Anti-gay, anti-trans Realtor terminated from Keller Williams

Update: Here is a link to Ms. Rutkowski’s original post, as it appeared on January 25 shortly before she deleted it. I flagged the edits she made to her first comment.

Last week I accidentally discovered a blog post“Loudoun County in Virginia going Gay, Lesbian and Transgender” – published shortly after the Board of Supervisors voted to revise the county’s Human Resources Policy Handbook in 2010.

Written by Vivianne Rutkowski (pictured at left), a local Realtor affiliated with Keller Williams in Leesburg, the post made the offensive, ridiculous assumption that prohibiting discrimination against LGBT county employees would have a negative effect on the Loudoun real estate market. It also contained very ignorant and defamatory language of the sort one hears from hate groups obsessed with public restroom use. Ms. Rutkowski’s response to criticism only made things worse.

I want to immediately say that the responsiveness of Keller Williams to this situation has been outstanding. None of Ms. Rutkowski’s superiors at the agency were aware of this post, and are very grateful to us for calling it to their attention. This has been treated as a very serious matter with the potential to do real damage to their reputation and that of the real estate profession as a whole.

Regional Director Tipper Williams in particular deserves praise for the way she has responded to this, which has been both professional (this is an internal personnel matter) and very apologetic. Ms. Williams has shared with me and others who contacted her that after meeting with her on Monday, Ms. Rutkowski’s association with Keller Williams has been terminated. That notification reads in part:

I wanted to formally notify you, as promised, the steps that were taken today regarding Vivianne Rutkowski. We have officially removed her as an agent with Keller Williams Realty. She has been notified and her license sent back to the Real Estate Commission. Although she was instructed last week to remove all logos and names that affiliated her with Keller Williams Realty, she must now legally comply as she is no longer affiliated with our company.

As I stated in our phone call, this type of unprofessional and destructive behavior will not be tolerated within my company.

Some people have asked me about the Keller Williams logo and affiliation still appearing on Ms. Rutkowski’s blog, as she was reportedly told to remove them on Friday along with the post. This is her personal real estate blog, and my speculation is that someone else set it up for her and she doesn’t know how to remove items from the sidebar. Her profile is still linked from the Keller Williams Leesburg website, but that’s because those links go to a corporate site not under the Leesburg office’s control. She has already been removed from their directory of associates.

I can’t say that I’m happy about someone losing their job, especially someone who seems completely oblivious about why what she did was wrong. I don’t know whether any learning took place during that meeting. I hope so.

I am happy that the good folks at Keller Williams immediately recognized the seriousness of and acted on this offensive expression of prejudice. What it shows is that being associated with such ideas is instantly understood as bad for business, and that the action by the Board of Supervisors is aligned with mainstream business viewpoints. If that is such a no-brainer to the private sector, I have to wonder why we tolerate such fringe ideas from some of our public officials.

As a separate matter, ethics charges have been brought against Ms. Rutkowski with her local Board of Realtors (the Dulles Area Association of Realtors) pursuant to the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics. The complaint will go through a review process, then if warranted, on to a full hearing.

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183 Responses to Anti-gay, anti-trans Realtor terminated from Keller Williams

  1. Caroline says:

    It is my hope for this world that everyone will learn to love one another – that respect will always be. It is sad to see reports such as these, especially from someone who is compelled under the law to do the right thing. Think if an EMT, or a police officer, or any other person in a position of public trust used their official position to spread hate. Then think of who needs our sympathy the most in this situation.

    It must be hard to carry around so much “stuff” that you would want to spend your time trying to harm others… and involve others as accomplices, too.

  2. David says:

    Think if an EMT, or a police officer, or any other person in a position of public trust used their official position to spread hate.

    Too many people have lost their lives because someone in just such a position thought they could act on the belief that the person in front of them needing their help wasn’t really human. EMTs, doctors, law enforcement officers, school officials. People in whom we put our trust to protect and help us.

    A Realtor doesn’t have the power of life and death over anyone, but the attitude, the belief that she’s talking about an abstraction or an “agenda” rather than real human beings is exactly why people die when someone with her prejudice does have that power. Thank you for expressing this. It is why this is important.

  3. Elder Berry says:

    Buh-bye, Viv. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    Bravo to Keller Williams for acting promptly, and I only hope the NAR takes a hard look at her, too, because their pledge is very clear about the kind of discussion that is not permitted.

  4. Hello,
    I am Vivianne Rutkowski – This is my second attempt to post this reply. I posted this reply yesterday, but it was deleted by the moderator.

    I wanted to let you know that I welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue at my local Association of REALTORS and possibly on the National level. I genuinely believe there is a need to bring this issue to the light.

    Fair Housing Laws are designed to protect the constitutional rights of ALL citizens. Fair Housing Laws (and Equal Credit Opportunity Act) explicitly prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, sexual orientation, or dependency on public assistance. It means EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN.
    Most of all, Fair Housing Laws cannot negate The First Amendment Rights guaranteed by THE CONSTITUTION to EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or sexual orientation.

    For REALTORS, Fair Housing Laws mean that real estate agents cannot represent SELLERS who express desire to discriminate against anyone (= EVERY SINGLE PERSON) based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or sexual orientation, not just protected classes. EVERY SINGLE PERSON.

    Fair Housing Laws also mean that home buyers have the LEGAL RIGHT guaranteed by THE CONSTITUTION to purchase a HOME that meets their criteria, lifestyle, interests in life, beliefs without interference from the government. Indeed, the real estate CONTRACT is structured in a way that allows home buyers to purchase their DREAM HOME, whatever that DREAM HOME means to an individual home buyer, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or sexual orientation.

    This is VERY important to understand.
    As a REALTOR I have a FIDUCIARY duty to my BUYER clients with whom I have signed a Buyer-Broker Agreement. My goal is to help them purchase their DREAM HOME, whatever that DREAM HOME means to them —- regardless of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, sexual orientation.

    My FIDUCIARY duty to the SELLERS is to help them prepare home for sale and market their home in order to attract the largest possible pool of potential buyers who are ready, willing and able to purchase at the price acceptable to the seller.

    Buyers are protected here by the Fair Housing Laws because Sellers cannot discriminate – listing agents who witness discriminatory behavior are obligated to report such illegal behavior. Sellers can deny an offer from the buyer based on the price or other terms in the offer, but sellers cannot discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or sexual orientation.

    The federal laws prohibit real estate agents from giving legal advice, tax advice, crime statistics, school information, ethnic make up of the neighborhoods, etc. As REALTORS, we can only offer advice within the scope of our real estate license.

    This is why it is extremely important that home buyers understand what REALTORS can deliver as real estate professional and what they cannot deliver because they are NOT permitted by law. It means that REALTORS should provide resources so home buyers can do their own RESEARCH, whatever is required to purchase their DREAM HOME, whatever that DREAM HOME means to an individual home buyer, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or sexual orientation.

    Therefore, when REALTORS speak about Fair Housing Laws, we think about THE CONSTITUTION and THE RIGHTS guaranteed for EVERY CITIZEN. It means that every CITIZEN has the rights to make the choices that reflect their individual LIFESTYLE regardless of the race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, sexual orientation.

    Let me give you an example: If a home buyer makes the decision to move into Loudoun County BECAUSE they believe Loudoun to be a traditional, conservative county and they love the country lifestyle, it is my duty to let them know that Loudoun is NOT as *traditional* or *conservative* as they may think. I would be risking my LICENSE and a LAWSUIT if I did NOT inform them about it and that home buyer purchased a home without doing their DUE DILIGENCE. Home buyers have the right to make an INFORMED DECISION when they are purchasing their HOME, whatever their criteria are for their DREAM HOME, regardless of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, sexual orientation.

    There is NO LAW that prohibits home buyers from doing DUE DILIGENCE when purchasing a HOME – more, the LAW expects the home buyers to do their DUE DILIGENCE in the purchase of their HOME, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, sexual orientation.

    Unfortunately, your case proves how minority can literally hijack the system and even attempt to violate THE CONSTITUTION itself denying the rights for the majority. More, you prove how minority can PARALYZE WITH FEAR the entire population and seemingly intelligent people like real estate agents and brokers who should understand the true essence of Fair Housing Laws.

    YES, there is a great need to speak, write, and publicize this issue. Before it is too late.

    The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are already enjoying the full protection under the federal laws. Home Buyers, Sellers and real estate agents deserve the same and no less:
    http://viviannerutkowski.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/hud-to-extend-discrimination-protections-for-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-people-in-federally-supported-housing-programs/

  5. Because you conveniently deleted my reply yesterday – that my much for the freedom of speech and respect for The First Amendment when it does NOT fit your agenda – as a matter of disclosure, I am letting you know that I took a Screen Print for my records.

  6. Caroline says:

    Are these the facts, Vivian?

    1) You published a blog that was targeted to everyone around including, but not limited to, those considering buying a home in Loudoun County.
    2) You were not providing advice to a specific buyer but rather broadcasting information.
    3) The information provided in your blog was not broad in scope such as listing of parks, churches, community amenities, but specifically was targeted to letting everyone know that gay, lesbian and transgender people lived in the community.
    4) You stated that their presence in Loudoun County would decrease real estate values.
    5) You suggested that buyers should consider other counties because gay, lesbian and transgender people can and do live in Loudoun.
    6) You were upset with County officials for providing equal protection to gay, lesbian, and transgender people in their rules for County employees and you posted your blog in response to that decision.
    7) The blog you posted had your employer’s logo on it.
    8) You have a constitutional right to say what you wish.
    9) You have a legally duty to inform buyers that gay, lesbian, and transgender people are present in the County.
    10) By posting the blog above you were complying with that duty.

    Please correct anything above that is not factual.

  7. Caroline says:

    The smiley face that posted in my blog instead of a number 8 is a computer error and was not intended. I was trying to write an 8 followed by the symbol ) and it was converted automatically to the smiley face. Try this in the comments section and you’ll see it was not my intention to have it appear.

  8. Caroline says:

    “If a home buyer makes the decision to move into Loudoun County BECAUSE they believe Loudoun to be a traditional, conservative county and they love the country lifestyle, it is my duty to let them know that Loudoun is NOT as *traditional* or *conservative* as they may think.”

    Can you also please explain this statement further? How does treating lesbians, gays, or transgender people fairly erode the country lifestyle? How does it erode conservative values?

    Are there other areas besides sexual orientation and gender identity where Loudoun County is not as “conservative” or “traditional” as others may think? Assuming there are, why did you not list those as well?

    By clearly establishing the facts here it can help clear the air on this issue. When the community talks about issues it helps us better define who we want to be.

  9. David says:

    There was no comment here from you yesterday, Vivianne. Perhaps you are thinking of the one you left at Loudoun Progress.

  10. Jonathan says:

    Vivianne,

    Your comment was never deleted from this blog which is cross-posted at loudounprogress.org. Did you post the same comment twice, on both sites? The comment history shows a single comment from you, yesterday, and another, at 12:33 AM today.

    We welcome you comments. So long as they don’t violate the site’s commenting policy, they will be retained for perpetuity. May I ask you a question? Where did you learn what you know about LGBT people? Did you read it in a book or magazine, see something on TV, or hear something on the radio? Do you have a friend or mentor?

  11. David says:

    Caroline, I fixed the settings so your number 8 doesn’t convert to an emoticon. Sorry about that.

  12. David says:

    Ms. Rutkowski, since it looks like you posted the same comment here as you did at Loudoun Progress, I’ll give you the same response. It appears that you haven’t learned anything between yesterday and today.

    Thank you for sharing the brand new HUD non-discrimination rule, and demonstrating that until just a few days ago such protections did not exist. Congratulations also for managing to share that information on your blog without using derogatory language about LGBT people. That is a marked improvement over the post that caused you these problems.

    It’s unfortunate that after speaking with your leadership team you still don’t understand what you did wrong. This has nothing to do with Fair Housing law. This is about your improper discussion of a non-discrimination policy as negatively impacting the character of Loudoun County as a place to live, and your use of offensive and defamatory language to describe some members of the Loudoun community.

    Your example demonstrates the prejudice that is blinding you. The fact is that many of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who have moved to Loudoun County did so precisely because they have conservative values and love the country lifestyle. They want to raise their kids in a suburban or rural environment with decent public schools. That’s why I moved here.

    It seems to me that you are using the phrase “they believe Loudoun to be a traditional, conservative county and they love the country lifestyle” as code for something else, perhaps “they are prejudiced against LGBT people.” What do you think?

    Let me give you another example. Loudoun County is also very diverse in terms of its faith communities. Suppose that you were to publish a post reporting on the approval of construction plans for a Sikh temple or a Mosque, and discussing the presence of men and women in traditional Sikh or Muslim clothing in derogatory terms that confused the two and showed that you had no idea what you were talking about. Suppose further that you defiantly claimed that it was your duty to report this because people may believe that Loudoun County is nearly exclusively Christian, and that they have the RIGHT to make an INFORMED decision about the purchase of their DREAM HOME.

    You would have been terminated for that, too.

    You embarrassed your broker and your company. I think you should continue discussing this with people, because in so doing you may eventually understand. I have no interest in vengeance, and I’m not happy that you lost your job over this. I just wish there had been some growth in your understanding.

  13. David says:

    As Ms. Rutkowski makes the false accusation that her non-existent comment was deleted, I note that the comment I made at 9:53 am yesterday on her post about HUD regulations is still in moderation:

    “..and protect ALL citizens and legal residents, not only minorities.”

    That is correct, and is often reported inaccurately because members of the majority are rarely discriminated against. Non-discrimination laws and policies protect ALL people on the basis of a personal characteristic, not specific categories of people. Heterosexual people, cisgender people, caucasian people, Christians, etc, are all equally protected under the law.

  14. It all comes down to THE CONSTITUTION – yes, that piece of paper that we all like to recall at least once a year, around 4th of July.

