Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) recently declared homeowners should be able to refuse to sell their homes to members of the LGBTQ community if homeowners “don’t agree with their lifestyle.”
When Rohrabacher met with the Orange County Association of Realtors in mid-May, he said he opposed measures to expand the Fair Housing Act to provide federal protections to people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, first reported by the Orange County Register.
Rohrabacher confirmed the statements, saying further, “A homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral.”
Rohrabacher’s discriminatory stance received vehement opposition from realtors. As the OC Register reported:
“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,” wrote Jeff Berger, a Florida agent and founder of the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals. “Ignoring the congressman’s comments belies the decades of serious work and progress NAR has made in the area of fair housing.”
Rohrabacher’s comments are so wildly out of touch with Americans and realtors that the 1.3 million-member National Association of Realtors (NAR) retracted its former support of him, noting Rohrabacher’s stance is contrary to NAR’s code of ethics.
“It was determined that Rep. Rohrabacher will no longer receive support from NAR’s President’s Circle,” NAR said in a statement, meaning the organization will no longer encourage its members to support him financially.
The bipartisan outrage from political opponents was even more blistering.
Harley Rouda, one of several Democrats seeking to oust the 30-year incumbent Rohrabacher, called the comments “outlandish and unacceptable.” He continued, saying, “What Dana Rohrabacher fails to understand is discrimination is discrimination.” Rouda is the son of a former NAR president.
Another Democratic opponent, Dr. Hans Keirstead, took to Twitter, calling Rohrahacher’s comments, “maddening” and saying Rohrabacher “doesn’t deserve to represent the people of
#CA48 for one more minute,” referring to California’s 48th Congressional District.
One of the Republicans running against Rohrabacher, Paul Martin, also condemned Rohrabacher’s bigoted statements. “There is no end to his hatred,” Martin tweeted.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) called Rohrabacher’s position “unconscionable.” David Stacy, HRC’s government affairs director, said in a statement that Rohrabacher, “could not be more out of touch with everyday Americans and his own constituents.”
Notably silent is another Republican in the race, Scott Baugh. Baugh is a former friend and protege who is now challenging Rohrabacher for the seat. In the past, Baugh supported anti-gay discrimination. After Republican losses in 2006 and 2008, Baugh bragged about voters rejecting gay marriage, calling his opposition to gay rights something he “genuinely believe[s] in.”
Baugh has thus far been silent on Rohrabacher’s recent comments in support of discrimination.
Rohrabacher’s embrace of bigotry comes to light less than two weeks before the June 5 primary, where the two candidates with the most votes, regardless of party, will move on to the general election.
This article was updated with a statement from the Human Rights Campaign.