Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Property Rights for the LGBT Community...these are REALTOR issues

On Friday I had a quick conversation with Mark Lehman of the Texas Association of Realtors concerning LGBT Property Rights as they relate to Marriage.  He was very receptive as were my friends at the Collin County Association of Realtors.  Mark wanted some follow up information so here's what I sent him.


We spoke Friday concerning TREPAC and TAR Endorsements.  You were going to send me a list of LGBT candidates TAR has supported,  I wanted to write you with some further information.  I am a member of the National Association of Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP).  NAGLREP is responsible for getting Article 10 of the Code of Ethics changed to include Sexual Orientation and now Gender Identity. 

I believe that anti-gay marriage legislation and the recent Denial of Service bills floating through the various states are REALTOR issues.  Endorsing homophobic candidates who use LGBT issues to rally their base is not only personally insulting as a member of the Association, it damages our property rights.  

Let's start with Marriage:

Marriage provides property rights. 
* One spouse owns a house prior to marriage and the other spouse spends one night in the property, they have rights. 
* When one spouse sells a home the other has to sign for that closing as well
* When purchasing a home both spouses can count towards the income and credit rating for the purchase
* When one spouse dies the other has immediate rights to the property which can not be superseded by other family members.

I was with my partner 15 years and we had to pay lawyers a couple thousand dollars to create wills, life estates and other documents to simulate marriage, all the time knowing that those documents were only as good as the conservative judge who would review them if they were ever needed.  Judges can throw out these documents because the Defense of Marriage Act  (DOMA) requires that any document that is "similar to marriage" is illegal, only marriage can be considered valid.  On the whole, these document simulate marriage so a judge could through them out and deny my partner rights to our property.

Marriage rights are not debatable.  According to NAR's 2013 Profile Of Home Buyers and Sellers, 66% percent of recent home buyers were married couples—the highest share since 2001.  Married people buy homes.    Also they note: "Married couples who purchased a home have the advantage of more buying power and added financial stability—their typical household incomes are higher than single households"

Religious Freedom / Denial of Service Bills:
These bills, on their face, are absolutely discriminatory.  It's a return to Separate But Equal Jim Crow style laws. Any person with a "deeply-held religious belief" could deny service to LGBT people.  Some of the bills include Police, Fire and Emergency personnel.   Imagine an ambulance shows up to an emergency and the EMT decides that due to his religious beliefs he's not going give life-saving services to your family member. 

Kansas has stalled their bill in the senate.
Arizona raced the their bill through both house and Jan Brewer finally vetoed it.
Mississippi has passed their bill through both houses and it's going to their Governor to sign.

I suspect that this type of bill will be introduced in the Texas Legislature when it starts back up this year.  And most likely it will be endorsed and supported by TREPAC Endorsed members. 

This law flies in the face of Article 10 of the Code of Ethics.  We should let our endorsed candidates know that this will damage the reputation of Texas and will hurt property values as LBGT buyers will look elsewhere. 

I look forward to talking with you further when you have time.  I would very much like to help advance these concerns so that LGBT Realtors are better represented by TREPAC and so that property rights or LGBT citizens of Texas are protected like everyone elses.

Bob McCranie,Broker / Owner
Texas Pride Realty
972-754-0582 cell
Information About Brokerage Services -  http://tinyurl.com/TPR-IABS

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