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Craigslist Fair Housing Act Suit Dismissed

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the common-carrier dept.

CDA 162

tigersaw writes, "A federal judge in Chicago has dismissed the suit against Craigslist brought by the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which accused the site of violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968 by not actively filtering out housing advertisements that include discriminatory language. Craigslist cited their community-based flagging system as an already effective means of limiting such posts. However, the court held that the site was nonetheless protected by the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA), which shields Web forums from liability for ads and opinions posted by their users."

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162 comments

"Please register or log in" (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913230)

Anybody's got an URL to a non-registration site?

Re:"Please register or log in" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16913384)

Umm, can't you see the article? I can. Anyway there are several on www.bugmenot.com

Re:"Please register or log in" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16916964)

Interesting. The story link from the CNET [com.com] site doesn't require registration. Anyways, here [chicagotribune.com] it is. And here's the full text, if they pull it down..

Judge: Craigslist not liable for ad content
By Mike Hughlett
Tribune staff reporter

November 16, 2006

The popular Craigslist Web site is not legally liable for allegedly discriminatory housing ads posted by its users, a federal judge in Chicago ruled in a case pitting landmark Internet and fair housing laws against each other.

The decision was a victory for online civil liberties supporters. It was a setback for housing civil rights advocates, though they still found some hope in the judge's ruling.

The Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sued San Francisco-based Craigslist in February, claiming that during a six-month period, the site published more than 100 housing ads in Chicago that violated the federal Fair Housing Act.

Those ads included such declarations as "Non-women of Color NEED NOT APPLY" and "African Americans and Arabians tend to clash with me so that won't work out."

The 1968 Fair Housing Act bars housing discrimination, and newspapers and other publishers of ads deemed discriminatory can be held liable for violating the law.

But the 1996 Communications Decency Act, in an attempt to promote unfettered free expression online, shields Web forums from liability for ads and opinions posted by their users.



Internet giants back Craigslist

That's what Craigslist argued in its defense in the Chicago case, and it was joined in friend-of-the-court filings by such Internet giants as Amazon.com, eBay, Google, Yahoo and AOL.

The Chicago Lawyers' Committee has a heavyweight ally, too, though not through a formal court briefing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has said the ban on discriminatory ads applies to Web postings like those on Craigslist.

The battle boils down to the definition of a publisher.

The decency act says that a provider of an "interactive computer service" can't be treated as a publisher of information it gets from others.

Craigslist is indeed an interactive computer service, a conduit of information provided by others, Judge Amy St. Eve said in a written opinion that effectively dismisses the case.

Thus, under the 1996 communications law, Craigslist can't be treated as a publisher, she wrote in the decision, which was filed Tuesday and then circulated Wednesday by attorneys involved in the case.

The Chicago Lawyers' Committee plans to appeal St. Eve's ruling, or to ask the judge to reconsider her decision.

In a statement, Craigslist said St. Eve's decision is "a win for the general public's ability to self-publish content such as free classified ads on the Internet." Craigslist noted, too, that it has "industry leading standards" in policing its site for offensive ads.

Internet law experts weren't surprised by St. Eve's decision, because judges have usually ruled in favor of Web forums like Craigslist, citing the decency act's broad protection.

"It's very clear under these precedents that Craigslist shouldn't be held liable for ads provided by third parties," said Kurt Opsahl, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a technology and civil liberties group. The organization filed a friend-of-the-court briefing on behalf of Craigslist.



Not a total victory

The Chicago Lawyers' Committee took solace in parts of St. Eve's opinion.

Craigslist argued that the decency act grants it immunity from any sort of lawsuit stemming from its users' postings. Web outfits like Craigslist have commonly made such claims of "unlimited" immunity--and judges have usually agreed.

But not St. Eve. "We are heartened by fact that St. Eve forcefully rejected the unlimited immunity advocated by Craigslist," said Laurie Wardell, fair housing director for the Chicago Lawyers' Committee.

St. Eve wrote that online forums like Craigslist are immune from legal liability only if they are treated as publishers of third-party content.

While that may sound like splitting hairs, Internet legal experts say it opens the door for creative lawyers. St. Eve's ruling implies that online forums can be liable for third-party postings for reasons other than being a publisher, though they could not cite a good example of another avenue of legal pursuit.

It's not easy to pursue a claim against a site like Craigslist without acknowledging publication, said Jim Speta, a communications law expert at Northwestern University's Law School. But it's probably possible, he said.

Opsahl said the concept of broad immunity will still hold sway nationally: It's been agreed upon by appellate judges in three court circuits.

However, if an appellate court upholds St. Eve's reasoning, there will effectively be two clashing standards, he said.

Terms of Use (3, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913242)

I will cite the craigslist Terms of Use [craigslist.org] Section Three:
3. CONTENT

You understand that all postings, messages, text, files, images, photos,
video, sounds, or other materials ("Content") posted on, transmitted
through, or linked from the Service, are the sole responsibility of the
person from whom such Content originated. More specifically, you are
entirely responsible for each individual item ("Item") of Content that you
post, email or otherwise make available via the Service. You understand that
craigslist does not control, and is not responsible for Content made available
through the Service, and that by using the Service, you may be exposed to
Content that is offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise
objectionable. Furthermore, the craigslist site and Content available through
the Service may contain links to other websites, which are completely
independent of craigslist. craigslist makes no representation or warranty as
to the accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information contained
in any such site. Your linking to any other webites is at your own risk.
You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the
use of any Content, that you may not rely on said Content, and that under no
circumstances will craigslist be liable in any way for any Content or for
any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any Content
posted, emailed or otherwise made available via the Service. You acknowledge
that craigslist does not pre-screen or approve Content, but that craigslist
shall have the right (but not the obligation) in its sole discretion to
refuse, delete or move any Content that is available via the Service, for
violating the letter or spirit of the TOU or for any other reason.
Section Seven goes on to describe acceptable CONDUCT. So, the part about everything being posted is the responsibility should keep craigslist from any liabilities. Slashdot has the similar disclaimer:
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
Which appears on (to my knowledge) every page they serve with user created posts. I think it would protect craigslist to do the same and add that sort of legal speak to their
Stating a discriminatory preference in a housing post is illegal - please flag discriminatory posts as "prohibited"
disclaimer on every page. I'm not sure if that message has always been there but it is now.

