Monthly Archives: January 2015

Moving to Cincinnati

As the third largest city in Ohio, Cincinnati has its share of diverse neighborhoods.  The city was a boomtown during the 19thcentury, exploding outwards to become, at the time, the sixth largest city in the country.  It’s often considered the first true American city since it was the first large city to be founded both inland and after the Revolutionary War.  It’s also an interesting melting pot of different cultures, including the LGBT community.

Cincinnati Has a Growing LGBT Population That is Also Very WelcomingLike many cities, Cincinnati does have a neighborhood that is predominantly gay and lesbian.  In this case, it’s the Northside.  This area is full of life—you’ll find clubs, bars, art galleries, and a great farmer’s market.  It’s a very eclectic neighborhood that also hosts the city’s LGBT pride parade.  The Center, Cincinnati’s gay and lesbian community center, was also located in the Northside before it closed its physical location to becoming an online-only resource.

Some might take that as a sign that there’s very little support for LGBT people in the area, but that’s definitely not true.  While the community center may have closed, there are still many different support groups, organizations, and events aimed at the LGBT community.  In fact, even though The Center has closed its physical doors, it still hosts a number of events such as Pride Night at the King’s Island amusement park.  Other groups such as Equality Ohio, which has worked for the advancement of the rights of the LGBTQ citizens of the state since 2005, often hold rallies or other events in Cincinnati.

As far as legal rights go, Ohio has been somewhat progressive, but it’s mostly a very conservative state.  The state repealed its sodomy laws in 1972, making it the eighth state to do so.  This was done well before the Supreme Court struck down all sodomy laws in 2003.  However, as of the first of 2015, the state remains one of the minority of states that does not recognize or allow same-sex marriage.  In 2004, a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage passed by 61 percent.  This ban was declared unconstitutional in April of 2014, but as of January 2015, the case is currently awaiting appeal.  On January 16, 2015, the Supreme Court consolidated this appeal with three others and will review the case later in the year.

Cincinnati does have a domestic partner registry, the creation of which was approved by the city council in 2012.  The city has anti-discrimination policies on the books banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

While Ohio may not be the more progressive in how it treats its LGBT citizens, a gay or lesbian real estate agent will be the first to tell you that the state, and especially Cincinnati, aren’t as horrible as one may think.  It can be a great city to live in if you can find the right home.

My Partner and I Would Like to Purchase a Foreclosed Home, What are the Issues Involved?

Buying a foreclosed home is a great way to get an excellent deal. The downside is that you may be buying more than you bargained for if the home has been sitting vacant for a long period of time. In most states, foreclosed homes are sold as is with no warranty. This means that you get what you see and will be responsible for any and all repairs that are needed. Following are some tips for those who would like to purchase a foreclosed home.

imagesWinterization

If the home has been sitting empty, especially through a winter, the odds are that the utilities have been turned off and the home has been winterized. This means that the water is off, the traps have been filled with antifreeze, and the water lines may have been fully drained or pressurized with air so that the pipes do not freeze and burst. Generally, it would be best to hire a professional to dewinterize the home. When homes have been winterized and sit vacant for a long time, water seals can dry out or rot and will need to be replaced; the hot water tank will need to be filled with water before turning it on; flex lines may need to be reattached; and the traps will need to be cleaned out.

Utilities

If the power has been off for a long time, the electric company may require that you have a licensed electrician inspect the home’s electrical system to ensure that it is safe to turn the power on. That requirement varies depending on municipality rules. In addition, if you are not from the area, you may be required to pay a fee to the electric company.

In addition to electrical issues, you will need to inspect the duct work if the home has a forced-air system and remove any dirt and debris that may have accumulated and install clean filters. If the system has a gas furnace, the utility company may not light the pilot until the maintenance has been completed.

Plumbing

You may find that the home has broken pipes or that it leaks once the water is turned on. In the worst case scenario, a leak was present and never repaired resulting in rotted or moldy flooring and drywall. Replacing the flooring and the walls or controlling the mold problem can end up costing a lot of money, depending on the amount of damage that has occurred.

Heating

If furnaces have been subjected to humidity for a long period of time, the exchangers can corrode and will need to be replaced. Depending on the system that is installed in the home, this could end up costing several thousand dollars.

