In New Mexico, it’s illegal to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Technically, it’s been the law for decades, but enforcement has been sporadic at best. However, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced plans in 2021 to crack down on the issue, ensuring that everyone has equal access to housing.
What is the Fair Housing Act?
Titles VIII through IX of the Civil Rights Act are the backbone of the federal Fair Housing Act. When the law first passed, the statute outlawed housing discrimination based on race, religion or national origin. Since then, several protected classes have been added, including people with disabilities, families and children. Moreover, the law prohibits discrimination rooted in sex. For example, a landlord cannot deny a woman an apartment simply because she’s a woman, nor can a man be turned away because he is a man. Exceptions sometimes apply when a given building has permission to be a single-gender lodging.
In February, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it would “enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity” to protect members of the LGBTQ+ community.
New Mexico’s human rights laws include protections for gender and sexual orientation
In addition to federal statutes, New Mexico has anti-discrimination laws. Specifically, the New Mexico Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination rooted in spousal affiliation, gender identity and sexual orientation. As such, denying people housing, whether they’re renting, staying temporarily or purchasing, is a civil rights violation.
If you’ve been unlawfully denied housing based on your gender or sexual orientation, it may be helpful to consult with a civil rights attorney. An attorney may be able to help you determine the best course of action based on the specifics of your situation.