Re:Terms of Use (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16913824)

Actually -
    Discriminatory housing posts are legal (As the property owner) if the poster will be sharing the same building/structure of IIRC 4 units or less with the renter.

    Additionally -
          There is nothing discriminatory about seeking housing (as the renter) 'with' a particular group. Self limitation is never actionable, or restricted.

Posted as AC because there are idiot racists, and other idiots who love to scream racist.

Re:Terms of Use (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16914152)

The people who brought this suit certainly know this. They lawyers that represetn them certainly know this. They also know all about the CDA. The thing is - they just don't care. They're overzealous and would really like a slice of the CL pie, especially after the big investment from Google. They were hoping for a tech-ignorant judge or jury. Its a matter of chance they didn't get one which would have ordered 10 million dollars to all these people, violate basic free speech protectiosn, etc all for the sake of protectign people from anonymous online "racicts" who may or may not be real. Why aren't they suing the racists directly? Because theres little to no money there.

How "civil rights" and moneymaking go hand-in-hand in America is unforgivable. This is one of the many reasons I think the tort reform people are thinking in the right direction. And this is coming from a born and bred Chicago liberal. As much as I would like to support Jesse Jackson, after reading about his similiar tactics I just can't. Either there's social justice or there's shady moneymaking. You can't have both and retain integrity. The ACLU understands this.

I've lived in Chicago and have run various small business in Chicago. (thus posting anon) The amount of abuse in the civil court system over civil rights issues, mostly discrimination and sexual harrassment is appauling. There's no shortage of people out to lie to make a quick buck and no shortage of shady lawyers willing to take 40% of that quick buck.

Btw here are some of the ads.
# At least on September 6, 2005, Defendant's website published a rental advertisement containing the statement "All in a vibrant southwest Hispanic neighborhood offering great classical Mexican culture, restaurants and businesses."
# At least on July 13, 2005, Defendant's website published a rental advertisement containing the statement "Requirements: Clean Godly Christian Male."
# At least on September 1, 2005, Defendant's website published a rental advertisement containing the statement "Owner lives on the first floor, so tenant must be respectful of the situation, preferrably not 2 guys in their mid twenties who throw parties all the time."
# At least on September 1, 2005, Defendant's website published a rental advertisement containing the statement "Walk to shopping, restaurants, coffee shops, synagogue."
# At least on September 23, 2005, Defendant's website published a rental advertisement containing the statement "The entire building is filled with interesting and fun people. Mostly Loyola Students. . . . . Church immediately across from building."
# At least on September 23, 2005, Defendant's website published a rental advertisement containing the statement "Accesible to transportation, church ST Margareth."
# At least on October 25, 2005, Defendant's website published a rental advertisement containing the statement "Catholic Church, and beautiful Buddhist Temple within one block."
# At least on October 25, 2005, Defendant's website published a rental advertisement containing the statement "Walk to shopping, restaurants, coffee shops, synagogue."
# At least on July 20, 2005, Defendant's website published a rental advertisement containing the statement "Perfect for 4 Med students."
# At least on July 21, 2005, Defendant's website published a rental advertisement containing the statement "absolutely ideal for a young professional and socialite!"
# At least on July 25, 2005, Defendant's website published a sublet advertisement containing the statement "Apartment is situated on 8th floor of building teeming with young people. It is unfurnished but ideal for a student or young single professional.",
You can't say if its near a church or a synagogue or a mexican restaurant. Err, ok.

Re:Terms of Use (2, Insightful)

HoboMaster (639861) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916512)

"absolutely ideal for a young professional and socialite!"

The fact that we live in a world that can construe that as racist makes me angry.

Re:Terms of Use (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916886)

The only one of those ads that is even remotely discriminatory is number 2. I'd say these lawyers are just looking for some low hanging fruit, to see who they can quickly shake down. Craigslist decided it wouldn't be them. I'm all in favor of outlawing both blatant and implied discrimination in housing, but this is clearly going too far.

Re:Terms of Use (1, Offtopic)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916922)

Maybe they just understand that there was a purpose to that law, to prevent prejudicial business practices, and its being dodged.

This is a GOOD law, and Cragslist is a haven for fraudsters. They SHOULD be compelled to comply with this law. Hell, if they can't clean up their act, they should be shut down.

Registration? (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913280)

Anyone have a link that dorsn't require registration to view?

I sure would like to have seen the court rule on their assertion that their community-based flagging system provided protection.

what? (1)

Zashi (992673) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913330)

You mean to say there's a law that actually protects websites and their ability to post whatever they desire? Maybe laws aren't just for lawyers after all.

Re:what? (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 7 years ago | (#16917264)

Not remotely. The law in question only keeps website owners from being liable for the actions of every chuckleheaded troll who posts a message on the forums/comments/etc... areas of their site.

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16918348)

Well, the question is who is responsible. In this case, it looks like the judge agreed with Craiglist that the assholes posting racist and illegal housing advertisments were the responsible party for their posts. I tend to agree. That does not mean in all cases will the law protect every website and every instance of posted content. Review Slashdot having removed some Scientology content under legal threat for an example a situation that may have played out differently than you would appear to expect.

I assure you the lawyers on both sides of each one of these conflicts do in general make out quite handsomely. The judge gets paid well too (in spite of Federal judges liking to whine about not getting paid enough - talk about job security).

Congress nailed that one, and rightly so (1, Interesting)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913332)

However, the court held that the site was nonetheless protected by the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA), which shields Web forums from liability for ads and opinions posted by their users.

Opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one. And Congress is certainly full of both, so it makes sense that they'd put two and two together on this one.

Re:Congress nailed that one, and rightly so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16916068)

Opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one.

I've had a colostomy you insensitive clod!

Freedom of association is just not that popular (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913334)

I understand the ideals behind the legislation, but let's think about this one for a second. Sure, people shouldn't be stopped due to arbitrary standards like race or gender from renting anywhere they want, but forcing a bigot to do it is not a good idea. Think about this one for a second, really well before responding. Does it make sense to order an adherent of white power or black panther ideology to rent to those they **hate**? Forcing people to do stuff like that has never worked well since the beginning of time.