Inspections

Home inspections generally cost several hundred dollars, but are well worth the cost. An inspection will reveal problems with the home in areas including the roof, foundation, electrical, heating, plumbing and water leakage. Once an inspection has been completed, you will have a good idea of the issues with the home and what will need to be done to repair the problems. The report will give you the opportunity to decide whether you want to move forward with the purchase or look for a different foreclosure.

It should be noted that home inspections are not a requirement for the sale of a property in any state. As a general rule, most real estate agents do suggest that potential buyers have one completed before purchase, however, it is ultimately up to the buyer.

Maintenance

When homeowners become aware that they will be losing their home, it is not unusual for them to give up on maintaining the home. This means that regular maintenance will most likely be needed, including clearing gutters and roofing of debris, cutting back overgrown vegetation and thoroughly cleaning the home both inside and out. You should also be on the look out for cobbled repairs where the owner did not want to spend money to have it done correctly. For example, using duct tape to repair a leaky pipe.

If you are in the market to purchase a foreclosed home, you should hire a reputable LGBT real estate agent to assist you with the process. He or she will know what problems to look for with a foreclosed home and can refer you to a reputable home inspector. To find an agent in your area, simply conduct a search on GayRealEstate.com.

Posted on January 22, 2015 in Buying a Home, Foreclosures

My Same Sex Partner and I Would Like to Purchase a Home, How Much Will it Cost Us?

Many potential home buyers begin with the mistaken impression that a down payment is all they need to worry about. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There are other costs involved that, in many cases, must be paid out-of-pocket before or at the time that the purchase closing is held. Following are some of the costs that may or may not be required.

downloadGood Faith Deposit

A good faith deposit is an amount of money that is paid at the time that you make an offer. The deposit indicates to the seller that you are serious about purchasing the home. The amount of your deposit will vary depending on the purchase price of the home. If the purchase is completed, your deposit will be subtracted from the total cost of the home at the time of closing.

Home Inspection

While general home inspections are not required in the United States, it is a good practice that your real estate agent will recommend. Along with a general home inspection, you may hire specialized inspectors, including termite, environmental, and electrical if the need arises. Note that many states have laws that require a pest inspection prior to the sale of a home. The goal is to protect you from potentially purchasing a home that will end up costing you a lot of money to repair. The average cost of a home inspection is approximately $400.

Appraisal

Your lender will require an appraisal of the home to ensure that it is valued at a minimum of the amount that they are lending you. A professional, licensed appraiser must be hired to give his or her expert opinion as to the value of the home. In most cases, you will be required to pay for that service out-of-pocket. The average cost of an appraisal $300 to $400.

Homeowners Insurance

Your lender will require that you carry homeowners insurance on the home for the duration of your mortgage. The insurance is intended to protect the lender against losing its collateral, your home, in the event of a disaster, such as a fire. The cost will depend on your state laws regarding insurance underwriting, the value of the property and other variables.

Closing Costs

Closing costs are fees that must be paid at the time of closing for the lender and any third parties that were involved in the purchase process. Those fees can include loan origination fees, attorney fees, inspection fees, title insurance and title search fees, and recording fees that are paid to the city or county for recording the new deed.

Lenders are required by law to give you a good faith estimate of what the closing costs will be within three days of your application for the loan. That estimate is not the final costs, but does give you an idea of how much you will have to pay. Within a day of your closing, the lender should give you a settlement statement that outlines the actual closing costs. Do not hesitate to question the lender if there are any costs you do not understand or do not agree with. Some of those fees may be negotiable.

Some lenders will allow the closing costs to be added to the mortgage. While it may help your pocket at the time, it will cost you more money in the long-term because you will end up paying interest over the life of your mortgage loan.

Down Payment

Your down payment will be set by the lender, but is generally around three to five percent of the purchase price. For example, if you are purchasing a home for $80,000, your down payment may be in the area of $2,400 to $4,000. You must pay the minimum at the time of closing, but may pay more than that amount if you desire.

If you are in the market to purchase a home, a reputable LGBT real estate agent will not only keep your best interest in mind, he or she will know the local laws and be in a position to answer your questions and give excellent advice. Conducting a search for a real estate agent on GayRealEstate.com is the best way to being your search for a reputable agent in your area that you will be comfortable working with.

Living Gay on the East Coast

When people think of the best places for LGBT people to live, many think of cities like San Francisco and Portland—cities on the West Coast.  However, the East Coast has a few great places for LGBT people, too.

