June 29, 2022
President Leslie Rouda Smith
Realtor® Party Director Hagan Stone
National Association of REALTORS®
500 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20001-2020
Dear President Smith and Director Stone,
On behalf of LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance President and Chairman Dave Gervase, our 2022 Officers and Board of Directors, and our more than 2,500 members, and with endorsement of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce® (NGLCC) which represents close to 2 million LGBT business owners, I am writing to appeal to your ethical sense of duty in asking that the REALTOR® Political Action Committee (RPAC) cease funding any local, state or nationally elected officials or candidates who vote for or support anti-LGBTQ+ legislation or sentiment.
A similar version of this letter will be sent to all appropriate state and local Realtor® associations where the Alliance has a presence, in which the Realtor® PAC actively engages in funding candidates.
While we value the work RPAC does to fund those who support housing issues and ancillary concerns, there are far too many who are receiving RPAC funding who have voted for, expressed a desire to vote for, and/or support anti-LGBTQ+ bills and rhetoric. This includes figures like Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler of Missouri who compares being LGBTQ to pedophilia, or Senator Ted Cruz of Texas who proposed a federal constitutional amendment against marriage equality (a right that has positively impacted homeownership numbers). For broader context, the following link actively tracks legislation down to a state level affecting LGBTQ rights across the country on a real-time weekly basis, as documented by the ACLU.
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, our partners, and friends, can no longer sit idly by as numerous states have instituted, are proposing, and/or working on bills that blatantly discriminate against the LBGTQ+ community. Last year was the worst in recent history for state legislation attacking the LGBTQ+ community with 268 anti-equality bills filed. And, so far this year, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Texas, and other states have introduced more than 240 anti-LGBTQ+ bills.
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), via Article 10 of the Realtor® Code of Ethics, is holding its members to higher standards than its own member-funded RPAC. If REALTORS® are not permitted to discriminate, RPAC should not – and cannot – be allowed to fund and support those who do. Additionally, NAR has stated publicly that it is in support of the Equality Act. Therefore, supporting anti-LGBTQ+ politicians is clearly not aligned with this view. As you know, Article 10 states:
“REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
It is unfathomable that while Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts are extremely visible in our industry (ex. 72% of members polled believe their local real estate industry has placed an increased emphasis on DEI), NAR and RPAC are choosing to support those who are blatantly unsupportive of this work.
Those who receive RPAC funding should be held to high standards which can no longer include discrimination or discriminatory actions. This action would be a step forward in assuring NAR does not find itself in a position having to issue a public apology to the LGBTQ+ community, as it recently did to the black/African American community under President Opler.
Also, I invite you to consider that the LGBTQ+ community is growing and becoming increasingly viable in the U.S. housing market. Consider the following:
- A recent Gallup survey found that 7.1% of American adults, and 20.8% of Gen Z, now identify as part of the community.
- Zillow recently reported that 12% of all homes sold in 2021 were to members of the LGBTQ+ community.
- At the same time, the Public Religion Research Institute (PPRI) recently reported that 79% of all Americans favor laws that would protect the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing.
- ABC News reports that 62% of Americans oppose legislation that prohibits LGBTQ+ lessons to be taught in schools.
- 64% of LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance members report that more LGBTQ+ couples become homeowners since the 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalized same-sex marriage while 42% have seen an uptick in LGBTQ+ singles purchasing homes.
While there are a variety of responses that NAR and RPAC may provide in attempting to separate housing policy and other legislative activities, the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance is calling on NAR and RPAC take a stand and move to the forefront of societal acceptance. Pulling funding from those who discriminate would be a major statement to our nation and hopefully be an impetus for change and greater acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. Realtors® are the ambassadors to our community, and NAR has the power to impact change.
We look forward to hearing from you regarding this matter.
Ryan Weyandt Chief Executive Officer, LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance
Dave Gervase Chairman & National President, LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance
Justin Nelson* Co-Founder & President, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce® (NGLCC)
*Additionally Endorsed and co-signed by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce on 6/29/2022
- John Thorpe
- Erin Morrison
- Tim Hur
- Zaylore Stout, Esq.
- Christopher Suranna
- Octavius Smiley-Humphries
- Kenya Burrell-VanWormer
- Sean Frank
- Jackie Garber
- Tim Garvey
- Jonathan Lovitz
- Austin Rowe
- Val Scinto
- Monty Smith
- Feroza Syed
- Anita Blue
- Tommie Wehrle
- Rodney Mason
- Anthony Vulin
- Kimber White
Bob Goldberg, Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Realtors®
Shannon McGhan, Chief Advocacy Officer, National Association of Realtors®
Katie Johnson, General Counsel & Chief Member Experience Officer, National Association of Realtors®
Bryan Green, Vice President of Policy Advocacy, National Association of Realtors®
Charlie Dawson, Vice President of Engagement, National Association of Realtors®
Ryan Davis, Director, Engagement, Diversity, and Inclusion, National Association of Realtor®
Kaki Lybbert, Realtor® Party VP of Advocacy
Patti Hill, RPAC Disbursements Chair
Greg Herb, Realtor® Party Community Engagement Liaison
James Chrisbrook, Chair, NAR Diversity Committee
Sara Carlo, Co-Chair, NAR Multicultural Real Estate Leadership Advisory Group
Preston Moore, Co-Chair, NAR Multicultural Real Estate Leadership Advisory Group
Jennifer Stevenson, Chair, NAR Fair Housing Policy Committee
Joni Madison, Interim President, Human Rights Campaign
JoDee Winterhof, SVP Policy & Political Affairs, Human Rights Campaign
David Stacey, Government Affairs Director, Human Rights Campaign
Anthony Romero, Executive Director, ACLU
Kary Moss, Director, Affiliate Support & Nationwide Initiatives, ACLU
Esete Assefa, Chief Political Advisor, ACLU