going to get along - but I couldn't say people of a certain race or religion need not reply?

I think choosing a roommate kind of follows along the same line. This isn't the same as a person renting their own personal living space. This is an ad looking for a partner in renting out a shared living space.
 
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This is ridiculous. As a student who has seen plenty of ads (granted in the UK) for rooms for rent, I have seen on numerous occasions people putting "female only / male only" or "smoker / non-smoker" or "single / couple". All of which discriminate, but, as it is a private room in someones house I don't see a problem. This is what they want in a person to live with them. It is their choice and the websites that allow you to advertise even have these as fixed options.
Even so far as renting an entire house / flat to people, I think it's the right of the owner to decide who lives there, even if it is advertised (so long as you don't go extreme in the ads).

I do see an irony though, I see ads which are pretty specific (female, non-smoker, single) and that appears to be acceptable (at least in the UK) and yet if the police were to target only people matching that description (for random knife checks for example - assuming that was the group of people most likely to be carrying them), that would be seen as discrimination.
 

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