Living Gay on the East Coast is Growing in Popularity and Becoming Even More Widely AcceptedNew York City is the first place most think about.  It’s the home of Broadway and musical theater, and while it’s a stereotype, it’s also true that many gay men love the theater.  New York City is also home to the Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the gay rights movement.  The city has a number of gay neighborhoods, and many more LGBT people visit the Big Apple every year.

Florida’s Key West is another great LGBT city.  It was one of the first cities to have an openly gay mayor, and it’s also home to the Key West Gay & Lesbian Museum & Archive.  This museum includes items such as Tennessee Williams’s typewriter.  Key West, like many places in Florida, is a popular retirement destination for older LGBT people.

Besides Key West, the trinity of Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manors, and Oakland Park are also known for having major LGBT communities.  The three cities, which are located near each other, have some of the highest percentages of LGBT people in the nation.  Fort Lauderdale is home to the Stonewall Library & Archives, while Wilton Manors hosts the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center.

Boston, the largest city in Massachusetts, is another very welcoming city on the West Coast.  The city is the location for the headquarters of The Rainbow Times, an LGBT publication that is the only lesbian-owned LGBT newsmagazine in the U.S.

Providence, Rhode Island, made history in 2002 when David Cicilline was elected as the first openly gay mayor of the state’s capital, becoming the first LGBT person to serve as the mayor of a capital city.  At the time, Providence was also the largest city with a gay mayor, although Portland, Oregon, obtained the title in 2009.  Providence is also home to one of the fastest growing LGBT communities.  It’s been called one of the Best Places for Lesbians to Live and is the location of the largest bathhouse in the New England area.

If you’re considering a move to the East Coast but haven’t decided on a city or state yet, talk to a gay or lesbian real estate agent.  They can help you select the right city for your new home.

Posted on January 19, 2015 in Buying a Home

Environmental Issues Same Sex Couples Should Be Aware of When Buying a Home

There are environmental issues that you should be aware of before you purchase a home. If those issues arise after you purchase the home, it may be your responsibility to correct the problem rather than the sellers. Once you find a home that you are interested in, you should ask both your real estate agent and the seller if there are such issues. If the seller does not inform you of issues that he or she knew or should have known about, he could be charged with fraud. Following are some of the environmental issues same sex couples should be aware of when buying a home.

images (1)Asbestos

Asbestos is a strong and durable fibrous mineral that is found in the rocks and soil worldwide. In the past, this substance was used in building materials such as insulation until it was found that it caused cancer. If you plan to purchase a home that was built prior to the 1990s, this substance may be present. It is not a danger unless it has deteriorated or is crumbling or flaking. It can be expensive to correct the problem because the materials containing asbestos will have to be removed and, when that occurs, the fibers will be released into the air. For safety, a professional who specializes in asbestos cleanup should be hired.

Lead Paint

Lead Paint may be a problem in homes built before 1978. Generally, lead paint is not harmful if it is not cracked or peeling. If it is in bad repair, it will need to be removed or sealed to eliminate the danger it can pose. High levels of lead in the body can lead to permanent damage to red blood cells, the brain, kidneys and the central nervous system. Federal law requires that real estate agents obtain information from the seller and provide that information to a potential buyer in pre-1978 residential properties. A problem may arise if the seller chooses not to disclose this information or is not aware of its presence.

Mold

While mold generally occurs in homes in varying degrees and is generally not dangerous, certain types of molds can produce toxins that cause health problems, including  allergy and upper respiratory tract symptoms including runny nose, eye irritation, coughing and wheezing. Recent studies have indicated that the presence of toxic mold may cause asthma in children.

Removing mold on hard surfaces is as simple as cleaning using a specialized mold removal procedure. If the mold has infested porous surfaces such as carpets and drywall, the only way to get rid of it is to remove and replace the material involved. If the mold has gained access behind walls and other inaccessible places, extensive rebuilding may be required.

Radon

Radon is a tasteless and odorless gas that results from the natural decay of uranium and is present in the soil and the atmosphere worldwide. The problem arises when the radon levels become too high. Testing the inside of the home for the level of radon should be completed prior to purchase so that you are aware if there is a problem and can decide if you would like to go to the expense of installing a reduction or mitigation system in the home.

