In the November election, Minnesota voters will have the option to vote for a proposed constitutional amendment that would only recognize marriage as an institution between opposite-sex couples. Same-sex marriages would not be recognized by the state, if the voters vote in favor.
The amendment is supported by Rep. Sondra Erickson and Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, both Republicans. HousingWire reached out to each person to ask them if they considered the economic impact of such a declaration. None responded.
The Minneapolis Areas Association of Realtors announced its opposition to the proposal and questioned the effects it will have on the housing market.
The association has every right to question.
In the housing market, the focus is not on a potential homeowners' sexual orientation, but the money in their pockets.
MAAR takes its position of the amendment based on the negative impact on equal access to housing and property rights in the state.
The association is an advocate for equality and change. A team from the association took part in the change to the Realtor Code of Ethics-Article 10 in 2010 and 2012, which added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes.
“Our Association leadership believes this issue strikes at the heart of our organization’s commitment to fair housing, a strong code of ethics and equal opportunities for all,” said chief executive officer Mark Allen of MAAR. “The rights and privileges of homeownership extend beyond the actual sales of a home, and passage of this amendment would deepen the inequality of access to those for couples who unions are not legally recognized.”
On the flip side, MAAR fears that making housing a political issue rather than one based on economics will turn off potential homebuyers in the state, specifically the Minnesota metro region. For example, potential homeowners outside the state may become turned off by the issue altogether, making it one that's difficult to address within the realm of the free-market.
And now is not the time to upset potential homeowners, when the market is lacking buyers. The housing market in the Twin Cities continues to trend upward, with more homes being sold in less time at higher prices since a year prior. The concern is that without the legal status of marriage, rights enforcement on co-ownership would require additional litigation for same-sex couples. This may dissuade those couples from buying altogether.
In September, 4,032 homes went under contract, which is an 11% increase from last year. New listings that were lender-mediated was at its lowest level since June 2008, 30.6%.
MAAR government affairs director Julia Parenteau said the board of directors thinks the marketing statistics will take a turn south if the proposal is passed.
“The concern is that the Twin Cities would not be seen as a welcoming environment for perspective buyers and folks who are looking to resettle in our area,” she said.