    The decision Keller Williams made – without ever contacting me and asking me for my views of the topic – speaks volumes and only proves that Keller Williams Realty has NO BASIC understanding what Fair Housing Laws are. They should go back and attend some of the mandatory classes for REALTORS. They would learn that:

    1) FAIR HOUSING LAWS INCLUDE EVERYONE, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or sexual orientation.
    2) Fair Housing Laws do not protect minorities alone, but include ALL citizen of this great land.
    3) National Association of REALTORS included the language in its REALTOR Code of Ethics in 2009 to comply with the FEDERAL LAWS

    All of that means that now minorities cannot be discriminated against. It means that sellers CANNOT refuse to sell their home, even if the LIFESTYLE of the person they are selling their home to violates their beliefs or values – sellers can refuse to ratify a contract based on the TERMS in the OFFER.

    It means that REALTORS cannot refuse to represent a buyer or a seller based on their LIFESTYLE, even if that lifestyle violates REALTOR’s personal beliefs and values – REALTOR can refuse to represent a client based on behavior and attitude, or whenever SAFETY is an issue.

    The inclusion of LGBT people – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender – in Fair Housing Laws DOES NOT take away the rights of HOME BUYERS to purchase their HOME that reflects their LIFESTYLE …. and YES, their BELIEFS and VALUES, whatever their lifestyle, beliefs and values are.

    Unless, THE CONGRESS passes a LAW that home buyers have NO LEGAL RIGHT to purchase a HOME that reflects their individual decision and that home buyers have NO LEGAL RIGHT to do their DUE DILIGENCE ….. until then, FORTUNATELY home buyers can purchase a home that makes them HAPPY.

    Real estate is all about the HAPPINESS of the HOMEOWNERS.

    While as a real estate agents, we CANNOT give our clients CRIME, SCHOOL, NEIGHBORHOOD statistics, the least we can do is to DISCLOSE to home buyers that real estate agents are prohibited from discussing those issues and they – home buyers – need to do their own research, including knocking on the doors to meet their neighbors.

    IF you do NOT like those laws, make CONGRESS change them …… IF you believe that THE CONSTITUTION gives too many rights to certain people.

    Until then, LET FREEDOM RING!

  15. Caroline says:

    Perhaps I missed something, but it appears to me that you didn’t just tell others what you couldn’t discuss. Rather you told them because gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people live in Loudoun they would decrease existing real estate values and that buyers would be better off living in another county and you told them that on a website bearing your employers logo.

    1) For starters, I think you betrayed your employers interests by publishing something that you claim will negatively affect the sales and listings of your coworkers and your employer. You did this without your employer’s permission. You did this without their consultation. Whether your claim of reduced real estate values is factual or not, you attempt to communicate with buyers and to steer them away from the Loudoun County real estate market.

    2) You stated an opinion about decreased real estate values and the presence of LGBT people without any supporting studies and documentation. In fact, if you look at the records nationwide, real estate values in communities that are accepting of LGBT people are higher than in areas where that is not the case. Locally, as one example average prices in Arlington County far exceed those in Loudoun County.

    Regardless of whether you violated federal housing laws, which others here have suggested as the fact, you had used your position with your employer to spread inaccurate information that was intended to work against the interests of your employer. Any review of your posting would have any reasonable employer say “that thing speaks for itself.” – words in quotes are from the legal principle: Res ipsa loquitur.

    And one thing you haven’t spoken of here is your agreement with your employer. I have seen your comments about your rights and federal law, but not seen how your employer failed to keep its agreement with you. Care to share about that?

  16. >>>In fact, if you look at the records nationwide, real estate values in communities that are accepting of LGBT people are higher than in areas where that is not the case. Locally, as one example average prices in Arlington County far exceed those in Loudoun County.<<<

    @ Caroline,

    Arlington County weathered fairly well the housing crash because of its proximity to the Washington, D.C. and the high cost of gas which makes commuting from Loudoun County quite expensive and time consuming ….. NOT because Arlington is more accepting of LGBT people than other places.

    To make the statement that you did above only proves that you are either very ignorant about basic facts of life or that you are pushing your agenda by twisting facts and spreading lies. This is criminal.

  17. Caroline says:

    You accuse me of a criminal act? Twisting facts and spreading lies? Have you ever looked at real estate value in New York City? San Francisco? Portland, Oregon? Seattle? Shall I keep listing cities with the highest prices for real estate?

    I would also challenge you to provide any study that shows either that the real estate values in Arlington aren’t either boosted by their LGBT values or are somehow hurt by those values? Interesting that they keep electing people their regardless of their LGBT status. Interesting that 60% of residents over age 24 have college degrees. Perhaps they were “brainwashed” in college to think?

    Your views of what help establish real estate values is far from sophisticated. One only need look at sections of DC to know that your arguments for why real estate values are higher in Arlington are not comprehensive. Clearly mass transit; smart growth; combinations of neighborhood retail, housing, and employment; walkability; parks; recreation; schools; crime rates; arts; and other factors drive things, too. Did I forget to mention the LGBT friend is a factor for about 35% of the population? According to a recent poll by religious pollers over 80% of the population believe that transgender people should be treated fairly and equally. Look up the research. Become educated. The world is not filled with bigots.

  18. Caroline says:

    Let’s also look at Montgomery County and Howard County, MD. Real estate prices there are high. Both have non-discrimination laws covering all their residents, not just employees.

  19. Caroline, you just managed to prove my point. For that I THANK YOU.

    Based on your views on life alone, you are the LAST person I would want for my neighbor.
    And IF I were the home buyer purchasing a HOME and discovered BEFORE the settlement that you would be my neighbor, I would VOID the contract for this reason alone – even if it meant losing The Earnest Money Deposit.

    I leave it up to you to prove to me that as a Home Buyer I broke any FEDERAL LAWS or have a LEGAL obligation to purchase this house – or else I am violating your rights. All home buyers deserve no less.

    You should be GRATEFUL that we have such laws, because they give YOU the freedom to purchase a home of YOUR choice as well.

  20. David says:

    Vivianne, I’m curious – have you read the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics? I ask because you keep trying to steer the conversation back to Fair Housing law. As I explained to you earlier, this matter has nothing to do with Fair Housing law, and as far as I am aware, you have not been charged with any violations of Fair Housing law. With regard to the specific matter of the post over which you were terminated, I see no evidence that you have violated Fair Housing law, nor have I accused you of such. Of course, there may be other incidents in your career that I’m not aware of.

    It’s certainly interesting that you would void a contract if you discovered that Caroline would be your neighbor, based on her “views on life.” That’s a very broad statement. Can you elaborate a little more on what you were referring to?

    Also, can you explain what you mean by the phrase “basic facts of life”? And finally, please answer Jonathan’s question above: “Where did you learn what you know about LGBT people? Did you read it in a book or magazine, see something on TV, or hear something on the radio? Do you have a friend or mentor?”

  21. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Vivianne,

    Could you please cite the portions of the constitution that you think support your position? Which part refers at the federal level to housing? This will be the primary angle of my analysis of what appears to be clearly distorted thinking about government and the nature of fiduciary duty.

    Speaking of which, can you clarify the bounds of your fiduciary duty?

    And can you do it WITHOUT CAPS?

    I am genuinely trying to understand your thinking. It seems the core of it is a belief that constitutional rights of the majority are being infringed. What rights in the constitution are you referencing?Liberal Anthropologist

  22. “have you read the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics?”
    @ David,

    YES, I know the REALTORS Code of Ethics like a palm of my hand – and live by it.

  23. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Vivianne,

    I also find reference to Caroline’s “views on life” interesting. I don’t know Caroline, but in this thread I’m not sure I saw many views on life. I saw arguments of fact.

    Which views on life would you not want to live next to? Would – say a Mormon’s views on life be unacceptable to you to live next to? Does the lifestyle of a record producer offend you and you would not want to live near “those people” – I mean record producers.

    What is the list of types of people you would not want to live next to? I truly want to understand your thinking. I don’t want to unfairly represent you.

    Take off your real estate hat for a minute and tell us more about yourself. What religion are you? What values do you have? What do you think makes a good community for YOUR DREAM HOME? Not what is right or wrong for others. What is right for YOU? Maybe explaining that will help us get your perspective.

    Thanks for taking the time to engage in dialog.

    PS: If you didn’t catch it on the other site, I am a “conservative”. I am even pro-life. So I think I like traditional conservative communities. I am trying to see why you don’t agree with the majority of conservatives who don’t care at all what sexual orientation someone is for any reason at all any more than I care what race anyone is.

    Do traditional conservative communities have certain racial characteristics too?

  24. David says:

    “YES, I know the REALTORS Code of Ethics like a palm of my hand – and live by it.”

    Ok, great. Now, can you explain where you heard some of the language you’ve used in reference to LGBT people? For instance, what is the source of your statement “Legally, it [the Loudoun non-discrimination policy] means that men who like to dress as women can be found in the ladies’ public restrooms and transgender women can be found in men’s public restrooms.”? You’ve previously claimed that you were only “informing” prospective clients of content found in a Loudoun Times-Mirror article, but that offensive statement did not appear in the Loudoun Times-Mirror – you can be sure they would have heard from me if it had. Where did you see it?

    Again, what is the source of your ideas about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people? You seem to use quite a few words that many Americans would recognize as euphemisms and meaningless buzzwords – things like “lifestyle,” and “agenda,” not to mention such terms as “conservative,” “traditional,” and “love the country lifestyle,” used as if these attributes are self-evidently associated with straight people who dislike LGBT people. Where did you get this idea, if you don’t mind my asking?

    There are some characteristics of your writing that lead me to suspect that English is not your first language. I could be wrong, but if that is the case you need to know that you are expressing yourself in a very offensive manner, and the ideas you are expressing are way outside the mainstream of thought in this country – and certainly in this community. It may not be entirely deliberate on your part, is what I’m trying to say. It would help a lot if you didn’t come across as so defiant and combative. You just lost your job because you insulted a significant part of the community you were doing business in. Maybe you should be a little more contrite.

  25. @Liberal Anthropologist,

    Finally, it is official: you do not comprehend Fair Housing Laws at all, do you?
    Makes one wonder why???

    The purpose of Fair Housing Laws is NOT to promote *conservative* *traditional* *liberal* or *gay* rights.
    The purpose of Fair Housing Laws is protect EVERY CITIZEN’s RIGHT to fair housing, regardless if they are *conservative* *traditional* *liberal* or *gay*.

    FORTUNATELY, it includes my right to refuse to purchase a house IF I do NOT like my future neighbors – please, do NOT play the *black* card with me because if I were African American I would consider it insulting. I represented African American clients and provided a top notch service.

    I leave it up to you to prove to me that as a Home Buyer I violated any FEDERAL LAWS by refusing to purchase a house because I did NOT like you as my future neighbor or that I violated any of your legal rights.

    You call it violating Fair Housing Laws and I call it Freedom Of Choice.

  26. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    David,

    I actually had the same thought because of her language patterns (and lack of understanding of how insulting she is being). Perhaps she is an immigrant and isn’t up on the cultural norms and nuances in language?

    I am finding it very difficult to pierce through her logic in an honest and fair attempt to understand. Clearly she is focused on this point:

    Nothing in the law prevents a buyer from discriminating.

    And that is true. And as far as I know, nobody has told her differently. We have told her her language is offensive. She has embarrassed herself and her employer. She is not mainstream. She has expressed opinions harmful to her employer and downright bigoted.

    But nobody accused her of breaking a law and yet she keeps going back to that.

  27. David says:

    You know, Vivianne, people are trying really hard to engage you in dialogue, in spite of the fact that, both here and at Loudoun Progress, you are using some pretty obnoxious and belittling language toward them. You have been asked some good questions, but instead of answering those questions, reflecting on why they were asked, and trying to understand why what you did was sufficiently offensive to make your employer terminate you, you just keep repeating the same phrases about Fair Housing law – which, as stated many times, is not relevant to your actions.

    If you are not interested in an exchange of ideas that helps other people understand your thought process and beliefs, and helps you to understand theirs, why are you commenting? What do you hope to accomplish?

  28. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Vivianne,

    Maybe we should handle this in bite sized chunks. I am researching and preparing a post on all of this and understanding your thinking is important as I want to be fair to you.

    One of your claims is:

    “IF you do NOT like those laws, make CONGRESS change them …… IF you believe that THE CONSTITUTION gives too many rights to certain people. ”

    What rights are you referring to that the constitution gives? Can you please reference what part of the document you are talking about? It is not clear.

    And as a side note, you fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the constitution in that statement. The constitution does not confer rights to people. Our rights are endowed by our creator.

    The constitution describes the scope and general operation of the federal government. It lists enumerated powers that have been granted it by the people. It specifically limits government scope in certain areas (like speech) even if the power was enumerated.

    So I would ask you to think about that. The constitution confers no rights at all on any people. When people say “I have a constitutional right to” X, they are actually getting it backwards. The right phrase would be that nothing in the constitution allows government to limit me in X. The right was already yours.

    If you are new to the United States, I can refer you to some wonderful reading materials on the constitution, liberty, and freedom in US History.

  29. “The right phrase would be that nothing in the constitution allows government to limit me in X. The right was already yours.”
    @Liberal Anthropologist,

    Then what is your problem?
    I hope you know that you are throwing accusations around and contradicting them at the same time BECAUSE you have NO POINT.

    I rest my case.

  30. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Ummmmm…. Hmmmmm…. I guess she rested her case? What was that case exactly?

    I guess I am done trying to understand her since she refuses to answer anyone’s questions or write coherently. I will put up my post soon and address her constitutional points. Whether she answers those questions is up to her.

    Maybe somebody else can make sense of what she is saying…. It is literally incomprehensible to me.

  31. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Frankly, I feel sorry for her. Either she is not a native speaker and is culturally unaware of cultural norms in the US, or she is pretty unintelligent. She posted her twisted, bigoted thinking and lost her job. That thinking was probably taught to her by someone and she seems not smart enough to be able to discern what drivel she was being given by that person. I have no idea how successful she is in real estate, but if this is her personality and intelligence level, then I would suspect, not very.

