The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance has called on Florida Realtors® and Florida Realtors PAC to pull its endorsement of Governor Ron DeSantis based on his repeated discriminatory actions towards diverse groups including the LGBTQ+ community. Alliance CEO Ryan Weyandt and President Dave Gervase, on behalf of the organization’s 13-person Board of Directors, Officers, National LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce, and 2,600-plus members sent a letter to Florida Realtors Chief Executive Officer Margy Grant asking her to take action.
“We are encouraging Florida Realtors, it's Political Action Committee (RPAC) along with all local, regional, and state Realtor associations and their RPAC committees, to employ an ‘Article 10 Rule’ to determine if candidates and elected officials have engaged in discriminatory behavior that is prohibited in the Realtor Code of Ethics,” Weyandt said. “The National Association of Realtors® (NAR), via Article 10 of the Code of Ethics, is holding its members to higher standards than those politicians who receive support. There is no denying that if DeSantis were a member of the National Association of Realtors, Florida Realtors, and the Tallahassee Board of Realtors, he would have been a repeat offender in violating Article 10. He would have almost certainly been sanctioned for his rhetoric against various diverse communities, including his anti-LGBTQ+ stance.”
“Florida Realtors, in endorsing DeSantis, used the same type of antiquated language that we continuously see in such RPAC-led support when they stated he is a ‘long-time supporter of the real estate industry.’ That low benchmark can no longer be okay. If those who our industry wants to support are discriminatory, they should be disqualified from consideration. It really is that simple. If all Realtor associations took this stance, it would be a major statement to our nation and hopefully act as an impetus for change and greater acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community and other groups.”
The Alliance recently shared with NAR Chief Executive Officer Bob Goldberg that it has rescinded the offer for an RPAC representative to speak at the Experience: The Alliance conference on September 28-30 in Las Vegas.
“Back in June we sent a letter to NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith and Realtor Party Director Hagan Stone, calling on NAR and RPAC to cease funding local, state or nationally elected officials or candidates who participate in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric or publicly support or vote for anti-LGBTQ+ bills,” Weyandt said. “Leslie responded and explained that ‘National RPAC is a voluntary program, and its mission is to ensure the association engages in a nonpartisan way on behalf of members and consumers. Disbursement decisions are a locally led process, operating independently of NAR and governed by its Trustees.’ In good faith, we invited RPAC senior leader David Alan Cox to speak at our conference. But the DeSantis endorsement is a step too far. If NAR relinquishes it role in standing up for what's right, then The Alliance must take steps to insulate itself and its members from the hate and vitriol that RPAC endorses through funding candidates like Ron DeSantis. Article 10 should be a uniting force for all of us.”
Article 10 of NAR’s Code of Ethics reads in part:
REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
“I live and work in Florida as a dues-paying member of NAR and Florida Realtors, and was absolutely shocked to see an endorsement of DeSantis, who has become a leading voice in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric leading to the creation of more than 500 anti-equality bills filed in Florida and state houses around the nation over the last two years,” Gervase, Alliance Chairman and President and an active Keller Williams agent, said. “While NAR, Florida Realtors and so many other Realtor associations say they are focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, too many also choose to endorse those like DeSantis who publicly show they are unsupportive of this work. If Florida Realtors had employed the ‘Article 10 Test,’ there is no way DeSantis would have qualified for funding.”
DeSantis was a champion for Florida’s Stop WOKE Act which “bans lessons and training on race and diversity in schools and in the workplace,” according to ABC News. He was also an outspoken proponent of the Parental Rights in Education law, known as “Don’t Say, Gay,” and a call to end “Medicaid coverage for transgender people of any age who want puberty blockers, hormone therapies or gender-reassignment surgery,” according to NBC News.
ABOUT THE LGBTQ+ REAL ESTATE ALLIANCE
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance is a 501(c)6 non-profit dedicated to empowering the LGBTQ+ community on the path to homeownership as we also advocate on behalf of the community on housing issues. The Alliance, founded in June 2020, is an all-inclusive organization that works to improve the professional lives of its members through a public-facing Alliance Referral Community. The Alliance began accepting members in October 2020 and has more than 2,600 members and dozens of chapters in North America. It was named the 2022 Inman News Innovator of the Year in the MLS, Association, or Industry Organization category. For more information visit realestatealliance.org.