A Christian realtor in Minnesota who writes on his website about leaving the gay lifestyle will allow his license with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to expire after his broker reportedly told him he could no longer publicly express Christian views regarding sexuality.
“Would you pray for my wife and me as we seek God’s will for what’s next?” Moore, who is now married to a woman, tweeted last Friday. “This week my broker informed me that I cannot continue to talk publicly about Christian views re: LGBTQ+ issues if I want to remain with this brokerage. As of July 1st, I will no longer be a realtor.”
There are other brokerages in town. But there is widespread uneasiness about real estate agents talking about LGBTQ+ issues in the public sphere due to @nardotrealtor's recent change to the Code of Ethics. I wrote about this six months ago. 2/ https://t.co/jjoF428GbX
— Matt Moore (@onemoorematt) May 21, 2021
Moore’s decision comes after NAR amended its Code of Ethics last November to forbid realtors from engaging in “hate speech” regarding sexual orientation or gender identity even in their private lives and on social media. Before, the code of ethics applied to realtors only while they were performing their jobs.
Last December, Moore wrote an open letter to NAR expressing his concerns regarding their new rules, which he argued were too subjective and ill-defined to prevent discrimination against realtors who hold traditional Christian views regarding homosexuality and transgender behavior.
“Though I am sure the changes made to the COE and SPSP on November 13th were intended to quell discrimination, I am concerned they will potentially foster discrimination against a particular group of Realtors,” wrote Moore. “I believe these changes may put Christian Realtors in a position in which they must choose either to 1) remain silent in the public sphere about issues pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity, or 2) share their historic Christian beliefs about these issues and risk being wrongfully accused of and reported for hate speech.”
“As public awareness of the fact that Realtors can be reported for things said and done outside of real estate increases, Realtors who express a historic Christian view of homosexual and transsexual behavior could become regular targets for undeserved allegations of hate speech,” Moore warned.
Moore further wrote:
First, there exists no legal or standard definition of the term hate speech in the United States. Second, it is common for a mere articulation of Christian beliefs concerning homosexuality and transgenderism to be labeled as hate speech. When we say that God desires LGBTQ+ people to turn to Jesus in faith and away from sexual (and all!) sin, we are often accused of doing harm to LGBTQ+ persons. But this is not harmful. This is not hate speech. This is an opinion. And there are countless opinions in this country about various moral issues. A healthy society is one in which many opinions about many things can be tolerated. An unhealthy society is one in which people seek to “cancel” or silence those who hold different opinions. I’m afraid NAR’s new rules, if interpreted and enforced in the way I worry they might be, could play a part in moving our society further away from health rather than toward it.
If Christian Realtors begin to be reported alleged hate speech, I wonder if we will be able to receive fair hearings from our peers considering the lack of agreed-upon definitions and overall fuzziness of what constitutes hate speech as it relates to sexual orientation and gender identity. NAR defines hate speech as “speech that is intended to insult, offend, or intimidate a person because of some trait (as race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability).” The problem here is that in most cases it is very difficult to prove intent. Yet NAR makes intent an essential element of hate speech and tasks a Hearing Panel (made up of Realtors, not lawyers, judges, or psychologists) with determining whether or not ill intent was present.
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