    This is why we have to go back to the leadership who inspire this thinking. They are usually far more intelligent and know what they are doing. I am truly beginning to think that Vivianne is simply clueless and doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand any of this.

    Vivianne,

    Check out http://www.tooconservative.com over the next week or so. I will provide you an education in the constitution, facts/statistics, and an analysis of your thinking (if that is possible).

    And I recommend you find another career.

  32. “And I recommend you find another career.”
    @Liberal Anthropologist,

    WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TO CHOSE A CAREER FOR ME???

    I love working with people as a REALTOR and take great pride in my profession.
    It never fails to amaze me how some of those political hypocrites pretend to *defend* the rights of one group of people and at the same time take away the rights from other people.

  33. Code of Ethics says:

    I don’t think Viviane will be able to keep using the term Realtor if she keeps this up. Realtors have a code of ethics to follow. That’s better than what our local government has, with that weird homophobe Eugene Delgaudio.

  34. The REALTOR Code of Ethics is about the FIDUCIARY DUTY to our clients, among other things – from what I have seen thus far, you are preventing real estate agents from doing their job and being truthful to their clients in the name of political correctness.

  35. Joy says:

    From the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics:

    REALTORS® shall not print, display or circulate any statement or advertisement with respect to selling or renting of a property that indicates any preference, limitations or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation. (Adopted 1/94, Renumbered 1/05 and 1/06, Amended 1/11)


    You violated the code of ethics and you continue to do so.

  36. liberal anthropologist says:

    Joy,

    Since you have looked at the document, what does it say about fiduciary duties to the buyer?

    If the buyers DREAM HOME was to live at least 10 miles away from any black people, would the agent be bound to reveal a black family they know of 1 mile away? Are they bound to keep such a bigoted client or can they drop them? Is there an obligation to interpret the client’s words such as traditional? Is any of this fiduciary?

    I am trying to find any evidence for her POV. Is there any suppor for it in her doc?

  37. liberal anthropologist says:

    BTW, you found the part she clearly violated with her post.

    I am now talking about her actions day to day as a realtor.

  38. @Vivianne,

    It’s not about political correctness. It’s about simple manners and politeness. You were very inconsiderate and insulting to the LGBT citizens of Loudoun County. They are not a threat to anyone’s family values, anyone’s children, or anyone’s home prices, and to suggest otherwise is patent nonsense.

    You behaved in an unprofessional manner, yet you either don’t understand or don’t want to admit what you did was wrong.

  39. “REALTORS® shall not print, display or circulate any statement or advertisement with respect to selling or renting of a property that indicates any preference, limitations or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation. (Adopted 1/94, Renumbered 1/05 and 1/06, Amended 1/11)”
    @ Joy,

    This statement prohibits discriminatory language used by listing agents advertising For Sale or Rental properties.

    When did you ever witness me using a discriminatory language in real estate advertising??? If I took you to the court right now for defamation thru libel and slander, do you think your accusations would hold the ground???

  40. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Vivianne,

    Again. Specifically it does not simply limit it to ads. It specifically says “any statement”. That would include blog posts.

    But that isn’t even the most relevant part of the code. I took the time to look through it and the REALTOR web site. You are specifically not supposed to comment on any matter “not material” which specifically includes all information about protected classes. You are further not supposed to engage in any opinions outside of your area of expertise (making the deal).

    You are the classic case that the realtor site warns against for “steering”. See this link and watch this video:

    http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2010/04/14/too-bad-that-extra-help-amounts-to-steering/

    You are going to be sanctioned.

    Also, not that throwing around threats of libel and slander won’t get you far. Anyone who blogs regularly is likely very familiar with what that means and in any case is likely insured against it.

    Nobody has said anything to be facts that you even deny. We are arguing opinions over the meanings of things and whether they apply to you. If you see something posted that is presented as fact (and not opinion) and it is false, call it out.

  41. @Vivianne,

    Where did you learn what you know about LGBT people? Did you read it in a book or magazine, see something on TV, or hear something on the radio? Do you have a friend or mentor?

  42. Arbie says:

    Liberal Anthropologist, I think you just hit the nail on the head. Well done homing in on a very relevant portion of the code, and finding a very good video resource on the subject. I would normally say that that should make everything clear for Vivianne, but then again, I just read through all of these comments and my astonishment hasn’t worn off yet. 🙁

  43. >>>You are specifically not supposed to comment on any matter “not material” which specifically includes all information about protected classes. You are further not supposed to engage in any opinions outside of your area of expertise (making the deal).<<<

    @ Liberal Anthropologist,

    ???????????????????????????
    ?????????????????????????????????????
    ?????????????????????????????????????????????????
    I see where you are going with that. So now you want to make all real estate agents dumb and deaf, literally! Dumb and deaf closing machines. The more settlements the better.
    I admit, it is very clever on your part ….. but not clever enough.

    You forgot a *little* thing called AGENCY – very important in real estate.
    Try the word FIDUCIARY – it also can be helpful in understanding real estate.

    Imagine that I am holding an Open House and a home buyer comes in. Not just any buyer, a first-time home buyer. They want to move from Montgomery County in Maryland to Loudoun County in Virginia because someone told them Loudoun is the *nice* place to raise their family. We click – the buyer and his entire family corporation believe that I am honest, open, diligent, thorough, straight talker and they can trust me with the biggest investment of their life: home purchase.

    Imagine further they are deeply religious – not fanatics – just religious, attending church every Sunday. They believe in the old values, whatever those old values mean to them.
    They want to purchase a home on a nice cul-de-sack in a family friendly neighborhood where their children can play safely and with good schools in the district and not too far from their church they plan to attend once they move in to Loudoun – I mentioned already they go to the church every Sunday.
    Imagine that!
    As far as I am concerned they did not break any FEDERAL LAWS by their request, so there is no need for me to refuse to work with them or to report anything to anyone – like in Stalinist Russia.

    My job as their agent is help them find a HOME that makes them HAPPY and reflects their LIFESTYLE. There is never too little emphasis on the words HOME and HAPPY.

    But wait. Unless I disclose to them – best in WRITING so I have the proof that I did disclose – that I am prohibited by the federal government to give them any legal and tax advice, or any crime, school, neighborhood statistics, or the cultural make up of the neighborhood and THEY have to do the research on their own, UNLESS I do that …. I can find myself in the courtroom one month after the closing because my now VERY unhappy homeowner discovered there are two gay men living next door on the same cul-de-sack raising their adopted daughter – and my client would have NEVER purchased that house if they knew that. It does NOT matter the two gay men could have moved into the neighborhood after my home buyer moved in.

    In the court before the judge I as their agent would be the guilty party because I failed as a professional by not providing the guidance and I did not enabled them to make an INFORMED decision – this home buyer moved in from Maryland to Loudoun because they were told Loudoun is a nice place to raise a family; they could have stayed in Maryland and save on the moving expenses.

    The same would apply if a home buyer who is a new age hippy spiking and painting his/her hair pink, blue, purple and green colors was looking to purchase a home where he/she could play loud rock music with his/her band at all hours of the day or night and the neighbors objected or some HOA limitations applied.

    ….. and you are suggesting that real estate agents should NOT discuss *protected classes* -ok, hippy with the colored hair is not a protected class, perhaps it should be – or anything that is *not material* to the home purchase — this information is MATERIAL to the home buyer because it can influence their decision to purchase or not to purchase……

    Unless you can prove that real estate agent specifically instructed a client to move to some neighborhood or instructed a client to stay away from a certain neighborhood because of race, sexual orientation, etc you have NO steering case…… you cannot prohibit agents from having frank discussions with their clients……

    You are an ACTIVIST who plays politics with the real estate process and attempts to hijack real estate industry.

    SADLY, most brokers do not have the PERSONAL relationship with the clients the way AGENTS do and too many brokers care only about the closings – as long as brokers manage to stay out of the court they are happy to close as many clients as possible.

    This is NOT necessarily the way most AGENTS view clients on whom they rely for referral business – creating HAPPY clients is MORE important than closing sales to majority of agents. It is more important to me – check my Zillow reviews.

    Dumb and deaf real estate agents. New concept, indeed.
    Too bad the AGENCY Agreement does not permit playing ignorance. Shame on BROKERS who do NOT understand their FIDUCIARY duty to their own clients.

  44. A.E. Gnat says:

    “cul-de-sac.”

    Not “cul-de-sack.”

  45. Arbie says:

    Ms. Rutkowski:

    I would highly, highly, highly recommend that you stop writing now. But it may be too late for you to ever be employed again as a realtor. You might want to obtain legal counsel ASAP–and they will almost certainly tell you just what I am telling you now: stop writing, if you at all value the prospect of continuing your career as a realtor. You can address your concerns about realtors’ rights to the appropriate realtor authority, because your beef appears to be with them, not with us.

  46. David says:

    This does make for some fascinating reading. Vivianne, you say you are required to disclose to a prospect that you are “prohibited by the federal government to give them any legal and tax advice, or any crime, school, neighborhood statistics, or the cultural make up of the neighborhood.” Ok, I don’t think there’s any issue with that.

    But then you go on to describe a scenario in which someone is unhappy when a gay couple moves in next door, which as far as I can see is not something you could possibly predict, let alone do anything about. Can you explain how you could end up “in the court” under such a circumstance? Are you saying that if you failed to disclose (via your blog or otherwise) to all potential clients in Loudoun County that the local government doesn’t discriminate against LGBT people in employment, a client could then hold you legally accountable for the fact that a gay couple moved in to their neighborhood and that makes them unhappy? Is that an accurate statement of your viewpoint? I’m just trying to understand your logic here.

  47. David says:

    Specifically, Vivianne, can you point us to the section in federal law, the Code of Virginia, or the NAR Code of Ethics if that is applicable, under which you could be held legally accountable by a client who is unhappy to find that they have a gay neighbor?

  48. Amanda Huggenkiss says:

    @Vivianne,

    Why do you believe the presence of LGBT people in Loudoun automatically means Loudoun is no longer “a nice place to raise a family”?

    Why is it something you feel the need to warn people about? Do you only help deeply religious families find homes and no one else?

    Why do you think hard-working LGBT citizens are people who need to be avoided?

    They want to purchase a home on a nice cul-de-sack [sic] in a family friendly neighborhood where their children can play safely and with good schools in the district and not too far from their church they plan to attend once they move in to Loudoun – I mentioned already they go to the church every Sunday

    I do not understand your logic of how having gay neighbors makes a neighborhood unsafe for children, makes schools worse, or prevents anyone from attending church on Sunday. Please explain this.

  49. David says:

    And what if the “two gay men living next door on the same cul-de-sack raising their adopted daughter” are also deeply religious and “go to the church every Sunday”?

    Imagine that!

  50. Arbie says:

    I should clarify that I am still interested in hearing answers to David’s and Amanda’s recurring-but-avoided questions, because they are at the heart of the matter (i.e., why people are upset at what Vivianne has written). It just seems that with every new comment, she provides additional evidence against her own case. I probably jumped the gun in my last comment, so I offer my apologies–I am not trying to shut down dialogue. I think I’m a bit disoriented by the idiosyncracies of this situation. It seems like the conversation we’re having now should ideally be occurring between Vivianne and the appropriate Realtor association/agency/authority, perhaps with the assistance of LGBT representatives who can provide input as to why the things she has written are not appropriate.

  51. >>>I do not understand your logic of how having gay neighbors makes a neighborhood unsafe for children, makes schools worse, or prevents anyone from attending church on Sunday. Please explain this.<<<

    @ Amanda Huggenkiss,

    Back to 3rd grade elementary READING skills……

    Where did you see me write that gay neighbors make neighborhoods un-safe for children, or where did you see me write that gay neighbors prevent anyone from attending church on Sunday???

    This is NOT what I wrote at all!!!
    I wrote that every Home Buyer has the LEGAL RIGHT to make their own decision in order to purchase their HOME that reflects their LIFESTYLE, BELIEF SYSTEM, and MORAL VALUES, whatever that lifestyle, belief system, and moral values are.

    I also wrote that real estate agents have FIDUCIARY duty to their clients that comes from the AGENCY Agreement and that agents must be free enough to discuss ALL issues related to the real estate transaction without being suffocated by the political correctness and without being reduced to *dumb and deaf* closing robots/machines.

  52. David says:

    This is what you wrote:

    UNLESS I do that …. I can find myself in the courtroom one month after the closing because my now VERY unhappy homeowner discovered there are two gay men living next door on the same cul-de-sack raising their adopted daughter – and my client would have NEVER purchased that house if they knew that. It does NOT matter the two gay men could have moved into the neighborhood after my home buyer moved in.

    In the court before the judge I as their agent would be the guilty party because I failed as a professional by not providing the guidance and I did not enabled them to make an INFORMED decision – this home buyer moved in from Maryland to Loudoun because they were told Loudoun is a nice place to raise a family; they could have stayed in Maryland and save on the moving expenses.

    Where do you get ideas such as: A homebuyer who attends church every Sunday and wants to live in a cul-de-sac where his or her children “can play safely” would be unhappy to have a gay couple also with children as neighbors? That is what people are asking you.

  53. Celeste says:

    I would like to know where you can go, especially around here, where there aren’t any gay people. Some may still be closeted, but there are gay people everywhere. I live in the country, w/ my wife, in a conservative corner of Loudoun, and we have lots of friends, belong to local organizations, have been invited to come to the local conservative churches, and people are happy that we are here, even the conservative ones. Its amazing when you live openly, and people meet YOU and not the concept of you, they actually find that they like you.

  54. David says:

    Exactly, Celeste. That is why we actually have a tag on this blog called “reality-based world.”

    “[T]hey were told Loudoun is a nice place to raise a family” – what do you mean by this coded language, Vivianne? Think beyond what seems obvious to you. What is it you are trying to convey without saying it directly?

  55. Arbie says:

    No offense, but “3rd grade Elementary skills” also includes the ability to capitalize properly when writing. You only capitalize the first letter of each sentence and proper nouns. If used to emphasize entire words, it should be a rare occurrence, and *never* when writing in a professional capacity.

