Professor Shahar Dillbary of The University of Alabama School of Law and Professor Griffin Edwards of the Collat School of Business at The University of Alabama, Birmingham were named the Dukeminier Awards’ Stu Walter Prize winners for their co-authored article, “An Empirical Analysis of Sexual Orientation Discrimination,” 86 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1 (2019). The Dukeminier Awards are bestowed annually by The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law in recognition of the best law review articles concerning sexual orientation and gender identity.
The study produced by Dillbary and Edwards is the first to empirically demonstrate widespread discrimination across the United States based on perceived sexual orientation, sex, and race in the mortgage lending process. From an analysis of more than five million mortgage applications, their findings reveal that any FHA loan application filed by same-sex male co-applicants is significantly less likely to be approved compared to the white heterosexual baseline (holding lending risk constant). The most likely explanation for this pattern is sexual orientation based discrimination — despite the fact that FHA loans are the only type of loan in which discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited.