News Civil Rights and your roommate

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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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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.
There must be something wrong with you if you cannot live with someone who has different religious beliefs. When you meet your roommate candidate and he does turn out to be fundamentalist, just ask him to not try to "convert" you.
 
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There must be something wrong with you if you cannot live with someone who has different religious beliefs. When you meet your roommate candidate and he does turn out to be fundamentalist, just ask him to not try to "convert" you.
You do know what fundamentalists are don't you?

They don't accept anyone elses veiws, at all. So to say he has a problem with not wanting to live with someone like that is just silly.

To live with someone with a different veiwpoint to your own is one thing, but to live with someone who firmly believes you are completely wrong in your beliefs and theirs are definitely right is a separate issue.
 
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Hepth

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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.
PLEASE read the story man, you're making the same mistake a LOT of people, both here and on other forums + the grand rapids news site's comments sections are making.

This is NOT an issue of whether one can discriminate when choosing a roommate or renter, PLEASE don't make it into that. Its about the advertisement of discrimination against "religion, race or handicap with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling." NOT male/smoking/gay/etc.

Its specific.
 

Astronuc

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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.
Yes - and this is where the Fair Housing Authority is wrong, and over-stepped the bounds.

They seem to interpret the offer for a roommate as a commercial transaction with any member of the general public. If the offer was for someone to rent a room or apartment owned by the woman, that would be a strictly commercial transaction in the marketplace, and one is not supposed to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, . . . .

However, as Evo inidcated this is about getting a roommate, i.e. sharing one's personal space, not a commercial transaction. Everyone discriminates on the basis of personal taste, comfort, preference, . . . .
 
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PLEASE read the story man, you're making the same mistake a LOT of people, both here and on other forums + the grand rapids news site's comments sections are making.

This is NOT an issue of whether one can discriminate when choosing a roommate or renter, PLEASE don't make it into that. Its about the advertisement of discrimination against "religion, race or handicap with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling." NOT male/smoking/gay/etc.

Its specific.
Ah so discrimination has boundaries. The fact the housing act has these quotes shouldn't make a difference, one could easily argue that those ("male/smoking/gay/etc") that don't fall into the categories listed in the act are being discriminated against (perhaps by the act itself).

It appears the act says you can't advertise you want a Christian, but I can advertise I don't want someone who's gay. Now that to me is a bigger issue.

I do firmly believe a person should be allowed to advertise exactly what their requirements are when it comes to private property. But I don't like the idea that there is a distinction made between what discrimination is and isn't acceptable. Either allow people to post what they want (within reason) or blanket ban it.

As a side, would this act cover the following type of advertisement wording:
"3rd floor flat, 3 bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, not suitable for disabled persons"?

This is clearly specifying a specific handicap that should not apply and yet it is, after all, a necessary fact.
 
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Ivan Seeking

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Just to be clear, one cannot discriminate in their choice of renters either. It isn't just the advertisement. Landlords who discriminate on the basis of race etc can be and are held accountable.
 
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Just to be clear, one cannot discriminate in their choice of renters either. It isn't just the advertisement. Landlords who discriminate on the basis of race etc can be and are held accountable.
In a business transaction I can understand and accept that (although don't agree personally).

In a private situation, I think it is perfectly acceptable for someone to specify what they want in a person renting a room.
 

Ivan Seeking

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In a business transaction I can understand and accept that (although don't agree personally).

In a private situation, I think it is perfectly acceptable for someone to specify what they want in a person renting a room.
For a shared living space, I agree. I was just making the point that here in the US, the law applies both to advertisements and practices. Someone earlier was saying that he is free to discriminate in his choice of renters. While in practice this may be true for roommates, it isn't true for renting generally, and it may not even be legal in the case of roommates [which again, I think is an invasion of privacy].
 

BobG

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PLEASE read the story man, you're making the same mistake a LOT of people, both here and on other forums + the grand rapids news site's comments sections are making.

This is NOT an issue of whether one can discriminate when choosing a roommate or renter, PLEASE don't make it into that. Its about the advertisement of discrimination against "religion, race or handicap with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling." NOT male/smoking/gay/etc.

