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April 08, 2008



Interesting question. Sure the site looks like it would, in so many words, facilitate the indication of a preference regarding a protected class and violate the FHA. But inasmuch as it's a whole site built around an idea that permeates one's religious practice, it seems like there could be some free exercise clause issues. The First Amendment has to be hanging out in this space somewhere.

Jonathan Frieden

I'm not, by any means, an expert on the law pertaining to discriminatory housing practices, but, like Evan, my initial thought is that there may be some exposure. However, could Christian Roommates be saved by the fact that it never asks the illicit question, "Are you a Christian?" and does not appear to prohibit non-Christians from making use of the site to find and list housing opportunities.

Evan, in light of Roommates.com, do you think Christian Roommates would be protected by Section 230?

D. C. Toedt

I wonder whether the law differentiates between advertising for roommates versus advertising for tenants. A roommate-seeker might be able to assert some kind of privacy- and personal-liberty interest, perhaps as a Justice Douglas-style penumbral emanation from the Ninth Amendment, which wouldn't seem to carry as much weight in a purely commercial landlord-tenant relationship.

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