Same-sex couples are less likely to receive responses when they inquire about rental units according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released on June 18.

New York Awaits Vote On Same Sex MarriageThe research is based on 6,833 e-mail correspondence tests conducted in 50 metropolitan markets across the United States from the period of June through October 2011. The experiment conducted by HUD found that landlords are less likely to respond to same-sex couples as they are to heterosexual couples when it comes to their rental units.

The study provides evidence that same-sex couples do experience less favorable treatment than heterosexual couples when searching for rental housing on the internet. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan states:

“As this study shows, we need to continue our efforts to ensure that everyone is treated the same when it comes to finding a home to call their own, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

HUD has done their part to provide education and guidance on the Fair Housing Act, which makes any discrimination against potential renters or home buyers based on race, religion or sex illegal. Although the law does not address sexual orientation, 20 states and more than 150 localities prohibit housing discrimination.

But this does not mean that it is a given that discrimination will stop because of the Fair Housing Act.

According to the study “jurisdictions with state-level protections against housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation unexpectedly show slightly more adverse treatment of same-sex couples than results in jurisdictions without such protections.”

Normally the sexual orientation of a potential tenant wouldn’t be the business of the landlord and in many cases wouldn’t even be mentioned by renters, but the study shows when the information is presented that favoritism is shown more towards the heterosexual couples. An indication that, although things are getting better for LGBT adults, there is still a stigmatism amongst stereotypes that continue to peek through the clouds of acceptance.