NAR pulls President’s Circle support of Congressman after anti-LGBTQ comments

by Rincey Abraham

The National Association of Realtors pulled its endorsement of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) after he made comments saying it was acceptable for people to refuse to sell their homes to gays and lesbians.

Wayne Woodyard, a former Orange County Realtor president who was at the event, told the Orange County Register that the Congressman made the comments at an Orange County Association of Realtors delegation at a May 16 meeting in Washington, D.C.

“Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone (if) they don’t agree with their lifestyle,” Rohrabacher said during the meeting.

The newspaper followed up with the Congressman after the event and he confirmed the statement saying, “We’ve drawn a line on racism, but I don’t think we should extend that line. A homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral.”

After the statements were made, NAR withdrew its recommendation that members send campaign contributions to Rohrabacher and that the Congressman would not receive support from NAR’s President’s Circle.

“Making this decision was the right thing for NAR to do; the association’s member Code of Ethics is far ahead of Congress on gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination,” NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall said in a statement. “We certainly hope that Congress will follow the lead set at our recent legislative meetings and support the elimination of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

However, when asked if the Realtors Political Action Committee (RPAC) would also be dropping support of Rohrabacher, NAR declined to answer.

“Our statement is all we are sharing on this right now,” NAR spokeswoman Sara Wiskerchen told The Washington Post in an email Saturday. “Sorry we couldn’t be more helpful.”

According to NewNowNext and OpenSecrets.org, Rohrabacher received more than $164,000 from the real estate industry last year alone. He also received $5,000 in December and January, the Orange Country Register reports.

Rohrabacher is currently serving his 15th term and campaigning for reelection this year against 15 challengers. This includes eight Democratic candidates and onetime ally, Scott Baugh, former Orange County GOP chairman.