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WV Couple Denied Apartment

Jim Burroway

February 23rd, 2010

Rayetta Darby and Erika Johnson, a lesbian couple in the Huntington, WV area, were denied an apartment by their prospective landlord because they are gay. The reporters investigating this story discover that West Virginia and 29 other states don’t have any laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination, and neither does the federal Fair Housing Act.

“It’s terrible. It\’s terrible we even need such a law,” said Bill Dotson, executive director of Huntington Housing Authority. You can only prevent people from renting if they have a bad payment history or if they they’re bad neighbors or don\’t take care of their property,” Dotson said. “If a landlord refuses to rent to them for any reason other than those, it’s heavily frowned upon.” But, the fact that there\’s no law preventing such behavior in West Virginia is deeply disturbing to Darby.



February 23rd, 2010 | LINK

I’m glad this couple’s (and all LGBT peoples’) cause is being promoted, and in a somewhat conservative state. I’ve found that a lot of straight people of good will are shocked at what can legally be done to LGBT people in so many venues when they find it out.

Mark F.
February 23rd, 2010 | LINK

I oppose forcing people to do business against their will. This is not a violation of anyone’s rights. And why would you want to rent an apartment from someone who was homophobic?

Timothy Kincaid
February 23rd, 2010 | LINK


I respect libertarian objections to forcing people to do business against their will. But I also believe in consistency.

Do you also think that this landlord should be able to refuse to rent to black people or Jews?

Priya Lynn
February 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Mark said “why would you want to rent an apartment from someone who was homophobic?”.

Perhaps because its close to where you work, you really like it, or the rent is much better than you could get elsewhere.

Marci Wyzdyx
February 23rd, 2010 | LINK

“But, the fact that there’s no law preventing such behavior in West Virginia is deeply disturbing to Darby.”

Who is Darby? I can’t find any other mention of Darby in the article. It’s very disconcerting in an OCD kind of way.

Jason D
February 23rd, 2010 | LINK

“I oppose forcing people to do business against their will.”

Nobody is being forced to do business, period.

Simple fact is, if you’re going to do business, there are rules you have to follow. Don’t want to follow those rules, then perhaps another line of work is for you.

“This is not a violation of anyone’s rights. And why would you want to rent an apartment from someone who was homophobic?”

I agree you have a point here. Odds are that homophobic person will be using your rent money on homophobic causes, ergo you’d be paying for your own persecution.

February 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Marci, Darby is the name of one of the women. “Rayetta Darby” is how the post begins.

February 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Here in Bowling Green, Ohio we have a highly anti-TLBG landlord by the name of Greenbriar.

They’ve been behind the campaign to repeal two ordinances passed by the city council last August which expanded the city’s non-discrimination laws to include gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, pregnancy, military status, veteran’s status, among others.

The owner stood up and declared he shouldn’t be forced to rent to people he didn’t like, ie homosexuals.

This campaign is only in its infancy, as the vote is in November.

As to the couple in question, here’s hoping they win the state lottery so they can buy the bastard out, then evist *his* ass for being straight!

Christopher Waldrop
February 23rd, 2010 | LINK

In Nashville, Tennessee, where I live, an anti-discrimination law that specifically covered LGBT people was recently passed. I believe Tennessee is one of the states where, sadly, such protections aren’t state-wide, but at least for now they’re city-wide here.

The interesting thing is when the anti-discrimination bill was first proposed some city council members didn’t see a need for it. They weren’t opposed to it–they just assumed such a law was already on the books. Once they realized there was no such law they supported its passage.

February 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Wanna bet on the howls of outrage you’d hear from the wing-nuts, if a gay landlord refused to rent to a straight couple?

Regan DuCasse
February 24th, 2010 | LINK

How is a gay couple supposed to know beforehand who will or won’t rent to them?

I’m so DONE with people hiding behind religious objections to do such a thing when they don’t seem to have ANY OTHER religious objections consistent with those beliefs in other areas.

A person’s place of residence doesn’t have a lot of range in choices for the reasons Priya Lynn just listed. And the things landlords are required to check like you rent history, credit and job situation in being able to afford it, is ALL the landlord is required to know.

I remember when the laws that allowed landlords to discriminate against children was lifted back in the early 70’s.
Even though children, like pets, will damage the interiors, can be noisy and disruptive, the rental options are wide open.

No landlord should be permitted to do this to gay people whatsoever specifically because how is the property or OTHER neighbors adversely affected by gay people living within it in any way they can’t or don’t expect from HETERO people?

In doing this against this couple, this forces litigating against housing discrimination.

This is NOT religious discrimination whatsoever. Landlords cannot make such claims if their religion hasn’t been practiced consistently or distinctly enough in that regard.

A gay landlord might not necessarily know if they are renting to someone anti gay.

Considering that both religion and sexual orientation have no ‘signs’, that specify what a person is or their affiliations, putting the onus that gays and lesbians are wrong to expect to live wherever they choose is amazingly arrogant.

But irrational,unreasoned arrogance is exceptionally true of the religious anti gay.

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