US Representative Dana Rohrabacher, above, has expressed sadness that a key player in his California re-election campaign withdrew its support after he said that fundamentalist Christian homeowners should have the right to refuse to sell their properties to homosexuals.
The National Association of Realtors, according to this report, withdrew its recommendation that members send campaign contributions to Rohrabacher following an address he gave earlier this month to an Orange County Association of Realtors delegation in Washington, DC.
The climate-change denier and opponent of gay marriage told the realtors:
Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone (if) they don’t agree with their lifestyle.
Last Thursday, Rohrabacher confirmed the accuracy of the message, and added that homeowners should have the right to:
Choose who they do business with. We’ve drawn a line on racism, but I don’t think we should extend that line.
A homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral.
The statement ignited a protest by a Realtor gay-rights group, prompting the National Association of Realtors, which has 1.3 million members, to issue a statement that said:
It was determined that Rep. Rohrabacher will no longer receive support from NAR’s President’s Circle.
It pointed out that his words ran contrary to NAR’s code of ethics, which bans discrimination on the basis of:
Sexual orientation or gender identity. We certainly hope that Congress will … support the elimination of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The 15-term coastal Orange County Republican is locked in his toughest re-election campaign. He’s facing 15 challengers, including eight Democrats as well as onetime political ally Scott Baugh, former Orange County GOP chairman.
Rohrabacher, who represents California’s 48th District in coastal Orange County, said:
It certainly can’t do me any good to have people take me off their endorsement list. It’s sad to see (the association’s) priority is standing in solidarity with making sure a stamp of approval is put on somebody’s private lifestyle.
Harley Rouda, a Democrat who is challenging Rohrabacher and a son of a former Realtor association president, called Rohrabacher’s statements “outlandish and unacceptable”, saying everyone should have the same rights to buy and sell a home.
What Dana Rohrabacher fails to understand is discrimination is discrimination. It shows how backward his thinking is.
Previously Rohrabacher had been designated as a “Realtor Champion,” eligible for support from top realtor donors.
The Realtors Political Action Committee, the trade group’s campaign finance arm, also donated $5,000 to Rohrabacher’s re-election campaign in December and January. Rohrabacher also received donations from numerous agents, real estate developers and Realtor groups.
The backlash occurred after Orange County Realtors met last week with Rohrabacher during NAR’s mid-year lobbying conference in Washington and asked him to support H R 1447, among other issues.
The measure expands the Fair Housing Act passed in 1968 to add anti-discrimination protections based on a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity. The existing law already forbids home sellers, landlords and lenders from discrimination based on a person’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Rohrabacher’s remarks sparked outrage among gay and lesbian Realtors after they posted them on Facebook.
The founder of a real estate gay-rights group then wrote to NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall requesting the association revoke its support of Rohrabacher.
Wrote Jeff Berger, a Florida agent and founder of the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals:
When a supposed champion of the Realtor Party outright states that housing discrimination should be lawful, I hope you agree there should be cause for concern. Ignoring the congressman’s comments belies the decades of serious work and progress NAR has made in the area of fair housing.
Rohrabacher said he vehemently opposes housing discrimination based on race, religion or a person’s sex. However:
There are some fundamentalist Christians who do not approve of their lifestyle. I support their rights