But then, freedom of association is not valued by most Americans even though it is arguably one of the top few most precious natural rights a human being has and the most frequently violated by authoritarian states. I'm not even surprised, though, as many of the types who make support of the Civil Rights act almost like a religious mantra also tend to be the sort of people who support speech codes and free speech zones on college campuses.

Fucking pathetic that these sorts of people are allowed to be called "liberal" when in reality all they are is authoritarian.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16913456)

When the bigot chooses to engage in commerce, he loses some of his rights to associate with whom he pleases.

If he wants to let other bigots live in his places for free, no prob. They can do what they want (and I hope they all die in a fire.)

But if he wants to engage in commerce and earn a profit, he does so with society's help in terms of market regulation and authority to enforce contracts. Engage in commerce? I say all of us should be able to compete on a level playing field.

In short, keep your bigoted acts private and you're fine. Air them in public and fuck you.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (4, Insightful)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914280)

But if he wants to engage in commerce and earn a profit, he does so with society's help in terms of market regulation and authority to enforce contracts.

And he pays for society's help in the form of taxes.

In short, keep your bigoted acts private and you're fine. Air them in public and fuck you.

Tolerance is a two-way street. You're always free not to associate with those you disagree with. It's remarkable how so many of those who scream the loudest about "tolerance" are unwilling to actually practice it.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16914564)

I think it's more fair to the renters to let them know what a bigot the owner is. Don't make them move in and only then face harrassment.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16915108)

You couldn't be more wrong. Bigot or no (and who isn't bigoted in some way or other), we all should have the right to rent to or not rent to , sell to or not sell to, live with or not live with whoever we damn well please. As a store owner, you should be allowed to cater to whatever clientale you prefer. You can and will suffer the monetary consequences but that is the store owners choice. You are trampling on a basic freedom and right when you tell me or anyone else who they can associate with, do business with or anything else. Try butting out of other peoples business, stop being so intolerant, and by-the-way - fuck you too! Can you not see your bigotry?

Bigot - a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16917008)

OK, so 'splain to me how the Historically Underutilized Business statutes that are abused all over the place are OK, but renting to whoever you want is not?

I'm not in favor of bigotry. I am in favor of liberty. Liberty is much more important than preventing people from believing disgusting lies.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16917878)

If he wants to let other bigots live in his places for free, no prob. They can do what they want (and I hope they all die in a fire.)

Like the one set in Waco by the government?

You support that government MURDER including of children?

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16913472)

1) There are bigots
2) You cannot force them not to be; they are what they are - imagined as downtrodden and blocked at every turn by fate and evil others - and trying to tell them otherwise makes them hate YOU.
3) TRYING to force them not to be will have the opposite effect

The remedy for bad speech is not to silence it, but to counter it with more good speech. Our most recent problems can be traced to the fact that a lot of "bad speech" comes from people who like to bully, and there are precious few who will "stand in front of the tank" when the bullies take the pulpit, when the lies are backed by images of fire and tumbling steel and the kind and generous and just question their own moral authority.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16913474)

But it's all for the public good. We're doing it for your protection.

<evil-bush-or-hitlary-voice>Sometimes you just need to give away a little liberty to get a little security.</evil-bush-or-hitlary-voice>

There's always a way around the law. (3, Interesting)

Jawood (1024129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913496)

Here's an example - background and drug checks. I'm not going to go into the reasons, but black folks as a percentage of population are incarcerated more than the general population, many because of (quite minor) drug related offenses. Don't want black folks working for you, have a stringent background check and drug testing. You'll get rid of more (as a percentage) black candidates than white.

Don't want to rent to black/spanish/white folks, someone with a black/spanish/wasp sounding name calls, tell them the apartment was just rented, or, when they come, just make the place look like shit or play really LOUD MUSIC.

I'm sure we all can think of ways to do it. But my point is try, just try and prove they're acting in a discriminating manner. If someone really doesn't want you there, they'll figure out a way. And yes, I agree with you, my life would be quite miserable in that situation so I'd rather they just say, "I don't want (insert group here) living here."

Now, I guess maybe laws are needed if it was really endemic throughout an area - like 1960s and earlier. But these says, I have never witnessed racism in the workplace (27 years in workdforce) or with housing. I am not saying it doesn't exist, I am just saying it's rare. And if someone is that much of a bigot, let him wallow around and miss out on opportunities because of it: his loss. There are plenty of other opportunites for folks these days.

Re:There's always a way around the law. (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913988)

It's true that bigotry can creep in through many avenues, but you're showing the *harm* here, not the harmlessness, of such non-discrimination laws. Such laws are actually written with the intent to prevent *even those* workarounds you just described. It's called "racial steering" or other things depending on the context. I heard a story about one landlord who offered one prospective tenant a soda, but not another one. The other one was black, and it has an FHA sting. The litigation hurt.

The end result of such laws is that for them to work, you have to regulate a whole litany of human interaction behaviors. You'd have to be told when you can smile, when you have to keep your apartments in good condition, when you can and can't do background checks, etc. Such laws, if implemented, would suck all humanity out of ordinary life. Most "neighborhoods with character", for example, would have to be eviscerated.

Re:There's always a way around the law. (3, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914144)

Overt discrimination is rare these days, even in the U.S. deep South. Discrimination has become MUCH more sophisticated than anything as crude as "Whites Only" signs. To effectively segregate your schools, for example, you only need gerrymander your school districts so all the white, middle class, and wealthier neighborhoods are in one school district and all the inner-city, poor, and predominately black neighborhoods are in another.

-Eric

Re:There's always a way around the law. (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16915646)

School districts (in the south) go out of their way to integrate schools. They don't want any school to have really low average performance. White suburban kids are bussed in to the city, and black inner city kids are bussed an hour out of town, all to balance the test scores.

Within individual schools, though, there can be very overt segregation between the classes. And local governments almost always have some racists in powerful positions.

