Also: unmarried couples and poor families.

The federal Fair Housing Act was passed 45 years ago today, and in the two generations since then, the law has expanded to make it illegal to refuse to rent or sell a home to someone (or to skew the terms of their lease) because of race, religion, national origin, sex, family status or disability. That list is pretty sweeping, but it's still missing a few groups whose absence grows more glaring by the year.

Federal laws don't protect against housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, income source or marital status (whether or not you're married is a different question from if you have kids). Many states do this on their own. But a surprising number don't. Today, it's still possible for a landlord in Texas to refuse to rent you an apartment with your live-in girlfriend (married couples only!), for a property management company in Alabama to turn you away because you're gay or transgendered, or for a homeowner in Indiana to decline your application because your income (which is enough to cover your rent) comes from housing vouchers, child support or alimony.

And we haven't even gotten to the question yet of whether or not you can rent a home with your same-sex wife.

In advocating for these expanded protections, the National Fair Housing Alliance released a report today on "Modernizing the Fair Housing Act for the 21st Century," from which these maps come. Across the U.S., protections for each of these groups appear to be the exception, not the rule:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of shoppers in the central textile market of downtown Jakarta.
    Design

    How Cities Design Themselves

    Urban planner Alain Bertaud’s new book, Order Without Design, argues that cities are really shaped by market forces, not visionaries.

  2. Equity

    The ‘Sweeping’ Effect of a $15-an-Hour Job Guarantee

    A new report analyzes the complicated labor market impact of a radical proposal that’s gaining traction on the left.

  3. A photo of an encampment of homeless people outside Minneapolis,
    Equity

    Why Minneapolis Just Made Zoning History

    The ambitious Minneapolis 2040 plan will encourage more dense housing development in single-family neighborhoods.

  4. A block of shuttered two-story buildings
    Equity

    Can Poletown Come Back After a General Motors Shutdown?

    The 33-year-old GM Detroit-Hamtramck plant was renovated less than five years ago. But now that it’s shutting down, some residents are hoping to right a wrong.

  5. Students in Chandler, Arizona.
    Equity

    How Corporate Tax Incentives Rob Public School Budgets

    A new Good Jobs First study shows that corporate tax incentives—like those given for Amazon HQ2—have diverted at least $1.8 billion from public schools.