  56. A.E. Gnat says:

    This is like shooting fish in a barrel.

    There is a possibility that *anywhere* in the entire United States that two gay men could move in next door. Or across the street. Or diagonally across from one’s house in the cul-de-sack [sick, um, I mean sic]. In counties both with and without inclusive EEO. The lawyers are certainly licking their collective chops at the avalanche of lawsuits which is certain to come. Lawsuits against Realtors who failed to properly notify their clients that someone not like them might move in and render the neighborhood worthy of no more than an NC-17 rating.

    Seriously, Vivianne. If you ever got taken to Court for the reasons you describe above, no worries. The judge would throw the lawsuit out, probably with a laugh. Heck… I am a transsexual woman who recently went through a trial in Loudoun County. My ex-spouse decided I wasn’t a fit parent. Guess what. She lost. The person suing you would as well. I know a great attorney if you need a referral.

  57. Celeste says:

    Personnally, I think that a nice place to raise a family is a community that has liberals, conservatives (but not the nut jobs), gays, transgendered, hispanic (all regions), african-american, asian, european (both east and west), oh yeah, and white and straight people too ;-), brainiacs and craftspersons. I want them all.

    Would Vivian help me find that house?

  58. David says:

    Ok, let’s try an exercise. I’m going to make some careful substitutions, and I would like for you, Vivianne, to tell us if you would see this hypothetical situation differently in any significant way.

    Imagine that I am holding an Open House and a home buyer comes in. Not just any buyer, a first-time home buyer. They want to move from Montgomery County in Maryland to Loudoun County in Virginia because someone told them Loudoun is the *nice* place to retire. We click – the buyer and his entire family corporation believe that I am honest, open, diligent, thorough, straight talker and they can trust me with the biggest investment of their life: home purchase.

    Imagine further they have shared with me that one of their children was working in the Pentagon on 9/11, and perished that day.
    They want to purchase a home on a nice cul-de-sack in a family friendly neighborhood where their other children can visit, where the grandchildren can play safely, and not too far from their church they plan to attend once they move in to Loudoun – I mentioned already they go to the church every Sunday.
    Imagine that!
    As far as I am concerned they did not break any FEDERAL LAWS by their request, so there is no need for me to refuse to work with them or to report anything to anyone – like in Stalinist Russia.

    My job as their agent is help them find a HOME that makes them HAPPY and reflects their LIFESTYLE. There is never too little emphasis on the words HOME and HAPPY.

    But wait. Unless I disclose to them – best in WRITING so I have the proof that I did disclose – that I am prohibited by the federal government to give them any legal and tax advice, or any crime, school, neighborhood statistics, or the cultural make up of the neighborhood and THEY have to do the research on their own, UNLESS I do that …. I can find myself in the courtroom one month after the closing because my now VERY unhappy homeowner discovered there is a Muslim family living next door on the same cul-de-sack raising their children – and my client would have NEVER purchased that house if they knew that. It does NOT matter the Muslim family could have moved into the neighborhood after my home buyer moved in.

    In the court before the judge I as their agent would be the guilty party because I failed as a professional by not providing the guidance and I did not enabled them to make an INFORMED decision – this home buyer moved in from Maryland to Loudoun because they were told Loudoun is a nice place to retire; they could have stayed in Maryland and save on the moving expenses.

  59. >>>Would Vivian (Vivianne) help me find that house?<<<
    @ Celeste,

    NO.
    As a REALTOR, I would be violating Fair Housing Laws and REALTOR Code of Ethics if I did.
    However, as a Home Buyer you have the LEGAL right to research neighborhoods and then let me know what area you are interested in. To do the research you could use some of the resources on my web site. Fair enough?

  60. Incredulous says:

    I guess according to Vivianne any responsible realtor would need to ask questions like this:

    Do you have a problem with homosexuals so I can keep an eye out for them while searching for a house for you?

    Do you not like black people? Because I would hate for you to buy a house and find out there are blacks living nearby!

    What is this community’s stance towards immigrants? If there are Hispanics in this neighborhood I will sue your socks off!

  61. Pingback: Vivianne: Sadly, no |

  62. David says:

    Amanda, what the heck is that thing? It looks like a Pop-tart with a cat’s head.

  63. A.E. Gnat says:

    OMG.

    I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard as I did when I went to the link that David posted in his last comment. I don’t know Amanda, but if you’re responsible for that, thank you. So funny.

  64. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Vivianne,

    “You are an ACTIVIST who plays politics with the real estate process and attempts to hijack real estate industry.”

    Let’s review your third grade reading skills. I am straight, married, with multiple kids I enjoyed making. In no way a LGBT whatever activist. I am a conservative Republican.

    I am concerned about you as a conservative activist. Every time one of you people pops up and uses the word conservative or traditional to describe your views, you HURT MY CAUSE, which is to reduce the role of government. You give the ACTIVISTS the excuse to create more regulations and INCREASE THE ROLL OF GOVERNMENT. (I’ll stop with the CAPS… couldn’t resist).

    I think you will be surprised when you see my post. I am against the government telling you what to do, although that is current law and you should follow it. I think you are an idiot in today’s world if you act out against protected classes, but I am against the whole concept of protected classes.

    You are not getting it. I am a conservative who wants to keep government out of all of this. On the other hand, I am telling you off as a conservative who is not a bigot like you apparently are and doesn’t give a darn about what sexual stuff people do. My post is getting unwieldy, and I am trying to decide where to focus, but if someone like you wants to discriminate against gays, then you are only hurting yourself.

    It is too complicated to explain in here right now, but I do not agree with all of the federal protections – even race or religion. But only because I think they slow the eventual demise of bigotry based on those things. I think if we let the bigots be bigots, they will be left out in the cold. Essentially they create a smaller market for themselves and self select themselves for failure. You have to think about this concept carefully. The government is giving bigots the tools to be more successful by keeping them from shrinking there market. While the demise of bigotry is inevitable, as usual, laws like Title VII are doing more harm than good.

    I am criticizing you because nobody who considers themselves a conservative should think like you. What is a conservative, traditional value is to mind your own business. Who cares who lives where or what they do with each other. It is none of your business. That is traditional. A conservative should not care about anything related to another’s sexual habits.

    I will stand up against bigots wherever they show up. Not by asking the government to do more. But by shaming you directly.

    And the things you write are not about being PC. They are impolite to say the least. They are unprofessional in the extreme. And they are factually unsupportable. Gays have zero impact on real estate markets. positive or negative. You can’t make anything a fact about gays and housing except “gays live in houses”. Good luck showing any other correlation.

    I have an important question for you:

    Have you ever been personally in a situation where a client asked not to live near gay people or similar request? If so, how did you handle it?

    Perhaps you can educate us on how you – as a professional real estate agent – have handled real world situations like this. You should leave the names out of course. Just describe for us the scenario. What did you do?

  65. Elder Berry says:

    Vivianne, the issue we are trying to educate you about concerns your professional behavior as a Realtor(tm). You have not read the Realtor’s pledge carefully enough. You are not substituting the other protected classes into your example, as David tried to do for you, to understand that the reason for this prohibition (against discussions such as the one you would like to have) comes from relatively recent history in this country.

    Let me give you another example. Real estate agents used to helpfully disclose to prospective buyers that a black family had just bought into a white neighborhood. Or they would helpfully disclose this fact to other homeowners on the street or around the corner. This often led to the phenomenon called “white flight”. This was bad for the community and the nation and the real estate market and for everyone overall, Vivianne. Even if it did give some real estate agents a lot of commissions in a hurry.

    Yes, you are correct, an individual buyer is free to make choices based on research. Agreed that any individual buyer may decide to buy or not to buy a home for various reasons. The part you have wrong is that you are not the buyer, you are (or maybe that will be “were”) a Realtor. You can’t enable your buyer’s discriminatory behavior through your own. That’s what David and Keller Williams are trying to tell you.

    Got it yet?

  66. @David,

    That’s Nyan Cat, spreading rainbows and pink PopTart happiness and good cheer wherever it travels on the intertubes. I think it improves Vivianne’s webpage greatly.

    I mean, hey, who doesn’t like rainbows? -:)

  67. PS: Best not to listen to the MUSIC for too long. It WILL get stuck in your HEAD. And that would be TERRIBLE. -:)

  68. http://www.realtorviviannerutkowski.com/

    My webpage works just fine – I’m glad you are having fun.
    Be careful not to have too much fun at someone else’s expense because it may come back to hunt you in the ways you do not expect.

  69. @Vivianne,

    I’m glad you’re glad I’m having fun, but I really wish you’d explain why you believe the presence of LGBT people in Loudoun automatically means Loudoun is no longer “a nice place to raise a family”? Your arguments make no sense.

  70. >>>I am a conservative Republican. I am concerned about you as a conservative activist. Every time one of you people pops up and uses the word conservative or traditional to describe your views, you HURT MY CAUSE, which is to reduce the role of government. <<<

    @ Liberal Anthropologist,

    1) I find it somewhat interesting that you consider yourself *conservative republican* but you sign yourself Liberal Anthropologist – although, I respect your right to choose any alias for yourself as you wish.

    2) I am NOT an *activist* – you know nothing about me or my political affiliations. Please do not attempt to label me.

    3) YOUR personal agenda to reduce the role of the government does NOT have to be MY agenda – I am more concerned with RESPONSIBLE government than limited government.

    4) When I work with home sellers or home buyers, I wear only a REALTOR hat on, not an *activist* hat. My only goal is make my clients HAPPY and to see a smile on their faces on the settlement day and many years after.

  71. The Most Dangerous Real Estate Game? says:

    hunt you in the ways you do not expect

    hunt you in the ways you do not expect

    @Vivianne,

    I know you’re upset at getting fired and all, but wanting to hunt LGBT folks makes you look creepy.

    Just sayin’.

  72. The Most Dangerous Real Estate Game? says:

    “After many not very nice discussions on the topic, all I remember is that I was asked for links to prove my point, but when I went back to post the link, the thread was closed and I could not defend myself. I hope you understand the need for gun.” —Vivianne Rutkowski, in this thread.

    Seriously? Do you really need a gun to prove whatever point you’re trying to make on the internet, Vivianne?

  73. The Most Dangerous Real Estate Game? says:

    Granted, I don’t know what the locked thread on Zillow was about… but it makes one wonder: What state of mind must someone be in when—if they can’t respond on an internet discussion board—they decide the appropriate response is they NEED A GUN?

    To me, it sounds like they’re one row short of a full tray of Oreos.

    “What are the current turntimes for restraining orders?” —Clay Branch

  74. David says:

    Browsing her comments on Zillow makes it abundantly clear that 1) The way she talks to people here is the way she talks to people everywhere if they happen to disagree with or correct her; and 2) She is quite unpopular with other users of Zillow.

  75. >>>She is quite unpopular with other users of Zillow.<<<
    @David,

    Really?
    If you go to Advice section on Zillow to Q&A for Virginia, I am the ONLY real estate agent featured with top answers – Zillow is not known to give professionals free ride without them earning it.

    http://www.zillow.com/advice/VA/all/question-discussion-guide/

  76. Arbie says:

    Just came across this prescient gem: http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/81-of-America-thinks-their-house-will-not-lose-value-in-the-next-6-months/270396?p=3

    (Sorry, I’m forgetting my HTML)

    “In all seriousness viv, back it off. Your inflamatory remarks have the potential to harm yourself and the credibility of the profession. When you make statements, back them with data – or don’t make them. Quit accusing people on here of sexism, slander, libel and the like or it is totally possible to find yourself without a license and potentially with some damages to deal with. In my opinion, your responses to people either correcting your false statements or disagreeing with your opinions are disproportionate and totally inappropriate for this forum. Zillow is a place for buyers, sellers and self-proclaimed real estate nerds (or anyone else) to find information and gain insight. Provide good, accurate, verifyable information or don’t bother.”

  77. >>>hunt you in the ways you do not expect<<>>your past will come back to haunt you?<<<

    Who was talking about guns? Although I am all for gun ownership and own several guns myself. All legal and registered.

    I see that it is time for some to schedule a visit with a nice friendly family psychiatrist…. perhaps a double dose of Cymbalta could help.

  78. >>>hunt you in the ways you do not expect<>your past will come back to haunt you?<<<

    Who was talking about guns? Although I am all for gun ownership and own several guns myself. All legal and registered.

    I see that it is time for some to schedule a visit with a nice friendly family psychiatrist…. perhaps a double dose of Cymbalta could help.

  79. The last two posts were for The Most Dangerous Real Estate Game, but somehow the @ did not go through ….. Probably a computer glitch or a setting….

  80. Since I see that you are checking everything , I also answer Questions on Trulia.com and currently have VIP1 Status:

    http://www.trulia.com/profile/VivianneRutkowski/

  81. A.E. Gnat says:

    Your resume on Trulia is incorrect. It says

    “REALTOR for KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY July 2006—present”

    You also have links to your WordPress blog on it, which is private. Might want to remove those links.

  82. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Vivianne,

    Perhaps you need some advice. It doesn’t make sense to draw our attention to these sites, because while I won’t, I imagine that somebody on here – rightly – will draw those sites attention to your blog post and this thread as well as your termination and violations of the ethics code. You might find yourself less featured.

    Can you answer some of the many questions posed of you that you have ignored? For example, my question on whether you have faced a real world client that had concerns about homosexuals and how you handled it as a real estate professional. Perhaps we misunderstand you and a concrete, real world example would help us understand your thinking/process…

    And by the way, you can see why I chose that moniker at this coming out thread – http://www.tooconservative.com/?p=10140 – a site where you will soon also be featured with your thoughts on real estate. If I hadn’t been traveling this week, you already would have.

    PS: to others – I like my self awareness to know who I would drive crazy over what in that post:

    “I say heretical, because I am sure at least some of my conservative friends will not appreciate my views on gay marriage and drug laws. My liberal friends will certainly shake their heads at my staunch pro-life stance. I am sure to both agree with and annoy everyone on here not a Classical Liberal (Libertarian).”

