The tax-exempt non-profit Fair Housing Center (FHC) of West Michigan recently filed a housing discrimination charge against a Grand Rapids, Michigan woman (let’s call her Victim) who posted an advertisement on her church’s bulletin board looking for a “Christian” roommate. According to Nancy Haynes of the FHC, because Victim’s ad specifically states she is offering only for a “Christian” individual to apply, it is a strict violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. Truth be told, the only violation in this situation is of Victim’s constitutional rights.
In the first place, the Fair Housing Act is unconstitutional. I know I sound like a broken record. Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution does not mention the regulation of housing as an enumerated power of Congress. Thus, housing falls under the jurisdiction of state power in our system of federalism. Since the ad in question is not a violation of Michigan state law the actions of the FHC of West Michigan amount to little more than legal harassment of a property owner.
Naturally, that is not the way Ms. Haynes sees it. She does admit that Victim “…can actually, in practice, not rent to a non-Christian. But she can’t make the statement. The statement alone is a violation of the act. What she can do in practice she can’t make a statement about”. This is sort of like the “don’t ask, don’t tell” of the rental housing business. What sense does it make? It seems the law was only written to make lawyers rich. What else is new, right? In essence, the Fair Housing Act is not about anti-discrimination after all – it is solely about political correctness. This, of course, makes all the politicians who over the decades have proclaimed the law fights discrimination in housing liars. Surprise, surprise!
Whatever the Fair Housing Act does it is also unconstitutional because it violates the constitutional rights of property owners. Freedom of speech and the free exercise of one’s religion are bedrock rights held by every American. Victim is being denied both by the Fair Housing Act. What’s more, the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution prohibit the deprivation of life, liberty, and property without “due process of law”. Victim has not been accused of a crime and has not been afforded due process of law. By placing stipulations on how Victim can use her property the government is essentially depriving her of the full use thereof.