Water

Water quality should be a concern and should be tested before purchasing a home. Testing will reveal the presence of lead, arsenic and bacteria such as E-coli. The test will also reveal the levels of pH and water hardness as well as the presence of iron, manganese, fluoride and iron.

If you feel that the home that you would like to purchase may have an environmental issue, you can have an environmental inspection performed. The inspector will check water quality, test for radon and mold and test the soil and groundwater for contamination. If the home is old enough, testing for asbestos and lead paint can also be performed.

Before looking for a home to purchase, you should hire a professional LGBT real estate agent. He or she will be aware of any environmental issues in the neighborhoods where you are looking and will be aware of state laws that may require the seller to disclose any or all of the above environmental issues in a home you are interested in purchasing. To find the best LGBT agents available in your area, you should conduct a search on GayRealEstate.com.

Posted on January 19, 2015 in Buying a Home, Home Buyers, Home Buying, Home Inspection

Are There Federal Laws that Protect My Same Sex Partner and I When Purchasing a Home

There are no federal laws that specifically protect LGBT when purchasing a home, although some federal agencies, states and municipalities do have laws or ordinances that protect LGBT against discrimination. For example The Federal Housing and Urban Development agency, HUD, implemented a rule in 2012 designed to make its core programs available regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. The rule applies to housing insured by HUD in its home ownership programs. There are some federal laws in place that protect all people when purchasing a home.

imagesFederal Fair Housing Act

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended, prohibits discrimination in housing related transactions based on “race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability).” http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/FHLaws

The Fair Housing Act applies to the sale of a home, mortgage lenders and homeowner insurance providers. This law can protect LGBT if the discrimination falls under one of the categories noted above. For example, if you feel that you were discriminated against because a seller falsely denied to you and your partner that the property was for sell because one of you is perceived to have AIDS, it could constitute illegal discrimination based on handicap under this law. While this may seem to be unlikely, some sellers have became attached to their home and are selective of who they would like to live in it.

The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Public Law 111-203, and Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989, FIRREA, Public Law 101-73

FIRREA requires appraisers to be licensed and that their appraisals meet the standards of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice created by the Appraisal Foundation. Appraisers are licensed by the state that they work in according to that states requirements. The Dodd-Frank law makes it illegal to attempt to influence an appraiser to assign a market value to a home that is not accurate. Influence means to bribe, coerce, instruct, collude, extort or intimidate. It also requires that you receive one free copy of that appraisal.

This law protects you by helping to ensure that you receive an appraisal that is not as accurate as possible. Appraisals must be based on the home and its location, the price comparable homes in the area have sold for and various other factors that can affect the fair market value of the home.

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, RESPA, Public Law No. 93-533

RESPA is a consumer protection act that requires settlement services to disclose the costs associated with the service and outline their lender and escrow account practices. In addition, if the service is federally related, such as through HUD or FHA, the lender is prohibited from taking or giving anything of value to anyone for referrals or services. This particular section is designed to eliminate kickbacks or referral fees that may increase the cost of the loan. In addition, home sellers cannot require a purchaser to use any particular company to purchase title insurance.

This law helps consumers by potentially lowering settlement service costs and giving them more information so that they can shop around for the best prices for services related to the home purchase. Settlement services include, for example, lenders and title and homeowner insurance companies.

There are other federal laws in place designed to protect the consumer in real estate transactions. If you are in the market to purchase a home, you should hire an LGBT real estate agent. He or she will know all of the laws that relate to your purchase and will protect your best interests. You can find the best qualified LGBT agents by conducting a search in your area on GayRealEstate.com.

Living LGBT in Arkansas

Arkansas may not be the first state you think of when it comes to being a great place for LGBT people to live.  Of course, it’s not perfect, but it’s not as bad as some other places.  A gay or lesbian real estate agent would be the first to tell you that certain places in Arkansas are better than others, but then again, that’s also true about many states.

Arkansas Has a Growing LGBT Community, Despite the Outdated Laws that Are Still Being Worked ThroughFirst, let’s look at what rights LGBT citizens have in the state.  Laws regarding same-sex sexual acts were repealed in 2005, which seems a little late considering sodomy laws had been invalidated in 2003 by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas.  The Arkansas General Assembly had passed a ban on both same-sex marriage and on recognizing out of state marriages back in 1997, and in 2004, that ban was made into a constitutional amendment by voters.

