Today, Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, introduced the Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act (FDCA) of 2017, a bipartisan bill to amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) to prohibit credit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Senate version.
Senator Murray and Representative Gottheimer were joined by thirteen Senators and more than thirty Representatives in introducing this measure. New Jersey Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker and Representatives Bill Pascrell and Bonnie Watson Coleman introduced the bill as original co-sponsors.
“All Americans should be free to pursue their dreams, whether that be buying a home, starting a business, or continuing their education,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer. “New Jersey is a leader in making certain that LGBTQ Americans have fair access to credit, and I am proud to introduce legislation to make it the law of the land nationwide.”
“No one seeking a loan or line of credit to further their education, start a business or buy a new home should be denied based solely on their gender or sexual orientation,” said Senator Bob Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee. “In pursuit of the American dream, there is no place for discrimination. This legislation will ensure that every American—regardless of their gender or sexual orientation—has fair access to credit when they walk into a bank or apply for financing.”
“Under no circumstance should any American be prevented from securing the credit needed to start a business, obtain a mortgage, or pursue an education based on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Senator Cory Booker. “This legislation takes an important step in our fight to achieve justice and equality for all by ensuring LGBTQ Americans have equal access to credit.”
“Discrimination has no place in our society,” said Congressman Bill Pascrell. “The fact that in 2017 LGBTQ individuals in 35 states can be denied credit because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is inexcusable. I am proud to support Rep. Gottheimer’s legislation to remedy this injustice and I will push for its passage in the House of Representatives.”
“Equal access to credit is a cornerstone for building financial stability and success,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. “LGBT Americans face a number of unique challenges due to the effects of financial discrimination and refusing credit on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity perpetuates this uncertainty. I’m proud to join my colleague Mr. Gottheimer and the rest of the New Jersey congressional delegation on a bill that moves us forward in righting this wrong.”
“No one’s ability to purchase a home or finance their education or business should be denied simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “We thank Senator Murray and Representative Gottheimer for introducing this bill to help members of the LGBTQ community work toward achieving their dreams without fear of discrimination in the credit process.”
Fifteen states, including New Jersey, and the District of Columbia prohibit credit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but there is currently no federal law that protects LGBTQ individuals from credit discrimination. As a result, in many places, LGBTQ people can still be denied a mortgage, credit card, student loan or other type of lending simply because of who they are. The FDCA would prohibit credit discrimination against all LGBTQ Americans.
More information on the FDCA can be found HERE.