  83. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Vivianne,

    Somewhere back at the beginning of this you complained that Keller Williams did not ask you your opinion on these things before terminating you. What would you have said to them if they had asked? I know you took down your original post on your blog, why did you do that? Was there something wrong with it? Something you regretted writing?

  84. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Vivianne,

    Since I am not a real estate professional and could be wrong about what is right for a Realtor to do, I have asked for feedback from professionals. Perhaps you are right. Let’s see if your colleagues defend you.

    http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/Bigoted-Steering-Vivianne-Rutkowski-REALTOR-Terminated-from-Keller-Williams/430901/

  85. A.E. Gnat says:

    “>>>She is quite unpopular with other users of Zillow.<<<
    @David,

    Really?"

    Yes, really.

    From this thread…

    “Vivian, Your lack of understanding is remarkable!”

    Is that simple enough language for you, Viv?  Can you understand it?Folks, if you are not familiar with her yet, go back to some of past threads.  This is just another attempt for Viv to get under the skins of lenders.  She only does this because she has a passion to argue. I don’t think she knows the meaning of providing meaningful information.“Coo coo for cocoa puffs”…GVD, you SO nailed it.JunkMore junkAnd now she is spamming the 125% refi all over Zillow:HereAnd here

    From this thread…

    “Great words, Doug…unfortunately, reading and comprehension is not a strong suit, as she feels obsessed to continue on this rampage. Why she wouldn’t post some worthwhile info on real estate is beyond me and SOOOO many others in the Z community.”

    From this thread…

    “”stay on topic everyone” – whatever, you aren’t the boss of anyone on here viv.
    “you just demonstrated the benefits and risks of… freedom of expression.”
    Nope, what I demonstrated was the inane value of your post. ”

    “viv, your rudeness is exceeded only by your silliness. I point out the weak logic of your post, you run off how my expression is one of the bad results of freedom of speech. Ntets points out that you offer emotional reasons to back what is after all, an investment, and you call him unethical, and distorting your position.

    You constantly admonish everyone to “stay on topic” which apparently is not to point out the logical inconsistencies in your various weak stances.”

    From this thread…

    “Vivianne, you should seriously be quiet at times. (at times means all the time)”
    “Vivianne, wrong info and off topic once again.”
    “Red suit, I flagged you for being snotty and non responsive to the topic. If people flagged all your snotty, non responsive answers your contributions would be down to 3.”
    “Vivianne, you never cease to amaze…… You try to accuse everyone of being arrogant, but you are coming accross as being the arrogant one… and very ignorant, I might add.”

    From this thread…

    “You’ve been told not to spam here about 100 time Viv, what’s your problem?”
    “And yet you continue to promote your site directly through the threads of the discussion boards. What part of the Good Neighbor Policy do you not understand?”
    “congratulations, vivanne capone”

    That was from about 10 minutes of perusing the Zillow boards.

  86. David says:

    “Although I am all for gun ownership and own several guns myself.”

    So we gathered. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  87. Caroline says:

    Vivianne,

    Imagine that these hypothetical buyers you keep talking about learn the whole truth about me: that on 9-11 -2001 I was part of the team that answered the phone when the Pentagon call 9-1-1; that I helped plan and control the response at the Pentagon where 184 innocent people were killed; that my family has over half a century of military service; that my brother was soldier of the year, a sergeant major, and decorated Gulf war veteran; that my sister is a Southern Baptist Bible School teacher; that I taught at the USNA; that I go to church every week and actually helped build my church; that I have had foster children; am the parent of 3 adult children, all who finished college and my youngest is finishing medical school; that I volunteer with several organizations; that I pay $35,ooo a year for taxes; that I volunteer to help my friends on weekends and their neighbors; this “despite” the fact that some my friends and some of my family are staunch Republicans and ultra-conservatives -which you correctly pegged that I am not – and yet I still love dearly and would easily give my life for them; that these friends call me “family” and I get cards from them on birthdays and holidays calling me such; that I still get birthday cards from kids I raised that aren’t mine biologically but will always be mine in my heart; that I am am a organ donor so someone else might live if something bad happens to me; that my children have been volunteers as: firefighter, EMT, and White House intern; that when my friends have trouble I am the first person they call. Who would want to have a neighbor like me?

    “Conservative” does not mean bigot.
    “Republican” does not mean bigot.
    “Country values” does not mean bigot.

    Luckily my family and friends believe in the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that are men created equal…”

  88. @ E.A. Gnat,

    I am glad you finely came out because now I have NO doubts who you really are: manipulator and hypocrite.

    How dare you take a few snippets from posts that happened LONG time ago, at the very beginning when I joined Zillow and was a new agent at that time ….. and take those snippets completely out of their context.

    It is very interesting that you conveniently did not write here the essence of that discussion on Zillow – or you did follow and do know what the discussion was about since it seems that you investigated every post and answer I have ever written on any forum but chose not to. It is very revealing as to your character!

    If you were more HONEST you would have disclosed that particular discussion on Zillow was about 125% Loan-To-Value program that President Obama announced right after he took office.

    As a new agent – and new to Zillow – not knowing better, I posted a blog on Zillow about the new presidential announcement that requested lenders to refinance residential mortgage loans even if the loan was 125% of the value of the house. The purpose of the Obama plan was to help homeowners refinance their mortgages and take advantage of the lower interest rates in the down real estate market.

    I have read about the 125% LTV in REALTOR Magazine and being a new agent took it as an official law since it was announced by the President himself.

    The purpose of my blog on Zillow was to let homeowners know about this new opportunity to refinance their mortgage loans – until now lenders were using 105% LTV ratio.

    Needless to say, that 125% LTV blog did NOT go well with Zillow gods and the lending community because the program was OPTIONAL and NOT a law. Lenders were NOT obligated to refinance, it was up to the lenders to refinance and only if they chose to because it made financial sense for them to refinance.

    The overwhelming consensus on Zillow was that lenders were NOT refinancing loans on homes that were more than 105% under water and NO government or a presidential announcement would make them to refinance.

    Of course, since the blog was posted during the housing crush, another component of the discussion (discussions) was who was responsible for the housing bubble in the 2003-2006 years. There was a LOT of finger pointing with no one wanting to take the blame.
    Truthfully, there were MANY factors that caused the bubble: deregulation of the lending industry by the federal government, the subprime mortgages, Wall-Street greed, loan officers – and to be fair, real estate agents as well, although real estate agents did NOT approve or sign the mortgage loans.

    SHAME ON YOU FOR TAKING THOSE POSTS OUT OF THEIR CONTEXT!!!
    YOU HAVE NO INTEGRITY!

    SHAME ON YOU!

  89. David says:

    It’s about the behavior.

  90. >>>Vivianne:“Although I am all for gun ownership and own several guns myself.”

    David: So we gathered. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.<<<

    @David,

    I am GLAD you respect people's right to own guns.
    Perhaps in a PERFECT world, there would be no need for gun ownership …. but we do NOT live in a *perfect* world.
    Many people like the comforting thought they can defend themselves when someone breaks into their home illegally.

    QUESTION: Can REALTORS mention gun ownership on their blogs with Broker Logo displayed IF the post warrants such comment???
    QUESTION: Should gun ownership comments made by REALTORS also be criminalized?

  91. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Perhaps you answer some of the questions asked of you first before you pose more questions.

  92. David says:

    “That discussion”? A.E. posted quotes from five different discussion threads, Vivianne. It is incontrovertible – the way you choose to interact with people who dare to disagree with you is obnoxious, and your colleagues have called you on it repeatedly.

    This is a problem independent of your misunderstanding of Realtor ethics, however.

    So, are you going to answer any of the questions people have asked you?

  93. >>>I know you took down your original post on your blog, why did you do that? Was there something wrong with it? Something you regretted writing?<<<
    @ Liberal Anthropologist,

    I took the post down because YOU – Loudoun Out Loud – contacted my broker who requested that I delete the post…..

    …. and NOW you are asking me why the post is no longer there???

    NO, there was NOTHING WRONG with my post and, YES, I still have it to prove it.
    I only put in a private setting. I hope you do not mind that I used a private setting for this post knowing that I might need it.

    I also saved all the private comments that I received from you and Loudoun Out Loud supporters.

  94. >>>It’s about the behavior.<<<
    @ David,

    NO, it is all about LIBERTY!
    That YOU have your LIBERTY to live your life as you wish, and that I have MY LIBERTY to live MY LIFE MY WAY!

    Right now you are trying to take this FREEDOM away from people, and home buyers in particular.

  95. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Vivianne,

    I vacillate between sympathy and annoyance with you. You are so confused and having trouble keeping everything straight. I am not Loudoun Out Loud. I never even heard of that. I have never been to your website prior to the posts on here. I am not gay or gay activist or even that on top of gay issues.

    So don’t mix me up with someone else. I am the conservative calling you out as a bigot and a super annoying person who needs career counseling. That is my annoyed side of my brain. My sympathetic side feels sorry for you watching you destroy your career and not getting it. You seem genuinely confused – perhaps incapable of comprehending your own limitations and what is being said around you.

  96. Arbie says:

    Vivianne–do you have ANY friends? I am starting to consider that as an impossibility. You latch onto tiny details and explode with fury in response. You ignore people’s primary points and go off on irrelevant tangents.

    If I could summarize the primary question that people are asking you, it is this: where did you come up with your negative (and incorrect) views of LGBT people?

    We are not arguing about this person’s right, that person’s right, the Constitution, etc.. We are arguing with you about an extremely unfair characterization of LGBT people that you fabricated.

  97. >>>the way you choose to interact with people who dare to disagree with you is obnoxious, and your colleagues have called you on it repeatedly.<<<

    @David,

    Here you go again ……
    I am featured on Zillow as a Top Contributor in Virginia – see right hand side for Top Contributors. http://www.zillow.com/advice/VA/all/question-discussion-guide/

    People often have HEATED debates – even mis-communications – and LIFE goes on.

  98. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Vivianne, Your status on Zillow maninly appears to be due to how many posts you make. Not that you are well respected. Apparently you mainly made annoying posts as at least one of your colleagues has now come out indicating what you did was bad.

    http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/Was-it-ethical-Vivianne-Rutowski-REALTOR-Fired/430914/

  99. >>>We are arguing with you about an extremely unfair characterization of LGBT people that you fabricated.<<<
    @ Arbie,

    Now you are LYING and I do NOT tolerate LIARS.
    I stated in my blog that Fair Housing Laws protect ALL citizens, not only minorities.

    I stated that ALL Home Buyers have a LEGAL RIGHT to purchase a HOME that reflects their LIFESTYLE, SYSTEM OF BELIEFS, and MORAL VALUES, whatever that lifestyle, system of beliefs, and moral values are regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, age, or sexual orientation.

    I am also expressing now that REALTORS must have the FREEDOM to discuss those issues with our buyer clients during the Home Buyer Presentations without the FEAR their *home buyer* is in reality a FEDERAL TESTER who can sabotage the entire career by demanding an ANSWER to a question that government considers OFF TOPIC because of pressures from LGBT groups like Loudoun Out Loud.

    Home Buyers need to be FREE to ask any QUESTIONS they need to ask and REALTORS must be FREE to ANSWER those questions, including the true answer regarding Fair Housing Laws which protect ALL Home Buyers and protect their right to purchase a HOME that makes them HAPPY.

    Untill Congress passes a LAW that Home Buyers no longer have the LEGAL right to purchase any home they wish as long as they can finance it, LET FREEDOM RING!

  100. David says:

    Vivianne, LA has already extensively explained to you who he is, even providing you with a link. This blog is maintained by Equality Loudoun. Loudoun Out Loud is the local PFLAG group that provides support for LGBT youth and their family members who find that they need to counter the sort of beliefs you seem to have with facts.

    If your broker also heard from some parents of gay kids who found your post offensive, good for them. I believe – although I don’t know – that your broker heard primarily from other Realtors who immediately recognized your error and wanted to spare their profession further embarrassment.

    Of course you have the liberty to live your life your way. Now, can you please answer these questions:

    Why would you think that a homebuyer who attends church every Sunday and wants to live in a cul-de-sac where his or her children “can play safely” would be unhappy to have a gay or lesbian couple as neighbors? Or Caroline as a neighbor?

    What is the source of your information about LGBT people?

    Have you ever been personally in a situation where a client asked not to live near gay people or similar request? If so, how did you handle it?

  101. The Most Dangerous Real Estate Game? says:

    Vivianne’s desire to mete out vigilante justice to her critics aside (i.e., the need to bring her gun with her to Ashburn to take care of “unfinished business” when she couldn’t “defend” herself on an internet message board), I would also be interested in hearing her finally answer the question she’s been dodging for the past week:

    @VIVIANNE: WHERE DID YOU LEARN WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT LGBT PEOPLE?

    (Apologies for the all caps. It’s the only language she seems to understand…)

  102. David says:

    Vivianne, you just accused Arbie of “LYING” for saying this: We are arguing with you about an extremely unfair characterization of LGBT people that you fabricated. We have the post archived, Vivianne, and I described its content this way:

    ..the post made the offensive, ridiculous assumption that prohibiting discrimination against LGBT county employees would have a negative effect on the Loudoun real estate market. It also contained very ignorant and defamatory language of the sort one hears from hate groups obsessed with public restroom use.

    Do you consider this to be an unfair characterization of your post? Do you contend that my statements are not factually correct? People can go to the links in this post and see it for themselves. How would you describe the language that you used? Where did you come up with that language?

  103. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    David,

    If you don’t mind, would you please go to

    http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/Was-it-ethical-Vivianne-Rutowski-REALTOR-Fired/430914/

    and clarify that I am not associated with your site and that we have never met outside of this blogosphere (as far as you know!). Seriously. We have never met. If I did, I would let you know it was me.

    You may also want to clarify the Loudoun Out Loud point.

