Saturday, March 15, 2014

Property Rights are REALTOR Issues. Our Candidates Should Agree

In August 1996 I met Warren.  We would spend 15 years together building a family and life.  Over years we raised two great kids and bought several properties.  We had mostly normal suburban lives with shopping, homework, jobs and family.
Because we lived in Texas, we knew our relationship would not be recognized by the state.  We drew up wills to cover each other in case the worst happened, but we also knew that conservative judges would have to probate those wills.  In 2003 Texas passed the Defense of Marriage Act and in 2005 the State voters passed an amendment that only marriage between a man and woman was recognized and that anything similar was unconstitutional.   The question would then be, were our wills similar to marriage because they transferred property rights upon death?

Warren and I have owned 7 different properties together, but between us there were no legally established property rights.  Fifteen years together meant nothing.

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* When one spouse dies the other has immediate rights to the property which can not be superseded by other family members.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 am a professional REALTOR.  LGBT Marriage Equality is a property rights issue, and thus, a REALTOR issue.  My relationship with Warren counted.  It was real.

Texas is a red meat state with politicians who get more votes every time they ring the bell of discrimination.  It draws out voters when you tell them others are trying to take something away from them.  But discrimination is wrong.  It is antithetical to the American dream and the Code of Ethics. Discrimination destroys families, communities and property values.  Texas won't change over night, but our PAC can be an important catalyst for protecting the property rights of our LGBT Realtors and neighbors.

I want our PAC to put the issue of Marriage Equality in front of candidates before giving out endorsements.  If they see a 90,000 person PAC ask for their position on the issue, they will understand its importance.  Texas candidates may not agree with the issue but at least they should be asked the question.  LGBT Realtors like myself should no longer be second class members of our associations as our property rights issues get ignored.

This post originally appeared at

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