EQUALITY North Dakotans work to create laws against discrimination.

Recently in Grand Forks, the City Council Finance and Development Committee passed a vote of support for housing equality, sending the proposed law to the full council. If passed, the law will ban any housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

When it comes to deciding whether to rent to a tenant or not, there are a number of factors that landlords take into account.

Landlords want to know their tenants’ credit history, income, criminal record and any previous evictions. These are logical concerns; it makes sense to want to know if the person that you are renting to is good for their money and will treat your property with respect.

One thing a landlord should not be concerned with who a tenant loves or how they identify as person.

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identification is wrong.

And we, the editorial board, believe it’s time Grand Forks steps up as a city and says so.

Landlords are in no position to deny tenants based on what they do in their private lives. Who a person is attracted to, how they define their gender, who they identify as a person is between them and their loved ones.

It is not a matter to be regulated by contracts and apartment leases — to attempt to do so is to do a disservice to valuable members of our community.

This is not a matter of religion, morals or messages from God. This is a matter of justice, of human rights. Frankly, this is an issue of government — and religion has no place in it.

If you are not going to give fair opportunities to all sexual orientations, then maybe being a landlord isn’t the job for you.

Landlords should be concerned with how much control they have over their own property and the conduct with which their tenants treat the rented property. But a gay couple is no more of a risk to property than a straight couple.

Many minorities in America have laws passed to protect against discrimination. Every other minority has been guaranteed this basic right, this necessity for survival.

It’s time to play it straight and extend equal housing rights and protections to all.