The Punishment Of Unwoke Realtors

     It was previously noted on this blog that the National Association of Realtors passed new guidelines to punish any realtors who do or say anything unwoke, even in their private lives. Now, they are putting that into practice and have identified their first victim.

“In any event, we’re seeing now the potential scope of the policy: The Missoula Organization of Realtors (which is the Missoula County affiliate of the National Association) has concluded that a member of the public’s complaint against Montana realtor Brandon Huber “if taken as true on its face, constitutes potentially unethical conduct [under the prohibitions on ‘harassing speech’ and ‘hate speech’] and will be forwarded to the Professional Standards Committee”; Huber now faces a disciplinary hearing on Dec. 2, 2021. According to Huber’s lawsuit against the Missoula Organization of Realtors,

“‘Penalties for violating [the speech code] include a $5,000 fine and suspension or termination of membership privileges, including denial of access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a searchable online database that sorts available real estate properties by parameters such as square footage, acreage, and architectural style.

“‘The complaint was apparently based on the following incident (to quote the lawsuit):

“‘[31.] Brandon Huber also serves as lead pastor for Clinton Community Church in Clinton, Montana….

“‘[34.] For many years, the Church had partnered with the Missoula Food Bank for the “Kids Eat Free” summer lunch program, which involved the distribution of free lunches throughout the summer to families with children.

“‘[35.] In June 2021, the Church discovered that the Missoula Food Bank included an LGBTQ “Pride” insert in its lunches that was contrary to the Church’s teachings.

“‘[36.] After discussing the matter with the Missoula Food Bank, the Church declined to participate further in the food bank’s program.

“‘[37.] Instead, the Church began providing a separate lunch program for the community.

“‘[38.] The Church announced its reasoning for this change on July 2, 2021, in a letter distributed to congregants as well as on the Facebook page of a local Clinton community group.

“‘[39.] This announcement included the following paragraph:

“‘“This year, as well as the past two years, we have partnered with the Missoula Food Bank for the “Kids Eat Fre” summer lunch program. This has been a great honor for us to be able to support the kids and families in our community with these meals throughout the summer months. This past week we found printed material in the lunches that we were handing out, that went against our biblical doctrine. After conversations with the food bank, we have found out that our beliefs and that of the Missoula Food Bank do not align. Due to this, Clinton Community Church has decided to end our partnership with the Missoula food bank effective today July 2, 2021.”’”

     However, he is fighting back.

“Huber is suing the Association for a declaratory judgment that (1) punishing him for his speech violates the Montana Constitution, which provides that, ‘Neither the state nor any person, firm, corporation, or institution shall discriminate against any person in the exercise of his civil or political rights on account of race, color, sex, culture, social origin or condition, or political or religious ideas’ (emphasis added), and that (2) the Association of Realtors’ speech code is too vague under contract law. I’m not sure whether his claim will prevail under Montana law, but I’m glad he’s fighting this.

“I should note that the National Association of Realtors and its state affiliates get various benefits under laws and regulations in various states, including Montana.”

     It’s only a matter of time before the National Association of Realtors, or some other equivalent association for other fields, will prohibit realtors from having as clients anyone who has uttered unwoke utterances or done anything that in the future will be considered unwoke.

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