Re:There's always a way around the law. (4, Interesting)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916364)

i dunno which south you're talking about, but the one i lived in had private schools for the whites, and public schools for the blacks.

i was involved in a higher education program while i was there, and part of my job included taking our students (mostly high school dropouts, all of them were black, in this case) to get their library cards at the public library. some had never set foot in the library. or knew they could check out books for free. one time, i was showing a group of students the newspaper archive for our town of about 400 people. they got into looking up the history of the homecoming court, for whatever reason. going back to 1965, the entire court was black. in 1964, 100% white. what happened that made it all switch? the academies(private schools) came along and the white kids suddenly had their own schools back.

when was i there? 2001.

yeah, there are some districts--think the ones with money--who try to integrate, and some who have done ahalf decent job. but the segregation is still so ingrained and institutionalized that it'll be around for many more years to come.

Re:There's always a way around the law. (1)

metallic (469828) | more than 7 years ago | (#16917590)

I'd be extremely interested to find out where this is since it is in complete odds with my own personal experiences living in Louisiana all my life. If you story is true, then it is the exception rather than the norm.

Re:There's always a way around the law. (2, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916648)

Good point. A lot of people don't realize that a major (if not primary) driver of urban sprawl and high real estate prices is people using more roundabout means to keep their kids from having to go to school with the riff-raff (which doesn't necessarily mean minority, but usually does). This leads to a zero sum game where people pay more to be in the best school districts, not merely "good ones".

In my opinion, most everyone would be better off if they just accepted that rich people are going to find some way to get their kids into more exclusive schools, and instead focused on increasing school choice (rather than having the school district lock-in) so that this struggle doesn't have the collateral damage of the environment, transportation congestion, and difficulty buying a home.

Re:There's always a way around the law. (1)

sean_ex_machina (1026748) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916842)

Heh heh heh, not only did my school district (in a well-to-do part of Northern California) gerrymander the boundaries such that there'd be more nonwhite students at my high school, that was the specific stated goal of the redistricting.

Re:There's always a way around the law. (1)

lav-chan (815252) | more than 7 years ago | (#16917206)

Overt racial discrimination, maybe. Sexual discrimination is still perfectly acceptable in almost all facets of society.

Try mandating that your Black employees have to dress differently from your White employees and you'll never hear the end of it, but that works cool if it's males and females. Or see if saying 'we only hire White people for our wait staff' is treated the same as 'we only hire women'. And then there's that last great bastion of segregation, the bath room. We got rid of racially segregated bath rooms but doing it based on sex is still alright. Same with locker rooms, sports teams, entire schools, whatever you want.

Re:There's always a way around the law. (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914464)

And if someone is that much of a bigot, let him wallow around and miss out on opportunities because of it: his loss.

You'd think it'd be the case that they'd lose business, but not always [hendersonvillenews.com].

Re:There's always a way around the law. (1)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16915298)

That story was a bit ironic because you know the two gay guys sent that email out to start trouble for the landscapers, and now they're wishing they'd never sent it out and that the drama would die down. Let this be a warning to anyone who thinks that starting a stink is the best way to get someone to cave into your wishes; sometimes it truly is the best thing to just walk away.

Re:There's always a way around the law. (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 7 years ago | (#16915830)

I really failed to see a problem worthy of all the drama. If someone doesn't want to do business with me for whatever reason, I'll just accept it and find someone else to do the work. If you force someone to do work for you against their will, you're probably not going to get a spectacularly good result for your money, so it's best to find someone that actually wants your business.

Again, we see the two-edged sword of tolerance at work. Those who engage in any given lifestyle while harming no one else should be free to do so, and those who oppose that lifestyle according to their own personal moral compass while harming no one should also be free to do so.

Re:There's always a way around the law. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916590)

Did you google for that or do you actually read the Hendersonville News on a regular basis? I grew up on that paper.

Barry Goldwater (4, Interesting)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913498)

In 1964 Barry Goldwater took heat because, as a libertarian, he didn't support the Civil Rights Act because he believed that the public accomadation clauses since they violate the 1st amendments rights of freedom of association.

Goldwater understood the ideals too, but stood up for freedom even when it isn't popular.

The ideal was so good and tantalizing that people either ignored the fact they were violating this right or rationalized the problem away.

We all do something like that. And I hope the people who complain about the Patriot Act but support public accommadation keep this in mind. If you are against the Patriot Act, are you against security? Maybe. Maybe not.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (1)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913518)

Well, I don't think this legislation is supposed to force people to not to discriminate in their choice in whom they rent to, since that would be pretty hard to enforce. It's more likely that the intent is to bar people from causing offense. However, I personally think that even this is pretty futile, especially on an online forum. If a forum like that were held responsible for all potentially offensive content posted, the viability of all online forums would be called into question. When it's suddenly not enough to have active moderation of the content, what is a provider of an interactive site to do? Hire people to manually filter and approve every post? I'm afraid this would be pretty damn impractical.

Although I'm not from the US myself, I agree with you 100% from what I've heard and seen that American society seems to go way too far in enforcing political correctness everywhere. There will always be bigots and assholes, and I feel that they should have the right to advertise their stuff and services under their own terms. At least that way people can see where they stand and judge their merit accordingly.

I ask you: Which scenario is worse?

1) A white supremacist advertises housing for rent using neutral language, since the law says he has to. He gets contacted by lots of people of color whom he dismisses with verbal insults, since he feels safer expressing his views one-on-one.

2) A white supremacist advertises housing for rent stating his viewpoint and his desire to rent to whites only. He does not get contacted by any people of color or any other people who dislike his views.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (0)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913804)

I vote that the white supremacist not get to rent out his housing at all. Doesn't matter, because if he's as radical as I believe you are suggesting, then he'll seek tenants that subscribe to his views through his private social contacts anyway.

There is nothing wrong with isolating people who use hatred to inflict suffering on others. Anything to cause the suffering to be felt bt that person instead is the right thing to do.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (4, Insightful)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914192)

I vote that the white supremacist not get to rent out his housing at all.

Or, put another way, "I vote that those whose views I find reprehensible be denied those civil rights that I believe appropriate, such as the right to use their property as they see fit or the right to engage in business."

Freedom also means having to put up with those you disagree with or dislike. I don't like racism either, but you combat that with education and encouragement of critical thinking, not with misguided laws that overstep the bounds of what the government is allowed to do. In the end, you're still going to end up with some people that are going to be prejudiced no matter what, and when you come across people like that it's best to just learn to deal with it.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (1, Insightful)

gaspar ilom (859751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914974)

Why are all these ignorant comments getting modded-up, here?

These anti-discrimination laws don't really affect your "freedom of association" in any tangible way -- for example, they don't affect who you choose as a roommate -- or even landlords who live in a *different* unit -- as long as they own under a certain number of units. In these close-quarter circumstances, you can legally discriminate in any way you want.

Part of the basis for these laws is that every landlord accrues benefit to their property from the public till: the national defense, public utilities, the roadways. How about if you discriminate, you get disconnected from these benefits -- or you pay more?

The alternative to anti-discrimination laws -- in housing, or any other area -- is to have a balkanized, segregated America -- far worse than it is now. Do you really want to go back to that? Statistically speaking, a majority of ./ users are likely white -- and all these questions seem quite "academic" to most of you. Many of you seem like you could care less, as long as your abstract pie-in-the-sky Libertarian ideals are upheld.

So, what about landlords who own massive high-rise apartments in a major city? You want to allow *them* to discriminate? F*** you. We've been there already.

And, no: "the free market" is not going to sort it out. The alternative to these anti-discrimination laws is a total lack of social cohesion, chaos, secession and possibly violence.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 7 years ago | (#16915636)

Part of the basis for these laws is that every landlord accrues benefit to their property from the public till: the national defense, public utilities, the roadways.

Hmm, I thought that's what the whole concept of "taxes" was about, and public utilities are generally paid for on a demand basis.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (0, Redundant)

gaspar ilom (859751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916088)

Many utilities are subsidized by either local municipalities, states, or the federal government. (And obviously, "public roadways" are like this.)

However, even if these were "all paid-for by the customers" -- there is still the economy-of-scale that benefits everyone by making the services cheaper.

And, if every White landlord in some city decides they won't rent to non-whites, how are people of color to peacefully respond? Boycotting the utilities might make sense.

It would be indirect -- but it could be used to put pressure on Landlords for the lower cost service they get. This is like what happened w/ the boycotting of Bus services down south 40 years ago -- it wasn't just about the busses, themselves. Those boycotts affected the whole economy.

Of course, that's not really feasible -- because those utilities are essential life services -- and their almost always *monopolies* -- often regulated by *governament.* (so, should they lobby the "government" to enable anti-discrimination laws? ...and History repeats itself.)

The current anti-discrimination laws seem much simpler and cleaner to me.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916376)

The current anti-discrimination laws seem much simpler and cleaner to me.

Making warrantless wiretaps legal is also simpler and cleaner for those who need to conduct surveillance, but that doesn't mean it's the right way to address the problem.

Don't misunderstand me - I'm not saying that racism and discrimination are not a problem that needs to be addressed. I'm simply saying that enforcing one group's civil rights at the expense of another's isn't the way to do it. You still end up with one group of disenfranchised people, but that's okay because their beliefs are just too abhorrent to be acceptable. I'm not a policy-maker and I don't have all the answers, but I just don't believe using the club of government to enforce what essentially is political correctness/acceptable thought is a valid way of dealing with the problem.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916902)

And, if every White landlord in some city decides they won't rent to non-whites, how are people of color to peacefully respond? Boycotting the utilities might make sense.

Rent from nonwhite landlords. And if those white landlords have other businesses, which they often do, then boycott them. Assuming the discriminated against really think it's a problem. Social ostracism has proven to be a very effective way to counter racism. There are legitimate means to counter discrimination. And these have proven to be extremely effective. I don't consider government a suitable substitute. Once government power is used in this way, it gets abused in other ways. For example, recent concerns about a "police state" in the US are in part driven because the US government has acquired the power to decree who you can or cannot associate with.

Finally, I find it illogical the argument that because some group receives minor benefit from a government enforced monopoly, that they should knuckle under to any crazy whim that the government comes up with. Let me pay the real cost of electricity generation and of the government services I use.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (3, Insightful)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916240)

No, it has nothing to do with their views. Someone can be as bigoted as they like, they can hate me merely for the color of my skin, or my religion, or whatever. I don't care, and I'll defend their right to hold and even espouse those beliefs, even though I find them vile.

But engaging in business activities is a highly regulable area. Polluters don't have a right to pollute that trumps environmental laws. Restaurants don't have a right to be unsanitary that trumps health laws. And businesses open to the public generally don't have a right to discriminate that trumps antidiscriminatory commercial regulations. They can still want to, and can still believe in it, they just can't actually do it.

Even setting aside the strong governmental policy in eliminating discrimination for its own sake as an evil in the world, discriminatory practices are economically inefficient and harm the economy. While you might argue that the market will eventually correct for this on its own (despite some evidence to the contrary), the government is hardly required to sit back and wait for the market; it can take an active role, and this is certainly one area in which it ought to. It might not be perfect, but it's resulted in things being a hell of a lot better than they were. I sure don't see you offering any better solutions given the panoply of measures (not just commercial regulation) that the government uses to discourage and/or eliminate discrimination in various fields.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916888)

I sure don't see you offering any better solutions given the panoply of measures (not just commercial regulation) that the government uses to discourage and/or eliminate discrimination in various fields.

Here's an off-the-cuff suggestion that hasn't yet been subjected to a lot of critical thought - rather than force those businesses to act in a prescribed manner against the owner's will, let's instead let them conduct business in the manner they see fit (exceptions for pollution, noise, excess water usage, and other similar *quantifiable* problems), but as a part of their local occupational license application they have to make some kind of legally binding statement to the effect of "we discriminate against no one", or "here are the groups we do not want to do business with". Add a provision that they'll be subject to a very large government hammer if they're found to be acting outside that statement, i.e. discriminating where they said they wouldn't. Make those statements easy for the public to get access to, and print them on the occupational license certificates themselves.

This allows the owner to do business as he pleases, and also allows people to determine quickly what the policies of that business are so they can decide whether or not they want to do business with them. I suspect the sensibilities of the local community will handle the rest. I don't think the government has any business telling business owners who their customers can be, but I have no problem with the government telling them that if they're racist, they have to make their views public if they want a business license. I think you'd find that most businesses would willingly claim (and abide by) "no discrimination" status, and those that don't will suffer the consequences in the market. You'd still have the freedom to discriminate however you want, but if you were found to be discriminating where you said you wouldn't it would then be a matter of the government prosecuting a real crime (lying on the license application) instead of an arbitrary thought crime.

Just an idea.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (1)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916294)

Just FYI, the Black Panthers were socialist. They did not have an anti-white agenda and often worked with, and had the support of the more leftist white people and organizations, including politicians and celebrities. See for yourself. [wikipedia.org]

A better example of racists might have been Nation of Islam members.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914362)

nothing wrong with isolating people who use hatred to inflict suffering on others

And who gets to be the judge of what constitutes "inflicting suffering on others"? You? George W. Bush? Some random judge? The mob?

Better be careful. As in the French Revolution, well-intentioned persecutions may ultimately be turned on the persecutor himself.

-Eric

George Orwell Nails It (1)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913532)

Liberal: A power-worshipper without power.

Re:George Orwell Nails It (1)

xoyoyo (949672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913802)

That would be such a cool quote if Orwell had ever actually said it. Sadly it seems to have been attributed to him by Rand Lindsly in the early 90s on his quotations list and circulated ever since.

You might also find this interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Orwell#Politic al_views [wikipedia.org]

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16913654)

freedom of association

You're free to associate with whoever you want. You just have to associate with other people too, or get a new line of work.

The problem with allowing bigotry to stand is that it fails the ultimate test of ethics: "What if everyone did it?" Yet its a thought crime and subject of free speech, and therefore impossible to criminalize.

allowed to be called "liberal" when in reality all they are is authoritarian.

When has liberal meant anything but "everyone will be better off if the government makes them do it my way". The fact that the Republicans suddenly went off the loopy end of the scale and started dictating how people should live doesn't change what liberal and conservative meant, only who people are voting for.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (1)

muellerr1 (868578) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913820)

Your logic is wacky. You state that liberals are authoritarian. You go on to state that Republicans have recently become authoritarian. You offer this fact as proof of your statement that liberals (who are by and large NOT Republicans) are after all, authoritarian and conservatives (who are generally Republicans) are not. WTF?

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16916584)

conservatives (who are generally Republicans) are not.

Obviously it's because being Republican doesn't make you conservative any more than being a mammal makes you a ninja.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (1)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913982)

"You're free to associate with whoever you want. You just have to associate with other people too, or get a new line of work."

Yes, exactly. We may have to accept their hatred but not when it damages society.

"The problem with allowing bigotry to stand is that it fails the ultimate test of ethics: "What if everyone did it?" "

Exactly right, and it is within the scope of government to engage in this kind of social engineering.

"When has liberal meant anything but "everyone will be better off if the government makes them do it my way". The fact that the Republicans suddenly went off the loopy end of the scale and started dictating how people should live doesn't change what liberal and conservative meant, only who people are voting for."

Here I totally disagree. Liberal and authoritarian are unrelated and one can be either socially liberal or conservative while being libertarian or authoritarian. Republicans and Democrats are nearly equally authoritarian, and IMO way too much.

Look here: http://www.politicalcompass.org/ [politicalcompass.org]

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (3, Insightful)

muellerr1 (868578) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913662)

It sounds like you're saying that liberals support free speech zones and 'speech codes' (whatever those are)--but in the last 8 years, who was the party in power who created the free speech zones for the liberals to protest from? I agree that some liberals are authoritarian, just like some conservatives are. But liberals are the backbone of the ACLU, protecting your free speech everywhere.

But to address the main point of your post, yes, it is a good idea. Most bigots are functioning bigots anyway, meaning that they will happily take anyone's money for rent. They may even learn a degree of tolerance or even respect. Moreover, once you start allowing that kind of segregation, you end up with sections of town for the blacks, Jews and other minorities. This was the case as recently as the 1970s in some areas, but since that sort of thing has been regulated by Federal law, people are allowed to live anywhere they want. Do you really want to return to segregation?

Authoritarian, shmathoritarian (1)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913744)

When you put a Craigslist ad up, add the following to it:

DISCLAIMER: Responding to this ad is not a binding contract to deliver housing. Respondents are subject to be denied housing based on arbitrary issues of incompatibility with current tenants. Void where prohibited. Contact current tenant for details.

While it may be a bit overly "liberal," understand that it's a reaction to a period of time in which people of certain races were not allowed to rent outside of their own area. You quote "bigots" and sounding like some angry redneck type that puts on white masks and burn crosses, but what happens when some quiet, friendly landlord just decides that he'd rather not have those those "other people" renting out his rooms? What happens when a lot of landlords like that do it together unconsciously? Moreover, it's almost certainly going to be directed more at people who own the property that are looking for tenants more than people who are looking for a roommate and such - it's one thing to say that a white guy likely wouldn't want to share a flat with a black panther, but it's another to say that an apartment complex landlord refuses to rent to people of a certain race.

If you have a room to share, and a guy shows up at your apartment to look at the place, and he makes you uncomfortable because of his race / religion / etc., tell him that there are other people who have already been looking at the apartment, and if he calls back later, tell him that you found another roommate. Simple enough. If some bigot, though, is denying any sort of service, including housing space, to certain people, then yes, they should be forced into doing so. That's "We don't serve your kind here," and that's not good from any shape or form. Freedom of association only goes so far - just because a person has freedom of religion doesn't mean they're necessarily allowed to harass people who work at abortion clinics, either.

Re:Authoritarian, shmathoritarian (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914242)

As a realtor, I should point out the following: Room-mate advertising is not the same as an apartment rental nor are the rules for boarding houses the same.

the flow of money in your example is room-mate to tenant to owner. where the owner has to follow the legal housing rules. the tenant does not. the room-mate legally is just a house guest. they have very few if any rights with the landlord. the tenant is the only one with the rights. I see this issue all the time when people split up and the one on the lease keeps the apartment.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (2, Interesting)

pgaffney (247103) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913826)

I and all others have a right to an economy that as much as possible allows anyone to participate on equal terms irregardless of each of our own racial, religious and sexual identity. Necessary to this is that you don't allow people to publish commercial speech that specifically excludes a person on the basis of that person's group membership.
Free association is important, but we need to make sure our economy respects all human beings.
Filthy, thieving robots need not apply.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16913886)

Is it freedom of association or commerce? Once you advertise in public (in this case in cyberspace, which is public) for a paid service, it's no longer association. It's commerce, which can and should be regulated. If you want to avoid renting to certain types of people you hate, then you can find the person you want to rent to IN PERSON. It's in the interest of society to have commerce which does not discriminate based on factors like race.

By the way, freedom of speech isn't about having the right to say whatever you want without facing consequences. It's the right to say what you want without being arrested. Is it authoritarian that you might get fired if you call your boss an asshole to his face? No, it's a matter of common sense and good manners. Same idea with speech on campus. And doesn't a university have the freedom to discontinue association with unrepentant bigots? And don't they have a mission to teach certain community values?

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (4, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913894)

Fucking pathetic that these sorts of people are allowed to be called "liberal" when in reality all they are is authoritarian.

And ironic that their namesake, Craig, is himself what people would describe as a "liberal" and is being targeted by the very people that he in other contexts would support. This is a man who would go to hell and back to avoid discriminating against others, and one who runs his business at unbelievably thin profit margins in order to pursue other goas with the service. And what is his thanks? He gets sued on grounds of discrimination, ignoring all the oppressed groups he's helped find housing. Brilliant!

"A conservative is a liberal who's tried to run a business."

does history inform your decision? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914022)

or is your opinion based on a hypothetical thought experiment, rather than one based on the real world as populated by real human beings?

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (2, Insightful)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914268)

I wholeheartedly agree. Freedom of association is one of the most important rights on the same level as freedom of speech (which it is very much inter-tangled with).

It's ironic how strikingly authoritarian some civil rights legislation can be. If bigots want to be bigoted then people have to accept that and if they disagree with it then they should not associate with them. Forcing them to change their views is itself a very bigoted approach.

Re:Freedom of association is just not that popular (1)

TheViewFromTheGround (607422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916018)

Sure, people shouldn't be stopped due to arbitrary standards like race or gender from renting anywhere they want, but forcing a bigot to do it is not a good idea.

First, this isn't legislation, it's the finding of a federal judge in a crazy lawsuit (one that was brought by some folks I actually know who were definitely barking up the wrong tree IMO). Second, it's a far thornier situation and the answers aren't nearly as clear. I'm sympathetic to your line of thinking on some level, but there are mitigating circumstances here, the main one being that freedom of association means some different in a commercial transaction than in a personal transaction. A couple centuries of the articulated theory and social practice of capitalism have shown that in order for markets to be fair and be efficient, some level of regulatory intervention is often required. Markets aren't "natural", they're a human creations, and open to human manipulation in order to achieve certain goals at the expense of an entirely unregulated market.

Social relations and commercial relations can be then seen as somewhat separate and distinct. Here's the example: I'm looking for a deaf, hermaphroditic amputee no taller than 5'2" to be my roommate on Craigslist. Perfectly acceptable -- I'm using my freedom of association to associate with the kind of person I want to live with and to go get a cabin out in the woods. But neither proximity nor selling/renting your my cabin are association in that directly voluntary, social sense. Therefore, if my neighbor is a race I don't like, well, tough for me, I can exercise my freedom of association not to associate with my neighbor, but I can't force him or her to move. The way this plays out in the Real World in the US is that, according to the American jurisprudence of discrimination and equality, I can't discriminate on the basis of certain criteria called "protected classes" (race and gender being the two key classes) which, depending on the class, as subject to a varying level of "scrutiny" by the courts.

In any event, you (and I, so far) are proceeding on the assumption that the renter/seller in these situations is an individual. And while there are lots of individual landlords, more and more home sales and rentals in American cities are at the very least mitigated by an agent of some sort, and often the landlord itself is corporate entity, often quite large. And at that point, it gets even weirder, unless you believe that the doctrine that a corporation is just a unique form of individual, with the same rights and so forth -- do corporations have a right of association? If they do, is it even remotely similar to an individual's right of association?

In all events, I'm glad you mentioned the freedom of association, because it certainly is a less discussed and less affirmed right in American, but an important one.

./'s immune (0, Offtopic)

cucucu (953756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913352)

now that people know that they cannot kill ./ inappropriate postings, will the replies go up in quality?

Discriminatory Language (1)

C4st13v4n14 (1001121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913378)

If I'm posting a room-mate wanted advertisement, I am going to include discriminatory language such as "no druggies, slobs, or people without jobs." I don't care if it's legal to do so or some civil rights lawyers or activists have a problem with that. I'm supposed to waste so much of my time meeting people that, by default, I don't want to have as room-mates? I don't think so.

Re:Discriminatory Language (5, Informative)

Dilpo (980613) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913454)

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents of legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability) So go ahead and discriminate against druggies slobs and people without jobs all you want. Discrimination isn't illegal unless its based on what is mentioned above. http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/FHLaws/ [hud.gov]

Re:Discriminatory Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16914034)

So, if I advertise a place in a friendly KKK neighbourhood, above a strip joint, up a flight of narrow stairs, I should be okay.

As long as I'm willing to rent to a black stripper with a deathwish.

Re:Discriminatory Language (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914828)

Discrimination isn't illegal unless its based on what is mentioned above.

I've seen adds for renting a room of an apartment only to females. Can I sue them?

