By Neal Broverman
Originally published on Advocate.com January 02 2013 5:43 PM ET
The nation's department of Housing and Urban Development has taken its first action against a lender for denying a lesbian couple a mortgage.
HUD recently enacted rules that guarantee housing programs be open to all, including LGBT people. The department took Bank of America to task after B of A denied a lesbian couple in Florida a mortgage. The women applied for a Federal Housing Authority-insured loan, and because one of the partners was unemployed, the other woman listed her partner's mother as a co-applicant for the loan. Bank of America denied the loan because the woman and her partner's mother are not related, though it was impossible for them to have legal ties, since Florida bans same-sex marriage.
According to a statment from HUD, "BOA agrees to pay HUD $7,500 and to notify its residential mortgage loan originators, processors and underwriters of its Settlement Agreement with HUD. In addition, BOA will remind its employees that they are prohibited from discriminating against FHA-loan applicants on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. BOA will also update its fair lending training program to include information on HUD’s rule."