  104. Arbie says:

    Well, that’s it. I give up. Apparently I unintentionally lied about something (which is an oxymoron, I might point out). Vivianne is obviously not getting it, can’t write without screeching (and thereby making my face hurt), and has dug her own grave. Kudos to you all who have remained patient. I’ve run dry.

  105. My brain has been hurting after trying to follow Vivianne’s contradictory and circular logic, so I finally had to sit down and draw a diagram to see if any of what she’s saying made sense.

    It doesn’t.

  106. Vivianne vs. Vivianne:

    “As a REALTOR I cannot define what *nice, family oriented* neighborhood is…” —Vivianne

    “If a home buyer makes the decision to move into Loudoun County BECAUSE they believe Loudoun to be a traditional, conservative county and they love the country lifestyle, it is my duty to let them know that Loudoun is NOT as *traditional* or *conservative* as they may think.” —Vivianne

    My brain still hurts.

  107. Citizen says:

    I believe in freedom of speech so I am glad that the moderator gave Ms. Rutowski and opportunity to state her position. Thank you for letting me read both sides of this situation.

  108. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    tmdreg,

    That picture is brilliant. May I use it in my post?

    And Vivianne may have gone more quiet because she is impaling herself here:

    http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/Was-it-ethical-Vivianne-Rutowski-REALTOR-Fired/430914/

  109. @Liberal Anthropologist,
    Happy to help; feel free to use the image however you like.

    I’m watching the thread on Zillow to see if Vivianne at some point realizes she’s contradicting herself. But she seems to be in full-bore ALL CAPS mode digging herself a hole and doesn’t have enough sense to stop digging.

  110. A.E. Gnat says:

    I have found out that Ms. Rutkowski used to be a basketball official for girls’ rec basketball. The photo evidence is here.

    More to follow, probably, and perhaps more ridiculous, depending on how slow the rest of my weekend is and my imagination.

  111. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Can someone inform the Washington Post that her blog is inappropriate for the blog roll:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/loudoun-community/

  112. Say waht? says:

    I read the loudon blog in reply. What they called discriminatory was simply and explanation of what was going to happen. If you have an agenda anything that goes against what you want to get passed is discriminatory.

    Can someone explain how talking about certain behaviors people have in an area is wrong? If it is illegal to talk about one behavior pattern it should be wrong to talk about any behavior pattern. That means do not mention that just up the road is a yard cluttered with junk. Do not mention that everyone goes to the 4th of July picnic. And surely do not mention that everyone there actually east food. Those are all behaviors people exhibit.

    It comes down to a simple question. Can a realtor talk about certain behaviors that happen in an area? If the answer is no then absolutely nothing can be talked about. If the answer is yes why discriminate against everyone who is not in that one group that was traditionally described as deviant? The constitution gave us the right to free speech. As can be seen that includes what some would see as unpopular speech as a protected class.

  113. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    “What they called discriminatory was simply and explanation of what was going to happen.”

    How do you (or Vivianne) know what was going to happen?

  114. Jonathan says:

    Excellent diagram TMDREG! I like it better than my triangle. Hope you don’t mind if I reuse the three points on a recurring circle pattern.

  115. Mike in Canada says:

    When I read these type of comments it simply astounds me Being a Gay Real Estate Broker I have never once had a bad experience, but it seems theres a lot of haters in the south.
    What this women is saying is hate and discrimination towards the LGBT community and has nothing to do with any laws. How can she state theres no such thing as a Gay conservitive?
    The only consulation is that those who spew this hatred are so obviously messed up themselves it’s hard to not feel sorry for them.

  116. Arbie says:

    I just can’t resist pointing out that the Zillow thread has become a playground hosting a remarkable devolution. At this point, everything seems quite funny. Haven’t decided if it’s me or other people who have lost their marbles. 🙂 But marbles have definitely been lost.

  117. David says:

    I’m just skimming over it (getting to your request LA), but this one struck me as especially hilarious and revealing:

    >>> For example, if the next door neighbor of a house up for sale has a rainbow banner hanging form the window and a client asks if the person who lives there is gay. Can an agent tell them that a publicly out gay rights lawyer, his partner and his children live there?< << @ sunnyview, NO, typically REALTOR would NOT provide this information. REALTORS do NOT provide any *people* related information - we only provide information about houses: CMA, previewing, contract,etc. Truthfully, the LEGAL LIABILITY would be too great to provide *people* information.

    Vivianne. Can you explain why your post did not discuss or provide information about houses, but was entirely about *people* and *people* related information?

  118. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Thanks for putting that clarification on that thread.

  119. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    The Zillow thread was closed and the moderator is saying they may clean up further.

    I guess we will just have to continue with Vivianne over here.

    You may want to create a new post on Zillow just to link to her original blog as you indicated you would. Up to you.

  120. David says:

    Meh. I don’t want to create another problem for the Zillow moderators. Readers can figure out what happened and make their way over here if they’re interested.

    Here’s the link to Vivianne’s original post. It’s as it appeared on January 25, shortly before it was deleted. I flagged the edits she made to her first comment.

    This post will also be updated.

  121. Joan says:

    I will say here what I said over on Zillow- Vivianne was a catalyst for something that I think is well worth discussing but ended up becoming a distraction. If you all want to continue talking about Vivianne go ahead but I don’t see a purpose to it. If you want to turn this into a dialogue about agents dealing not just with their own personal biases but their buyers biases as well, I’m not sure what I can add (I have only been an agent for several years and have just recently had to go into referral for personal reasons) but I would love to hear what others have to say.
    Even the best intentioned among us have to deal with some tricky things along the way.

  122. David says:

    Thank you, Joan. I think you’re exactly right, this was a catalyst for discussing and hopefully understanding better how bias operates, and the exchanges with Vivianne are, to a point, attempts to understand what is underlying her belief that what she did was appropriate and even an obligation to clients. I’m not sure we’re going to learn any more about that, but the fact that she showed up here and shared as much as she did generated some questions that other agents have probably had to deal with.

    Clearly there’s a gray area, or ethics hearings wouldn’t be necessary.

  123. Joan says:

    It has been painfully obvious that certain people are incapable of understanding why the things they say are wildly inappropriate. When those people repeat the same stuff over and over, create multiple profiles with the sole intent of being able to step up the insults, when these people put their own professional life at risk and burn bridges without once taking a step back and taking the time for self reflection and it has literally been the same pattern for years, its time to move on. There are some people who will never get it.
    Rather than cutting and pasting the post I managed to slip in before Russ shut the thread down on Zillow, what do you think of the scenario I presented (pretty much the same scenario Vivianne presented in a way which made me squirm) which I think agents are faced with all the time? As an agent, I certainly can’t comment about the population of a particular neighborhood but there is no doubt that it is a factor of some importance to many buyers. By trying to do what is right, do I do a disservice to my buyers if I totally ignore population make up as a criteria?

  124. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Joan, It is a good question. I am not a REA but I think this is a judgment thing. If someone is asking for something wildly inappropriate, I would walk away from them.

    I am going to differ with others on here. I am not in favor of the government stopping bigots or their bigotry. So I wouldn’t want a law to tell you what to do. Or even a strict ethical code. I believe in judgment. I think you should be able to use your obvious good judgment and do what you think is right.

    I wouldn’t service a bigot. I would tell them to go elsewhere.

  125. A.E. Gnat says:

    Personally, I wouldn’t lose much sleep by doing this sort of disservice to a client with bigoted motivations.

  126. Joan says:

    Its not the obvious bigotry that I’m talking about. Most agents would consider that an easy call.

    Its things like someone from another country interested in moving to a neighborhood populated by others of their nationality.
    Or a white couple perhaps feeling uncomfortable if you show them a property in an all-black neighborhood. Not racist, just uncomfortable.
    Or knowing that a particular neighborhood has a reputation for being somewhat hostile to others who aren’t like them (in whatever way, you take your pick). Then having someone who is unaware of this, very obviously fits into the “aren’t like them category” and wants to see a house in this neighborhood.
    Or a couple with children being interested in a house next door to a known pedophile and knowing that I can’t pass on this information to them- the most I can do is strongly suggest they go on the various websites which will show where the registered offenders live.

    The list is endless.

  127. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    I have moved many times and I always selected one or two neighborhoods on my own before even talking to a Realtor. Is that common? Or do they really come wide open on which neighborhood.

  128. I am not a real estate agent, but my understanding of the discussion from Zillow is this:

    * The agent is not allowed to discuss the community cultural makeup, &c. The agent’s job is to focus on the sale of the home, not to make judgements on the community it is in.
    * The buyer is allowed to do as much research as they want into the community they’re moving into and make their own judgement on whether it is a good fit or not. It’s the buyer’s responsibility to scope out the neighborhood, knock on doors, find out who their neighbors are, &c. because they’re the ones who are going to be buying the home—not the agent.

    And really, this is just common sense. Caveat emptor and all that. Who buys a home without checking out the neighborhood?

    If home buyers would feel more/less comfortable with LGBT neighbors, that’s their decision to make based on research they do. That shouldn’t be a decision the real estate agent makes for them.

    This is what Vivianne didn’t seem to understand: By claiming it was her FIDUCIARY DUTY (sorry about the caps!) to tell conservative buyers Loudoun was “too modern” for them, she was trying to make decisions that buyers should have been making (and indeed had every right to make) themselves.

    Also, not to get into a big debate about Libertarianism, but while I can see where Liberal Anthropologist is coming from on this (i.e., shunning the bigots), I respectfully disagree with his solution’s effectiveness. I believe laws are put there for a reason—to protect the citizens. While I understand his argument of no regulation will eventually (in theory) get rid of [Bad Thing] due to public opposition to it, I feel that there will be much more of [Bad Thing] because people will think “if there’s no law against [Bad Thing], then [Bad Thing] must be okay.”

    One can apply this to whatever [Bad Thing] is: Discriminating against LGBT people, or dumping toxic waste into the water supply, or kicking puppies, &c.

    In a nutshell, having laws against [Bad Thing] may keep it suppressed and prevent people from engaging in it (thus less of it), but having no laws against [Bad Thing] means it’s out in the open, in which case it doesn’t matter if you shun people who do [Bad Thing]: At the end of the day there will be more of it, because they’re not doing anything wrong.

    For example: You don’t like people who kick puppies, but there’s no law against it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t spend money at The Puppy Kicking Club; there are plenty of puppy-kicking enthusiasts who will keep them in business and kicking puppies for years to come. OTOH, if there was a law against it: The Puppy Kicking Club gets shut down, and while the puppy-kicking enthusiasts will still believe in puppy kicking, they can’t engage in those activities (openly, at least) without penalties.

  129. David says:

    Good questions. People steer themselves, probably with a lot of variability in how deliberate or conscious it is, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We would most likely shun someone who openly said they were looking for a place to live where there are no X type of people, but anyone is at liberty to do and say that (or do it and not say it). If it were me, I would do things like drive around the area and look for signs that I would be comfortable there, and I would have my own ideas about what kinds of signs I would be looking for. Those ideas could well be unfounded, but they would be my own. I don’t see how that could or should be regulated. Let Freedom Ring, etc. As I understand it, where a REA would run into trouble is by substituting their own ideas for mine. Just as an example, he or she could subconsciously make the assumption that a gay couple wouldn’t be comfortable in a rural community that is predominantly [insert some cultural group or religious denomination], while in reality we might highly value the self-sufficiency and sense of community in that area, and have much less in common with the residents of an area known for being gay-friendly but who are predominantly younger single folks who socialize a lot.

    A question we were wondering about last night: Can an agent drive you around an area for the purpose of that kind of observation, and if so, would the agent be allowed to point out features of any kind? It seems to me that this activity could easily turn into inappropriate steering. What are the guidelines, if there are any? Or would you just tell somebody who requested that activity that they need to drive themselves around without your help?

  130. @Joan,

    If someone from another country interested in moving to a neighborhood populated by others of their nationality, they should do the research to find out which neighborhood is populated by others of their nationality.
    If a white couple perhaps feeling uncomfortable if you show them a property in an all-black neighborhood, they should do the research to find out which neighborhood has a higher percentage of white people.
    If a particular neighborhood has a reputation for being somewhat hostile to others who aren’t like them (in whatever way, you take your pick), they will find this out when they visit the neighborhood. (Note: If the neighborhood has a reputation for it, they probably wouldn’t choose to search in that neighborhood in the first place.)
    If a couple with children is interested in a house next door to a known pedophile, you can strongly suggest they go on the various websites which will show where the registered offenders live. (Seriously, that’s something they should be doing anyway.)

    If the buyer does research and finds the neighborhood has [undesirable element], there’s no reason they can’t say they aren’t interested in that neighborhood, and no reason you shouldn’t abide by their wishes.

    You’re right that the list of reasons a buyer might not want a home in a particular area is endless. They might not like the neighborhood, true; they may also not like the house color. The way to narrow it down is for the buyer to do the research and scope out what they want, or by process of elimination when you show them properties. There’s a difference between “I don’t want to live next to [undesirable element]” and “I’m not interested in properties in the Sudden Valley Estates subdivision (because they’re next to the Puppy Kicking Club).”

  131. David says:

    To add to EXC’s scenario, I think the analogy here is that with no restraints at all, the majority who have normalized puppy-kicking can maintain a status quo in which people who oppose puppy-kicking can’t risk being open about their objections to puppy-kicking. The price is too high for them to say what they really think, so they keep quiet/stay invisible out of self-preservation. Unless there is some guarantee that they can be open about opposing puppy-kicking without life-destroying consequences, there will be very little visibility for anti-puppy-kicking as a legitimate way of being in the world.

    And it’s the visibility of people who oppose puppy-kicking and the freedom to explain that position that has created the conditions in the first place within which anyone even questioned puppy-kicking, let alone started to see it as wrong and shun it. I just don’t think that can happen by itself; is there any example in history where people in a dominant cultural position were just spontaneously seen as bigots?

    I personally think that both things (reasonable restraints on mob rule, and liberty for bigots to make themselves obsolete by fighting against those restraints), are required for a civil rights struggle to move forward.