On May 9, 2014, that ban was struck down, and some counties immediately began issuing marriage licenses to any same-sex couple who applied.  However, the Arkansas Supreme Court later issued a stay on the ruling, and on May 16, all counties were instructed to stop issuing licenses.  As of the end of 2014, this stay is still in effect.

However, even though LGBT couples can’t get married in the state, those who live in Eureka Springs can become domestic partners.  The town is the only place in Arkansas that offers this.  Same-sex partners of city workers are eligible for healthcare benefits, and the city has endorsed same-sex marriage.  In fact, if you’re going to move to Arkansas, Eureka Springs is one of the best places.  The city has four different annual LGBT festivals and is very welcoming.  It’s also a major tourist destination thanks to the many different small businesses, music shows, and gorgeous mountain views.

Fayetteville is another place to consider.  It’s a larger city that has a good-sized student population since it’s the home of the University of Arkansas.  Walmart’s headquarters is located nearby in Bentonville, and the company’s presence helped protect Fayetteville from getting hit hard by the recent recession.  The city is also one of the few cities that has passed laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Another city that LGBT people may want to check out is Little Rock.  The capital of Arkansas certainly has many different job opportunities for those looking to relocate to the state.  The city also bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but not gender identity.

What You Should Know About Home Inspection Problems

Real estate agents generally recommend that buyers have a home inspection completed before purchasing a home. The purpose is to protect the buyer from issues with the home that were either unknown or undisclosed by the seller. There are no laws that require home inspections in any state, it is completely up to the buyer.

images (1)What is Inspected?

A home inspector will, at a minimum, check for the following:

  • Roofing including shingles or tiles and flashing to make sure it is in good repair.
  • Foundation problems including cracks or water damage.
  • Electrical system to ensure that everything works, including electrical fixtures and light switches. He or she will also ensure the correct fuses are being used and that there are no bad connections or overloaded breakers.
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning, HVAC, system to ensure it is functioning properly.
  • Plumbing, both inside and out, to make sure it works and has no leaks.
  • Installed systems in the home, such as garbage disposals, to make sure they are working properly.
  • Water leakage that could damage or has damaged the homes. Leaks can be caused by faulty plumbing or outside drainage problems. He will check in areas including the basement, foundation, ceiling, floors, roof and windows and doors.

A home inspection does not include a pest inspection, although if he sees the obvious termite damage, he will mention it to you. If you are concerned about pests, you will need to have a termite inspection. An inspector also does not do a specialized mold inspection, but will alert you in his report if he notices mold or mildew. You will need to hire inspectors who specialize in those areas to conduct those types of inspections. Other areas that are generally not inspected include swimming pools, septic systems and appliances such as refrigerators and stoves.

What Happens After the Inspection

The home inspector will create a home inspector’s report and then review that document with you so that he can explain any problems that he found and what may be required to have it corrected. At that point, you can choose to accept the home with any problems that the inspector located or you may renegotiate with the seller. Your options may include asking the seller to correct the problems, asking for a lower selling price to offset your costs of repairing it, or decide that you do not want to purchase the home at all. If a home inspection was listed in your proposal as a condition for the purchase, you can get out of the contract without losing your good faith deposit. Your real estate agent will assist if you decide you would prefer to renegotiate.

How Do I Hire a Home Inspector

Your real estate agent will commonly give you a referral to an inspector that he knows is qualified and dependable. If you prefer not to hire his or her referral, you could ask friends and relatives for referrals or look in the local yellow pages under building or home inspectors. Note that, since not all states require inspectors to be licensed, you should be careful to choose someone who is qualified.

If you are in the market to purchase a home, it would be wise to hire an LGBT real estate agent. He or she will assist you with the entire process involved in finding and purchasing a home. To find a professional LGBT agent, conduct a search at GayRealEstate.com. The results will include only qualified LGBT real estate agents in your area.

Posted on January 12, 2015 in Buying a Home, Home Buyers, Home Buying, Home Inspection

My Partner and I Purchased a Property That Includes an Easement, What Does That Mean?

Easements allow someone other than the owner of a property to use it for a limited purchase such as a right of way, right of entry or right to water. For example, your neighbor has a landlocked property that, without an easement to drive through your property, he or she would be unable to use it because there would be no way to access a public right of way. Landlocked means that the property is completely surrounded by land or water that is owned by other people or businesses. In legal terms, the dominant property is the land that benefits from the easement, and the servient property is the land that is burdened with the easement.

