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Another Favorable Ruling for LGBT Rights Handed Down


A day after the 7th Circuit ruled for a woman fired for being gay, a Colorado judge sided with a same-sex couple denied housing for their "uniqueness."

A U.S. District Court found that a property owner in Colorado violated the Fair Housing Act by denying a rental home to a female couple.

Deepika Avanti refused to rent a Boulder home to Tonya and Rachel Smith -- the couple is not only same-sex, but Rachel is a transgender woman -- because of the women's "uniqueness," according to Judge Raymond P. Moore, an appointee of President Obama. LGBT discrimination in housing is not illegal on a federal level, but Moore ruled that Avanti violated the Fair Housing Act, which doesn't explicitly protect against bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Moore also ruled that Avanti violated Colorado's LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination act.

The Avanti case could have longterm repercussions, according to Matt McTighe, the executive director of Freedom for All Americans.

"For the first time in our nation's history, the Fair Housing Act has been interpreted to include protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people," McTighe said in a statement. "This ruling also highlights how fully inclusive nondiscrimination laws are necessary to protect the rights and freedoms of all Americans."

Judge Moore's ruling follows another potentially historic decision. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled on Tuesday in favor of Kimberly Hively, a woman fired from an Indiana community college for being gay. In the 8-3 ruling, the court agreed with the contention of Hively's lawyers that discrimination based on sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; that agreement could set the stage for a nationwide protections for LGBT workers.

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