Real estate agent ethics case involving gay rights, Montana pastor attracts national attention
HELENA – A case involving a pastor in the Missoula area, gay rights and the National Association of Realtors’ code of ethics could be the code’s first legal test, involving LGBTQ + discrimination, according to an advocacy group.
The head of the LGBTQ + Real Estate Alliance also told MTN News this week that the pastor and part-time real estate agent should be temporarily suspended from their membership in the real estate agent group – and that the complaint against him should not wait. the resolution of the lawsuit. .
âLitigation, especially in the event of a pandemic, could span years,â explains Ryan Weyandt, CEO of the group. “This individual, who was alleged by a member of the community to have violated the code of ethics, thus invalidating his membership – to keep this in limbo for years, I think that is unacceptable.”
Clinton Community Church pastor Brandon Huber faces complaint he violated the NAR Code of Ethics ban on engaging in ‘hate speech’ against anyone because of his orientation sexual.
Huber is suing Missoula groups and national real estate agents, saying the code of ethics should be struck down because it is too vague to apply and because it tramples on his religious beliefs.
His lawyer, Matthew Monforton, told MTN News that the ethics case against Huber has been suspended until the lawsuit is resolved.
The National Association of Realtors declined on Tuesday to comment on the state of the ethics process, saying the cases are confidential. However, a spokesperson for the NAR said he was convinced the code and practice “would stand up to judicial scrutiny.”
Weyandt said he believed the Huber case was the first legal test of NAR’s code of ethics, which was drafted in 2020, and that the complaint was one of the first about the code and its ban on actions. discriminatory against members of the LGBTQ + community.
The lawsuit, filed this summer by a local citizen, accused Huber of engaging in “hate speech” when he withdrew his church from participating in a Missoula Food Bank’s free lunch program after celebrating the rights of people. homosexuals.
In an open letter to his congregation, Huber said the church could no longer partner with the food bank’s efforts because promoting gay / transgender rights goes against church doctrine according to which homosexuality is bad.
Weyandt has said that Huber can have and express any religious belief he wants, but he cannot profess anti-gay views and still be a member of the real estate group, according to the code of ethics.
“I definitely respect the individual’s right to freedom of speech and expression, but when you clearly violate government doctrine of a private institution, that is a problem, that’s a whole different story,” he said. -he declares.
Weyandt also said Huber is free to continue selling real estate.
However, if a breach of the Code of Conduct results in Huber’s expulsion from the Realtor Group, he could lose access to multiple listing services for properties, making it difficult to conduct business as an agent. real estate.
Monforton said the alliance and the National Association of Realtors “will not be satisfied until every Bible believing Christian has been purged of the real estate industry.”