  132. When my partner and I first moved to Leesburg in 2001, our [starting] criteria was:
    * Within Leesburg
    * 3 bedrooms
    * Costs less than $200,000
    * No stairs leading up to the front door (didn’t want to haul groceries up it, deal with icy steps in wintertime, &c.)
    * Built within last 20 years
    * Garage preferable, but not required
    * Finished basement

    Our agent showed us a number of places within our price range, and we narrowed it down further based on what we saw during the site visit and liked or didn’t like (too close to power lines, too many steps in front, rooms too small, unfinished basement, &c.). After looking at a half-dozen places, we found a place that seemed to be a good fit, and walked around the neighborhood and asked people who lived there what they liked/didn’t like so we could get firsthand information and decide for ourselves.

  133. Can an agent drive you around an area for the purpose of that kind of observation, and if so, would the agent be allowed to point out features of any kind? It seems to me that this activity could easily turn into inappropriate steering. What are the guidelines, if there are any? Or would you just tell somebody who requested that activity that they need to drive themselves around without your help?

    After scoping out a few homes with our agent one day, we told him we’d like to go to [this area] because we thought we saw a new townhouse community being built there and wanted to check it out. So I think the answer is yes, they can at least drive you where you want to go and let you see for yourself. (Our agent didn’t mention any features, he just brought us to the model home and we asked whatever questions we had.) PS: We ended up buying in that community.

  134. I think the analogy here is that with no restraints at all, the majority who have normalized puppy-kicking can maintain a status quo in which people who oppose puppy-kicking can’t risk being open about their objections to puppy-kicking. The price is too high for them to say what they really think, so they keep quiet/stay invisible out of self-preservation.

    Wholeheartedly agreeing with this. If puppy-kicking is the norm, putting an end to it is that much more of an uphill battle. Society at large isn’t just going to magically wake up one morning and decide puppy-kicking is wrong. They’re going to wake up and kick puppies… because that’s what they’ve always done. (And woe to anyone who even thinks of interfering with their long great tradition of puppy-kicking!)

  135. @Joan,
    >>>It has been painfully obvious that certain people are incapable of understanding why the things they say are wildly inappropriate. (…) There are some people who will never get it.<<>>When those people repeat the same stuff over and over, create multiple profiles with the sole intent of being able to step up the insults.<<<

    ANSWER: Are you accusing me of actually creating *multiple* profiles???
    Because IF you do, we have a bigger problem….. BTW, you just violated REALTOR Code of Ethics ….. You just cannot stand there are people who actually do NOT support your agenda and want a different lifestyle for themselves, and some of them do NOT want their children exposed to homosexual trends.

    You sound almost like the other Joan on Zillow, Joan Braunschweiger, a RE/MAX agent who shockingly for RE/MAX agent has NO – NO – understanding of what Fair Housing Laws are and what they are not. Truthfully, if this is how a typical RE/MAX agent understands – or does not understand – Fair Housing Laws, then collectively RE/MAX agents are a greater threat to this country then all terrorists combined – my opinion, and I am entitled to it.

    Arrogant, too.
    With all the cameras and attention on her, Joan Braunschweiger repeated almost exactly the example I gave earlier on that thread on Zillow and still at the end managed to belittle and disparage my views as *interesting perspective on things*……..
    That much for Ethics…..

    Joan Braunschweiger does NOT understand that this not *my personal* interesting perspective on things, this is a perfect, textbook understanding of Fair Housing Laws taught by my local association …. clearly, RE/MAX needs to train some of its agents better….

    Here is Joan Braunschweiger:
    "For example, lets say I start taking out some new buyers. After showing them several homes in several different neighborhoods it becomes clear that they are looking for neighborhoods which are dominated by their race/nationality/age/straights/gays……whatever. They aren't necessarily obnoxious or blatant about it but yet it becomes quite clear that they would be more comfortable among certain types of people, whatever it may be. Although I'm not supposed to "steer" people to neighborhoods based on things such as race, if buyers aren't familiar with what neighborhoods fit their criteria and I am, am I wrong to take them to neighborhoods which fit that criteria?

    Its not really me that is choosing the neighborhoods, its being done with the buyers consent. I'm pretty sure this would be a professional no no because I am using a neighborhood's population as a determining factor for showing buyers a particular area. Yes, I can direct my buyers to various resources which may tell them what they want to know about various areas and this is undoubtedly what agents should do to avoid all appearances of bad behavior but I would imagine it would be awfully easy to just bring them to the places where I know they would feel comfortable.

    I am certainly not advocating Vivianne's…uh…….interesting perspective on things, yet we all must have some realization that the line is not always so easy to recognize."

  136. @ Joan
    Part of my answer did not go through probably because it was copied from Zillow and the HTML did not agree for whatever reason . Here it is:

    @Joan,
    >>>It has been painfully obvious that certain people are incapable of understanding why the things they say are wildly inappropriate. (…) There are some people who will never get it.<<<

    ANSWER: You still do NOT understand it, do you?
    It is NOT that I am NOT getting it – I GET IT DIFFERENTLY THAN YOU DO.
    As a CITIZEN I demand rights for myself and stand ready to defend those rights AND I would NEVER deny these same rights to other people, especially home buyers whom I serve.

  137. David says:

    Vivianne, I think we’d all appreciate it if you would keep your conflicts with other Zillow users on Zillow. Thanks.

  138. Joan says:

    Yikes, sorry about that guys.

    Vivianne, we can agree to disagree about our various perspectives on things and just leave it at that. Please.

  139. I GET IT DIFFERENTLY THAN YOU DO.

    That’s what she said.

  140. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    She’s back! Vivianne, do you really think it is wise to disparage Re/Max? You are going to need a job I would think.

    Anyway…

    Especially with Vivianne around, I am loath to devolve this thread into a discussion on Libertarian thinking. I will eventually create a post of my own on this idea on TC and we can really work through it.

    Quick answer: You are mixing up the order of events. The reason a law can pass is because social opinion has already begun to shift. It hasn’t shifted a lot yet, but the cycle is moving that way. A law then comes into place which does nothing to change the thinking and little to change the behaviour of people (see the drug war or prohibition). It slows the natural societal shift because people (like Vivianne) surpress how they really think and are thus able to be more successful than they otherwise would be.

    The thinking will shift with or without the law. The question is whether the law speeds or slows those natural cultural shifts. There are many example of shifts that were not helped by laws. Common examples include revolutions like the american one. Obviously the laws did not support those cultural changes and they happened more quickly and effectively.

    The key principles in my thinking are market-based. Being a bigot reduces the addressable market and thus the non-bigot will on average make more money than the bigot. When that is allowed to play out freely over time, the bigots will fail more quickly than if they are propped up by artificial govt regulation that makes them address a larger market.

    But like I said, I commit to creating a main post on TC on the subject of how to best tackle bigotry. Let’s keep this to Vivianne’s scintillating take on real estate since she is still around. She is getting her main post on Tue or Wed at TC. Maybe she can give me more material.

  141. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Vivianne,

    Have you ever personally encountered one of these situations where somebody wants to live somewhere more traditional and you had to inform them of changes in laws regarding treatment of LGBT? How did you handle it? What did the client say?

  142. >>>This is what Vivianne didn’t seem to understand: By claiming it was her FIDUCIARY DUTY (sorry about the caps!) to tell conservative buyers Loudoun was “too modern” for them, she was trying to make decisions that buyers should have been making (and indeed had every right to make) themselves.<<<

    @ Engleberp X

    Where did you see me write that???
    Do NOT twist my words! LIES will get you nowhere!
    Unless you have a PROOF and witnesses that I actually *steered* or *manipulated* people into doing what *I* wanted, you are de-facto defaming my good character – check TESTIMONIALS on my website.

    Here is a real life example I gave on Zillow:

    Imagine that I am a home buyer relocating from a BIG CITY to a SUBURBAN area to raise children in a more natural setting – Loudoun County in Virginia comes to mind…. This buyer is very traditional, church going, and YES they make a point of saying they want to live in a NICE, FAMILY ORIENTED neighborhood, they do NOT want to live close to gay bars because this is why they are relocating in the first place, they want to make sure their children are raised away from those modern trends…… yes, they can say that, it is NOT ILLEGAL for them to say that …..

    I cannot say it because I'm a REALTOR, but BUYERS can say that…. as a matter of fact they say it all the time…..most buyers with children want to live in a *nice, family* neighborhood, that make it as a part of their search criteria.

    As a REALTOR I cannot define what *nice, family oriented* neighborhood is, but I better listen with BOTH ears because it is someones HOME and it is VERY important to them …..

    As REALTOR, the least I can do is to let them know what I CAN do for them – CMA, market updates, previewing homes, contract, etc – and what I CANNOT do because the federal law does not allow that: school, crime, neighborhood statistics, etc.
    YES, they may want to drive through the neighborhood and knock on a few doors to meet the neighbors…….

    If I were that HOME BUYER and REALTOR did NOT tell me those things which caused me to make a UN-INFORMED decision and after I moved into that house I found out two LESBIAN women were living next door and two gay men across the street raising their adopted daughter …. I would smack that agent with the biggest LAWSUIT there ever was.

    I am a home buyer, I obey laws, but I do NOT want my children absorbing all that modern culture – I would have NEVER purchased this house had my REALTOR told me that. Guess what? The good JUDGE would agree with the BUYER.

    You just managed to double The Errors and Omissions Insurance for your broker.

    Home Buyers have the CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to make their own INDIVIDUAL decision when they purchase a HOME. It means ALL buyers regardless of race, color, religion, marital status, age, or sexual orientation.

    This what REALTOR Code of Ethics and Fair Housing Laws are about. It is all about creating HAPPY Homeowners, whatever that happiness means to them.

  143. Joan says:

    I wrote a whole long post before, forgot to do the CAPTCHA thingy and poof, gone.

    The jist (or is it gist?) of it was that while it should be up to the buyer to investigate various ‘hoods and see if they are a good fit, its not always that easy. Buyers may live a good distance away and demographics aren’t available on every area.

    Its natural for buyers to expect their agents to tell them, for example, that the neighborhood they are interested in is a “family” neighborhood.
    But we can’t tell them that.
    Its natural for buyers to expect their agents to tell them, for example, that a registered pedophile lives next door to the house they are interested in.
    But we can’t tell them that.
    I know the reasoning behind this but it isn’t always easy to follow.

    I also imagine this scenario- I meet with buyers for the first time and I quickly learn of their obvious bigotry and they make it very clear that they will not consider neighborhoods which are inhabited by (insert your group of choice here). I promptly tell them that they need to find another agent. Eventually they will find an agent who will do as they insist, blatantly taking them to neighborhoods which have a certain “flavor” and are lacking other “flavors”, because after all, most agents are motivated to make their buyers happy. I would think this scenario is a reality that is repeated quite often.

  144. David says:

    Hey, I think this is a great discussion – but I’ll defer to your pending post. After one more comment.

    Quick answer: You are mixing up the order of events. The reason a law can pass is because social opinion has already begun to shift.

    That’s true, but what I’m saying is I think it’s more complicated than just the linear process you describe. Both things happen concurrently, there is a push-pull between them that moves things forward. Something has to happen to cause the social opinion to shift. There is some tipping point at which the minority simply refuses to accept the status quo in which the “right” of the majority to keep them silent and invisible through intimidation, even to define them, is upheld by the law. People had to violate the law in order to create the backlash that demonstrated the monstrousness of those trying to maintain the status quo, and that’s what changed people’s thinking (I think this generally applies). So if law designed to maintain the status quo is being deployed to prevent that whole process, which is the point of it, how do you approach it without addressing the law? Ok, I’m done now 🙂

  145. Arbie says:

    Vivianne, maybe you should ask a real estate lawyer/expert to review your blog post and explain all of this to you. Because you are obviously not listening.

    Hear me, please. NO ONE HERE is saying that home buyers do not have the right to express their preferences and decide whether certain homes or neighborhoods fit what they are looking for.

    What we ARE saying is that if the REALTOR wants to remain ethical and professional, they should refrain from getting entangled in the process by offering unsolicited biased, judgmental information that could sway the buyer.

    All of this goes back to your blog post. You were NOT just quoting the Loudoun Times-Mirror article. You added YOUR OWN words, and those words were extremely offensive and judgmental (the ones regarding transgender restroom use, etc.). You were NOT just quoting the article. You broadcast a biased perspective that no one seems to have come to you with first. You put it out there. You didn’t just say, “Here’s an interesting development. Go to this link to read about a policy change within our county.” NO. You went on to suggest that the policy was not discussed long enough before it passed, you gave a so-called “legal” interpretation of the implications (were you qualified to do so?), by juxtaposing it with legalizing marijuana, you suggested that you viewed the policy change as radical and outlandish. If you deny ANY of this, then maybe your difficulty is with expressing yourself through writing. Perhaps you might consider taking a class on how to better convey your thoughts in written communications.

  146. Arbie says:

    P.S. Just to anticipate the rage that will come back at me: just because one does not explicitly say things like “the board of supervisors didn’t discuss the initiative long enough,” “the people did not have their say,” “this policy is extreme, radical, and unwelcome,” or “transgendered people are a threat to people trying to raise families,” does not mean that the way words and sentences are strung together have exactly the same meaning. It’s called making reasonable, if not obvious, inferences. And really, in this scenario, I just don’t see any viable alternative interpretations of Vivianne’s statements regarding the Loudoun Times-Mirror article.

  147. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Joan, I find if I forget the captcha thing, i can hit back and the browser will have kept my post.

    Vivianne,

    So the situation that you described starting with the word IMAGINE was real? you really do need to choose your words more carefully.

    So you had this actually happen to you:

    “This buyer is very traditional, church going, and YES they make a point of saying they want to live in a NICE, FAMILY ORIENTED neighborhood, they do NOT want to live close to gay bars because this is why they are relocating in the first place, they want to make sure their children are raised away from those modern trends…… ”

    What did you say to that? How did you respond?

  148. Arbie says:

    Oops…I left out a “not.” Should read:

    “Just because one does not explicitly say things…does not mean that the way words and sentences are strung together do not have exactly the same meaning.”