Types of Easements

imagesThere are two types of easements, affirmative and negative. Affirmative easements give the holder the right to do something, such as travel on a road or path through your land. This type of easement is called an appurtenant and is attached to the land. This means that when the property is sold, the easement transfers with it. Negative easements prevent the owner from doing something, such as erecting a building that obstructs a view or obscures light. For example, your neighbor has solar panels installed and erecting a building on your land would obstruct the sunlight.

What Rights Does an Easement Give to the Holder

In general, easements do not give the holder of the easement rights to exclusive possession and he or she cannot improve or take from the land and cannot sell it. The holder can only use the easement in the manner specified in the agreement. The owner is normally free to use the property as he or she sees fit, but cannot impair the rights of the holder to use it. You should review the written easement agreement to find out what your obligations to the holder actually are.

If you do not know the purpose of the easement, you can review the legal description given in the title to your home to find out if it notes that there is a legal easement. If so, it should note a reference number that may include a book and page number. You can then go to your county clerk who can locate the document based on the reference number and make a copy for you. It would be wise to get a copy since you could be liable for damages if you unknowingly interfere with the holder’s easement rights.

What if an Easement Agreement Has Not Been Recorded?

If a surveyor labeled an easement, but there is no agreement on record, your title would have more than likely listed it on your title policy and noted that it is not covered under your insurance. This means that is, at some future date, someone decides to claim the right to use the easement, the title insurance company would not pay the costs involved to have the issue resolved.

There are other forms of easements and the laws related to them vary by state. For purposes of this article, we have only covered easements that transfer with the property when it is sold. If a home you would like to purchase notes that there is an easement, you may ask your real estate agent to obtain the information related to it for you.

If you are interested in purchasing a home, one of the best places to find an experienced and knowledgeable LGBT real estate agent is by conducting a search on GayRealEstate.com. They have taken care of the legwork required to find a real estate agent that understands the needs of the LGBT community. For more information on finding a real estate agent, see our article Choosing the Best Realtor.

Posted on January 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

Being Gay in Houston

Texas may have a reputation for being a very red state that’s not at all welcoming to those of the LGBT community, but that reputation comes mostly from the smaller towns in the state.  The larger cities such as Houston are very welcoming.  The people of Houston tend to be fairly laid back.  There are many young people in Houston, and more move to the city every day.  That’s helped change the overall atmosphere of the area, especially Houston proper, into a very welcoming and relaxed area.  As you go out towards the suburbs, you may find that changes a little bit, but overall, being gay in Houston isn’t an issue.

Texas Has a Bad Reputation When it Comes to the LGBT Community, But That Is Not How the Enitre State FeelsIn fact, Houston has made gay history when, in 2009, the city became the first large city of more than one million people to elect a LGBT mayor.  Annise Parker became only the second woman and the first openly gay person in the city’s history to be elected mayor.  As of 2014, she was serving her third term as mayor.

Houston no longer really has a gay ghetto, although there are a number of different parts of town that have gay bars.  Montrose, for example, is home to most of the city’s gay clubs.  But most of the LGBT community in the city is spread throughout Houston.  Some to flock to the nicer parts of Houston like Heights, Oak Forest, Eastwood, and Lindale Park, but they’re not the only ones moving into these areas.  Of course, because they’re nicer, they’re also more expensive.  Those on a fixed income may need to look at other parts of the city.

However, while Houston is LGBT friendly, the State of Texas overall is not always.  Mayor Parker herself discovered one way the state was attempting to discriminate against LGBT citizens when her daughter went to take her driver’s license exam.  Because her birth certificate listed both Parker and her wife, the Texas Department of Public Safety would not allow her to take the driver’s exam.  They cited the state’s ban on same-sex marriage made her birth certificate invalid.  Later, the department relented, and her daughter did get her license.

That incident is just one example of why some LGBT people are moving out of Texas.  The state does still have a ban on same-sex marriage, although some don’t expect that ban to last for much longer.  The City of Houston, much like the other larger and more liberal cities, does offer health insurance to same-sex spouses.

Posted on January 3, 2015 in Gay and Lesbian, Gay Marriage, Housing Markets