By: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

While the Trump administration is busy attempting to erase our progress for civil rights over the past 8 years, for the second time in one week, a Federal court has handed the LGBTQ community a second legal victory.

On Wednesday, a U.S. district judge Raymond Moore ruled that a Colorado landlord’s refusal to rent a housing unit to a lesbian couple which by the way, one of whom is a transgender, violates federal housing law.

“The ruling by Judge Moore makes history as it is the first in which a court has extended protections to people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity under the federal Fair Housing Act, said the couple’s  Lambda Legal attorney, Omar Gonzalez-Pagan.  “The act bars housing discrimination because of race, religion and sex, among other factors.” said Gonzalez-Pagan.

The first victory the LGBTQ community celebrated this week was when the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees in the workplace.

Lesbian couple brought their case to civil court in 2016 against the landlord/owner Deepika Avanti who had refused to rent to Rachel and Tonya Smith, a same-sex married couple.

“Such stereotypical norms are no different from other stereotypes associated with women, such as the way she should dress or act (e.g., that a woman should not be overly aggressive, or should not act macho), and are products of sex stereotyping,”  wrote U.S. Judge Moore in his 12-page ruling.

“The back-to-back decisions marked “tremendous” victories for the LGBT community”, said Lambda  Gonzalez-Pagan who represented the plaintiffs in both cases.  “It sends a strong message: discrimination against LGBT Americans in housing and employment is illegal and will not be tolerated,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan.

Gonzalez-Pagan told Reuters that Lambda Legal attorneys are now in negotiations with Avanti’s lawyers to resolve the case once and for all. One of the victor’s in the case, Tonya Smith, said in a statement that…”We are delighted with the outcome of the case. No one should ever have to go through what we went through, and hopefully this ruling will protect other couples like us who are trying to provide safe homes for their families,” said Smith.

We attempted to contact the defendant in this case, Deppika Avanti, for comment on this article but did not receive a response.

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