Its specific.
Why is it against the law?

The law against advertising discrimination is part of the Fair Housing Act. The intent of the Fair Housing Act isn't to regulate advertising - it's to prevent discimination in the sale or rental of housing.

The justification for regulating advertisements is that you can't advertise illegal activity.

If there is an exception to the Fair Housing Act (which there is), then the exception should logically apply to advertisements, as well.

And, specifically, the Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to "Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act."

http://www.fairhousing.com/index.cfm?method=page.display&pagename=FHA_3604 [Broken]

(c) To make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination.
http://www.fairhousing.com/index.cfm?method=page.display&pagename=FHA_3603 [Broken]

(b) Exemptions
Nothing in section 3604 of this title (other than subsection (c)) shall apply to -

(1) any single-family house sold or rented by an owner: Provided, That such private individual owner does not own more than three such single-family houses at any one time: Provided further, That in the case of the sale of any such single-family house by a private individual owner not residing in such house at the time of such sale or who was not the most recent resident of such house prior to such sale, the exemption granted by this subsection shall apply only with respect to one such sale within any twenty-four month period: Provided further, That such bona fide private individual owner does not own any interest in, nor is there owned or reserved on his behalf, under any express or voluntary agreement, title to or any right to all or a portion of the proceeds from the sale or rental of, more than three such single-family houses at any one time: Provided further, That after December 31, 1969, the sale or rental of any such single-family house shall be excepted from the application of this subchapter only if such house is sold or rented (A) without the use in any manner of the sales or rental facilities or the sales or rental services of any real estate broker, agent, or salesman, or of such facilities or services of any person in the business of selling or renting dwellings, or of any employee or agent of any such broker, agent, salesman, or person and (B) without the publication, posting or mailing, after notice, of any advertisement or written notice in violation of section 3604(c) of this title; but nothing in this proviso shall prohibit the use of attorneys, escrow agents, abstractors, title companies, and other such professional assistance as necessary to perfect or transfer the title, or

(2) rooms or units in dwellings containing living quarters occupied or intended to be occupied by no more than four families living independently of each other, if the owner actually maintains and occupies one of such living quarters as his residence.
Emphasis mine.

Why in the world is it illegal to advertise a legal activity? And I'd also note that advertising a preference for a male or a female resident is also illegal. The exemption for sex is in the same paragraph that's specifically excluded from exemption for advertising.
 
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And I'd also note that advertising a preference for a male or a female resident is also illegal. The exemption for sex is in the same paragraph that's specifically excluded from exemption for advertising.
Thank you, I took it from a previous quote it only applied to the three listed (as per my previous post).

I also note it clearly states where it does and does not apply.
 

Evo

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I looked up the "fair housing act" and it's utterly ridiculous. They state that in the case of a roommate, you can freely discriminate, you just can't put it in writing.

For example, you can't say "property has no wheelchair access", the poor handicapped person has to go out to your house to find out the place wouldn't work out. :uhh:

It's also illegal to state things like "perfect for single or couple", "nice, quiet neighborhood".

We live in a sick world, IMO.

http://www.craigslist.org/about/FHA#examples
 

Ivan Seeking

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I looked up the "fair housing act" and it's utterly ridiculous. They state that in the case of a roommate, you can freely discriminate, you just can't put it in writing.
Huh, sure enough. That IS nuts.

I would like to know the basis for that law. This is the sort of thing that once made me a Republican. :biggrin:
 

BobG

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And, considering the issue is banning the advertisement of a legal activity, then this actually is a free speech issue.
 

Ivan Seeking

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And, considering the issue is banning the advertisement of a legal activity, then this actually is a free speech issue.
Free speech generally means freedom of expression. This is not an issue of expressed ideas being protected.
 

Ivan Seeking

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I bet I know the basis for the law: It would be impossible to enforce the law if someone had to check on the actual dwelling for each advertisement. It is a practical solution needed to protect the rights of renters generally and to avoid abuses that would be a nightmare to verify in each and every case.
 

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