New York: The US government issued a rule on Tuesday banning banks from discriminating against gay, bisexual and transgender people, in the latest move by the Joe Biden administration to support minority rights.
The government’s Financial Consumer Protection Bureau (CFPB) said in its interpretative ruling of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which became law in 1974 when many women fought for loans, that discrimination against LGBT applicants is illegal.
“With respect to any aspect of credit transactions, the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex … includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender discrimination,” said the rule published in the Federal Register of Government.
Same-sex couples are 73% more likely to be mortgaged than indirect spouses, according to the National Academy of Sciences, an independent advisory body that analyzed data from 1990 to 2015.
On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order that federal agencies must not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity when implementing existing federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex.
The office is the latest federal agency to support Biden’s executive order after the US Department of Housing and Urban Development said last month it would apply the Fair Housing Act, which bans housing discrimination, to LGBT people.
Both agencies cited a 2020 Supreme Court ruling expanding protections in the workplace to include gay and transgender people – the biggest gay rights moment in the United States since the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015.
The consumer watchdog said its rule on equal access to credit also prohibits discrimination “on the basis of actual or perceived non-compliance with gender or gender stereotypes.”
He gave as an example if a small business lender “asks the potential applicant to come home and change because, from the creditor’s point of view, the clothes of the small business customer do not match the gender of the customer.”
Alfonso David, head of the Human Rights Campaign, a LGBTI + advocacy group, praised Biden for his role in ensuring equitable access to credit for LGBT + Americans.
“The Biden administration has made unprecedented and immediate changes in the lives of 11 million LGBT people across the country, and we look forward to continuing our work with the president,” David said in a statement.