Re:Discriminatory Language (1)

TheViewFromTheGround (607422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916242)

I'm acquainted with some of the folks who brought this suit through my own work on Chicago housing issues (human rights issues in public housing, actually). They were entirely barking up the wrong tree here. First, they were trying to go after a relatively neutral forum for the bigotry. Last summer, I was trying to help a buddy (black, former gang member, paralyzed from a shooting) find an apartment, and we ran into several quite racist landlords in our Craigslist searches. Is that Craig Newmark and Co.'s fault? I never thought so. Second, the real issues are that one can form elaborate proxies that function quite well at keeping out those you don't want in your building -- combinations of background checks, credit checks, and other requirements that can quite accurately keep out minorities and others you don't want. When you then consider that in the rental market, tenants rights means once you've got somebody in, it's hard to kick them out, renters have a natural, non-bigoted reason to be very careful about who they rent to. These are hard questions -- should people have to right to some form of housing under most circumstances? Is so, how do you balance those rights with the rights of renters and landlords? These are regulatory questions that have proven to be notoriously difficult to answer. It is clear, however, that suing Craigslist really does very little to advance thinking, discussion, and reform (if needed) of the policy questions surrounding housing.

Re:Discriminatory Language (3, Informative)

autocracy (192714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913670)

My understanding is that the fair housing law doesn't apply if they're living in the same unit as you.

They may be safe; (3, Informative)

Upaut (670171) | more than 7 years ago | (#16913698)

But the moron who included that in an add may not be.

Now people have the right to have opinions I find horrid, they do have that right. But they do not have the right to discriminate with housing. On paper.

They could show the room to let to several people, choice one that configures with their "beliefs" and call the others with the statement that an earlier viewer decided to rent, and has secured a deposit. Easy. Clean. And hard to sue.

Personally, I am guilty to the treatment above. I "HATE" idiots. Pure stupidity and I do not mix (Idiots, not dyslexics. We cool.). So when I rent a room, I conduct a small interview, both via e-mail and durring a personal tour. If I like the cut of their jib, I rent them the room. If not, I wait until I find one I do like, then rent to the following party.

So, if you hate hippies, the same method works as well. Or any other group.

Re:They may be safe; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16914064)

(= .stius fo elpuoc a dnes ot evah dluow noitazinagro ruo esiwrehto, looc era ew dalg ma I

Re:They may be safe; (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914230)

It's not just beliefs, the main problem was gender. It's not legal to say "Women only" or "Men only" in an ad for roommates. A lot of people don't know that. I think if more people knew it, the repeal of these "anti-descrimination" laws would be swift.

Re:They may be safe; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16914296)

"beliefs" might be in reference to the renter. Like the belief that "Never trust anything that bleeds for seven days and doesn't die", or other offal like that.

Re:They may be safe; (3, Informative)

jareds (100340) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914634)

You are incorrect. It is legal to express a gender preference if a common room, such as a bathroom or kitchen, is shared, which is the case for almost all roommate situations.

Re:They may be safe; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16914988)

In fact in much of the US it is illegal for persons of opposite sex to live together at all(not usually enforced but technically illegal). So that would basically require discrimation based on gender.

It always amazes me... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16915306)

Apparently it's not illegal to discriminate on gender when it's a business though... It always amazes me that "Curves" gyms can advertise both on their signs and on TV that the are a gym for "women only".

Actually you do have the right (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16917914)

If you read the FHA Sec 803b states "Nothing in section 804 of this title (other than subsection (c)) shall apply to-- rooms or units in dwellings containing living quarters occupied or intended to be occupied by no more than four families living independently of each other, if the owner actually maintains and occupies one of such living quarters as his residence."

Well, if you are renting a single room in a house, you fall under that blanket and thus none of the non-discrimination language applies to you. Basically the law is such that if you are renting a place you live in, you can discriminate. This applies not only to rooms, but also to something like a guest house. As you ca see, the cutoff is 4 family units. Any more than that, it applies. Also this is only applicable if you actually live there. If you don't, it also applies.

Over all, it's a fair law. If you own a large apartment complex, you can't discriminate. If you are renting a spare room, you can.

Don't blame them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16913956)

I wouldn't want to live next to a nigger either. Take a look at how they run Africa if you need an example of why. Nigger intelligence and culture are just not up to par. FUCK BEING POLITICALLY CORRECT. FACE THE FACTS!

From craigslist.org (1)

bingo_cannon (779085) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914134)

http://www.craigslist.org/about/fair.housing.html [craigslist.org] A group of lawyers is suing craigslist over a handful of allegedly discriminatory housing ads posted by our users, ignoring the fact that craigslist is not a publisher, but rather a community-moderated commons run by and for its users, who self-publish and manage their own ads and use a flagging system to police the site. These lawyers demand that we impose ill-conceived, mistake-prone, and potentially illegal controls on the craigslist community, which if adopted would actually reduce fair housing opportunity, while eroding important free speech and privacy rights. In reality, the craigslist community already excels at ensuring equal opportunity housing, and continues to improve in this regard, earning praise from fair housing groups. This lawsuit will likely be dismissed as groundless, but more importantly the craigslist community will be recognized for its exemplary record in promoting fair housing for all, while fully respecting each person's constitutional right to free speech and free association.

Without reading the article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16914154)

...let me guess... the NAACP (Now Apes Are Called People/National Association for the Advancement of Communist Philosophy) initated this bogus lawsuit against a productive enterprise. That is so very typical of niggers. All they ever do is destroy and take.

Can you blame them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16914886)

I wouldn't want to live with a black person either. I have nothing in common with them, and I had to live with one in a dorm, and it was one hell of an experience that I will never do again.

Room to lease in Kazakhstan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16915068)

No asshole Uzbekis need apply.

Renter's preference (1)

DinZy (513280) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916192)

I rent out rooms in my house in a college town and I was not allowed to post an ad in the local paper stating that I was seeking a grad student or professional roomate, ie no undergrads. Instead I had to answer many phone calls from 20 year old party people that would be very out of place living with a bunch of physics grad students.

I ran an ad on craigslist that fully stated that and no one bothered me, no complainers or undergrads. Apparently on the racist part bothers the users, but the fact that I cannot legally state any preferences on who I want in MY home makes me a little angry. The fair housing act needs to differentiate between roomate ads and renting a vacant dwelling. Letting someone live in your home is not that same as letting some one rent out an entire house/appartment.

Obligatory Family Guy Quote: (2, Funny)

Gadgetfreak (97865) | more than 7 years ago | (#16916718)

Stewie: "We couldn't run an ad that said 'No Portuguese' but, um..... no Portuguese."

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