It's OK to refuse to sell homes to LGBT people: California congressman

Republican Dana Rohrabacher is facing his toughest primary yet.

May 25, 2018, 3:26 PM

Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher was already facing a tough re-election bid in California’s 48th Congressional District – with 15 candidates running against him, including a former protégé – when he told a delegation of Orange County realtors that it is acceptable to refuse to sell homes to LGBTQ people.

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

Rohrabacher told the Orange County Register Thursday that homeowners should have "a right to choose who they do business with."

“We’ve drawn a line on racism. But I don’t think we should extend that line," he told the paper. "A homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral.”

Rohrabacher’s campaign confirmed to ABC News the sentiments in the comments were accurate.

Campaign spokesman Greg Blair said in a statement that the congressman "does not believe the federal government should force those with strong religious convictions into a personal or business relationship that is contrary to their religion.”

Rohrabacher made the comments to a group of realtors including members of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) who were meeting with the congressman to seek his support for including LGBTQ protections under the Fair Housing Act, according to a letter sent by the group's founder, Jeff Berger, to the president of the National Association of Realtors.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher arrives for the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

The National Association of Realtors had included Rohrabacher in its "President's Circle" – a list of candidates it prompted members to donate to this election cycle.

The group pulled the congressman from this list after reports of the comments surfaced, telling ABC News "after reviewing all new, relevant information, it was determined that Representative Rohrabacher will no longer receive support from NAR’s President's Circle."

Rohrabacher is seeking a 16th term in office – he's been in Congress for three decades – but his comments come as he faces his toughest primary yet in California's 48th Congressional District, which is centered in Huntington Beach in Orange County.

The top-two primary, in which the two most-voted candidates will move on to the general election regardless of party, is June 5 – and Democrats had seen an opening as talk of a 'blue wave' in Southern California intensified in neighboring districts.

Democratic candidate Harley Rouda, a favorite of national Democrats to win a place on the November ballot, took no time to condemn the congressman's comments.

"Rohrabacher's comments are appalling and unacceptable," said. "These comments show once again that Dana Rohrabacher has no right being in office and representing the people of this district."

Related Topics