On Jan. 28, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the development of important protections against housing discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people under a new rule unveiled at the 24th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, a conference hosted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

The new rule will make a real, immediate difference for the better in the lives of millions of US residents, including those right here in Massachusetts. Anyone who applies for Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgages, or lives in public housing or uses HUD vouchers to help pay for their housing can no longer be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, the Obama Administration plans to train and educate HUD staff and their housing partners on how the Equal Access To Housing rule should be implemented.

This latest move by the Obama Administration follows a bold declaration by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that LGBT rights are human rights; repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”; implementation of a presidential memo prohibiting patient visitation discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity; and the federal Office of Personnel Management’s announcement prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity in federal employment. For far too long, the federal government has been a passive bystander as others have utilized taxpayer resources to engage in anti-LGBT discrimination. It is very good to see the Obama Administration representing all Americans regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Check out a video of Sec. Donovan making the HUD announcement here.