new legislation

Were You Denied a Credit Card Because Your FICO Score Sucks, Or Because You’re Gay?

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In today’s lending climate, it can be impossible for even those with excellent credit histories to secure a home mortgage or even get an unrestricted credit card — or so the news reports have us believe. But are we facing an additional hurdle when it comes to securing credit: discrimination because we’re queer?

Supposedly it’s a big enough problem that New York’s Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, and Rep. Barney Frank, are introducing in Congress the Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to Equal Credit Opportunity Act’s list of protected classes.

It’s hard to imagine most large banks discriminating against LGBTs on their credit applications, particularly because so much lending is now done online and over the phone, with no in-person meetings. (Bad FICO score? You won’t even get a call back.) But certainly, local and regional banks and lenders still capture a good deal of the lending business, and it would be lovely to know you can walk into your neighborhood branch, sit down with the bank manager to discuss your home loan, and not fear she is going to stamp “DENIED” on your app simply because you come across gay.

Of course, if you’re looking to go holiday shopping rather than refinance your home mortgage, we imagine neither HRC’s credit card, nor the Rainbow Endowment’s Rainbow Card (both issued by Bank of America) ask you to check a box on their application denoting your sexual orientation.