  149. David says:

    Clearly Vivianne did not just quote the Times-Mirror article, but added her own editorial content. Any denial of that can be easily disproven by referring to her post. Which has been done, repeatedly. I don’t think there’s any point in continuing to respond to her unless and until she answers the simple questions that she has been asked.

    Joan, I think the topic is an important one to discuss, and I thank you for redirecting this thread to something more substantive than watching a trainwreck, which is what this became at some point. Really, I thank you.

    There seems to be a lot of history between Vivianne and others at Zillow. I was just putting it out there that I don’t want those conflicts transported over here because a moderator shut down the thread there. Vivianne can start a new thread at Zillow if she wants to continue working through those personal conflicts.

  150. David says:

    Maybe she did answer one of the questions: Have you had clients tell you they don’t want to live around X people, and how have you handled this situation?

    Here is a real life example [my emphasis] I gave on Zillow:

    Imagine that I am a home buyer relocating from a BIG CITY to a SUBURBAN area to raise children in a more natural setting – Loudoun County in Virginia comes to mind…. This buyer is very traditional, church going, and YES they make a point of saying they want to live in a NICE, FAMILY ORIENTED neighborhood, they do NOT want to live close to gay bars because this is why they are relocating in the first place, they want to make sure their children are raised away from those modern trends…

    ..As a REALTOR I cannot define what *nice, family oriented* neighborhood is, but I better listen with BOTH ears because it is someones HOME and it is VERY important to them …..

    ..If I were that HOME BUYER and REALTOR did NOT tell me those things [presumably those things stated in her post] which caused me to make a UN-INFORMED decision and after I moved into that house I found out two LESBIAN women were living next door and two gay men across the street raising their adopted daughter …. I would smack that agent with the biggest LAWSUIT there ever was.

    I am a home buyer, I obey laws, but I do NOT want my children absorbing all that modern culture – I would have NEVER purchased this house had my REALTOR told me that.

  151. >>>What we ARE saying is that if the REALTOR wants to remain ethical and professional, they should refrain from getting entangled in the process by offering unsolicited biased, judgmental information that could sway the buyer.<<<

    @ Arbie,

    I do not enjoy being politically incorrect – I'd rather live in *perfect* world where overyone lives in a perfect harmony – but let me tell you a well known secret: REALTORS often represent Family members, friends from yoga club, girl scout and boy scout clubs, friends met at a gym, church members ….. and YES they DO give *unsolicited biased* advice.

    IF REALTORS can give *unsolicited biased* advice to their Family and Friends, why can't they offer that advice to other clients???
    Your approach is already NOT fair to the PUBLIC – you just violated Fair Housing Laws.

    I leave it up to you to prove to me that REALTORS have NO LEGAL right or that they are violating REALTOR Code of Ethics or the FEDERAL LAWS by offering *unsolicited biased* advice to their Family and Friends.

    It is one thing to break the laws, it is quite another to be denied the freedom to advice freely in order to fulfill the AGENCY Agreement and the FIDUCIARY DUTY to the client.

  152. >>>This is what Vivianne didn’t seem to understand: By claiming it was her FIDUCIARY DUTY (sorry about the caps!) to tell conservative buyers Loudoun was “too modern” for them, she was trying to make decisions that buyers should have been making (and indeed had every right to make) themselves.<<<

    @ Engleberp X

    Where did you see me write that???
    Do NOT twist my words! LIES will get you nowhere!

    Vivianne,

    I’m not twisting your words around at all. You wrote on your real estate blog:

    “If a home buyer makes the decision to move into Loudoun County BECAUSE they believe Loudoun to be a traditional, conservative county and they love the country lifestyle, it is my duty to let them know that Loudoun is NOT as *traditional* or *conservative* as they may think.”

    I don’t need proof or witnesses that you actually *steered* or *manipulated* people into doing what you wanted, because that’s not what I said. I said you believe it is your duty to tell conservative buyers Loudoun was “too modern” for them (because we don’t live in the Dark Ages and Loudoun County treats LGBT folks like actual human beings).

    From what I understand, it’s up to the BUYER, NOT YOU, to decide if Loudoun is “too modern” for them. Your personal bias against LGBT folks shouldn’t be a factor in where someone decides to buy a home. Your job—er, former job—was to sell houses, not to pass judgement on groups of citizens you know nothing about.

  153. Joan,
    I use Firefox and can usually retrieve a post that didn’t make it through by hitting the back button. If that doesn’t work (i.e., you’re using Internet Explorer or another browser), you can always do a quick Ctrl-A and Ctrl-C to copy the post to your clipboard before hitting the Post Comment button. Hope this helps!

  154. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Vivianne,

    So you had this actually happen to you:

    “This buyer is very traditional, church going, and YES they make a point of saying they want to live in a NICE, FAMILY ORIENTED neighborhood, they do NOT want to live close to gay bars because this is why they are relocating in the first place, they want to make sure their children are raised away from those modern trends…… ”

    What did you say to that? How did you respond?

  155. Vivianne vs. Vivianne:

    “As a REALTOR I cannot define what *nice, family oriented* neighborhood is…”
    …but…
    “…it is my duty to let them know that Loudoun is NOT as *traditional* or *conservative* as they may think.”

    Her contradictory statements aside, none of this really addresses Vivianne’s offensive and unprofessional attitude toward LGBT folks that started this whole thing, or how she ever got those wacky ideas in her head to begin with. Despite being asked multiple times, she’s never answered this. It may always be a mystery.

  156. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Vivianne,

    I will repeat the advice you have heard from others. You really must obtain the services of an attorney immediately. You are using words like fiduciary and making up phrases like “unsolicited biased advice” and stating what rights you have in the made up phrase.

    And attorney can advise you on what these words really mean in this context. They can explain to you what actual duties you have – fiduciary or otherwise. They will also tell you to stop talking.

    As stated by many in your field on Zillow and as is clear as day to all here, you really don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to being a real estate agent. You are lost in words you don’t understand.

    A lawyer will really help you. I strongly recommend you get one.

  157. Arbie says:

    I find it funny that apparently everyone has violated Fair Housing Laws–except Vivianne.

  158. Arbie says:

    To be fair, I came up with the phrase unsolicited biased advice to describe the content of Vivianne’s blog post.

    There do appear to be several relevant issues here:

    1) The unfair characterization of LGBT people
    2) The degree of general professionalism (or lack thereof) exhibited in an op-ed piece on a public website with one’s employer’s logo prominently featured
    3) The realtor’s “rights” and obligations when it comes to assessing and responding to buyers’ preferences

    That does make it hard to keep discussion focused.

  159. >>>You are using words like fiduciary and making up phrases like “unsolicited biased advice”<<<

    @ Liberal Anthropologist,

    ARTHO made up the phrase: unsolicited biased advice.

  160. ARBIE made up the phrase: unsolicited biased advice.

  161. David says:

    ARBIE made up the phrase: unsolicited biased advice.

    Ok – but you accepted the phrase and endorsed it.

    REALTORS often represent Family members, friends from yoga club, girl scout and boy scout clubs, friends met at a gym, church members ….. and YES they DO give *unsolicited biased* advice.

    IF REALTORS can give *unsolicited biased* advice to their Family and Friends, why can’t they offer that advice to other clients???

    Isn’t it a description of this?

    “…it is my duty to let them know that Loudoun is NOT as *traditional* or *conservative* as they may think.”

  162. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    A thread on this has been created on TC:

    http://www.tooconservative.com/?p=12107

    David, if you think it is appropriate, you may want to post the contents of her personal email to you expressing concerns about YOUR safety. I would like to see it.

  163. David says:

    LA, her email to me is below (it’s the only email contact we’ve had; I didn’t reply). I read it as Vivianne trying to establish that she has concerns for her safety, not the other way around. The edited comment on her post seemed to have the same purpose.

    Vivianne Rutkowski viviannerutkowski@gmail.com
    Jan 25

    Hello,

    I am asking you very politely to STOP the HARASSMENT campaign. You and your supporters have flooded my email box and my blog with VERY aggressive emails.
    IF you do NOT stop, I have NO other choice but to notify the police department and the sheriff office out of concern for my SAFETY.

    Vivianne Rutkowski

  164. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    OK. I misunderstood your earlier comment. She should know she is not in any danger.

  165. The Most Dangerous Real Estate Game? says:

    I have unfinished business in that town, if you know what I mean. Planning to take my gun with me…” —Vivianne Rutkowski

    To be honest, I’m more worried about our safety considering the gun-toting Realtor in Red’s previous comments.

  166. Krysta says:

    David,
    you can’t have a rational discussion with someone who hates so much…it is like trying to teach a dog not to eat it’s poo once it has been doing it for years…it is something we have faith can happen, but never does! Save your oxygen to use on a rational thinking person.

  167. David says:

    Hopefully what comes of this is that other real estate professionals will be motivated to examine and talk about their own biases – everyone has them – and how they might unknowingly be allowing them to creep into those gray areas we’ve been talking about. It’s a cautionary tale, as LA put it in his post.

    The thing I want to point out about Vivianne is that she’s not asserting that she hates LGBT people and should have the right to discriminate against us. She honestly seems to believe that there’s nothing wrong with her post. Her own bigotry is completely invisible to her.

  168. Joan says:

    “You just cannot stand there are people who actually do NOT support your agenda and want a different lifestyle for themselves, and some of them do NOT want their children exposed to homosexual trends.”
    “Truthfully, if this is how a typical RE/MAX agent understands – or does not understand – Fair Housing Laws, then collectively RE/MAX agents are a greater threat to this country then all terrorists combined – my opinion, and I am entitled to it.”

    I’m pretty sure she’s advocating the idea that she should have a right, as a real estate agent, to “collude” with her buyers in determining where she thinks members of the gay community reside in order to avoid them. I know I shouldn’t speak for her, but that is how I interpret the above statement.
    The funny thing is I don’t know what agenda she is talking about. I happen to be a single mother of 4 in the process of a divorce. My only “agenda” is to shed light on igonorance and in this case, how it affects a profession that I care deeply about (even though I am admittedly no longer an active agent).

  169. David says:

    I would categorize her with people who think they have the right to demand that children with same sex parents be prohibited from talking about their families in school – because they don’t want their own children “exposed” to the fact that these families exist. Yes, this really happens.

  170. Engleburp X. Circusmusic says:

    My understanding of Vivianne’s blog post was that she thought Loudoun County was “going LGBT” and that the county was no longer a safe place to raise children. I had a little trouble following her logic of how including LGBT in EEO guidelines means the county will be overrun by them, head for the hills, think of the children, and so on.

  171. David says:

    Right – but she doesn’t see anything wrong, immoral, unethical, etc., about that belief. She’s not saying “Sure I’m prejudiced, and I have a right to be.” She doesn’t grasp that it’s bigotry. When asked to explain her assumptions about “a safe place to raise children,” she doesn’t even understand what she’s being asked.

  172. Engleberp X. Circusmusic says:

    @David

    You were criticized on TC [by Barbara Munsey] for responding to Ms. Rutkowski’s 2-year old blog post:

    Her post may have been new to you, but the response on a two year old thread said what, to her?

    TC seems to be having some technical difficulties with their site, but be that as it may I’m curious, is there a statute of limitations on how long someone can respond to a blog post?

    It seems to me if her post is out there and people are still reading it two years later, it’s fair game to provide an alternate viewpoint to, especially if she hasn’t retracted or apologized for those statements.

    I dunno, the idea that people shouldn’t take responsibility for what they wrote after [X amount of time] has passed doesn’t seem very fair. The fact that two years have passed doesn’t make what she said any less offensive.

  173. David says:

    EXC, I had the same reaction to her comment. Vivianne would have to be held accountable for writing the post, regardless of how long it was there unbeknownst to her brokerage. I certainly wasn’t saying I regretted bringing this to the attention of Keller Williams. I only wish I had been more professional in my first comment.

  174. Arbie says:

    You guys seem to have much more history with Barbara than I do, so I could be wrong, but it seemed like she was implying that no one tried hard enough to understand where Vivianne was coming from, and almost even suggesting that putting Vivianne on the spot in such a way was equal to or worse than the offensive content of her blog post. While some of us may have responded on the more aggressive side up front, commenters asked sincere questions of Vivianne, genuinely trying to understand what led her to write what she did. Sure, the sudden discovery of her blog post and response from many people may have been out of the blue for her, but so was David’s discovery of the offending post. Just because the post was old and backlash against it was unexpected, that doesn’t in any way excuse or offset any of her statements. I know you guys probably would agree about that, but it bothered me to see someone repeatedly refer to the time elapsed since the blog post was written as a mitigating factor, without really caring to admit that the blog’s content really was pretty bad.

  175. David says:

    Arbie, you have just witnessed (and immediately recognized it for what it is) the standard technique she uses to derail threads into a discussion of other commenters’ motivations and character.

    ..many of your responses appear to me to be convenient deflections, sidesteps, and basically irrelevant jabs in response to the other commenters.

    She regularly does this when someone calls attention to some indefensible act by Eugene Delgaudio. I don’t know why. She doesn’t live or vote in his district. When he referred to a hypothetical transgender woman as “it,” instead of admitting that an elected official who would speak that way about anyone is not fit to hold office, she focused on some detail of the incident that a reporter had gotten wrong (the reporter got it wrong, not inconsequentially, because Mr. Delgaudio had lied to her), and aggressively insisted that the word was open to interpretation and that the morality of calling another human being “it” is a matter of personal opinion. When he sent a fundraising letter to his mailing list with a graphic image of a pool of rainbow colored blood on the floor, in what looked to most people like the aftermath of a bloody hate crime, she made excuses for him, repeated his own lie (that it was intended to depict “paint”) as if it were established truth, and attacked the character of those who had < http://www.loudounprogress.org/?p=2513>exposed the actual truth.

    This has been going on for a long time, at least since 2003. The first time I ever heard of Barbara Munsey, she attacked me online for a letter to the editor I wrote exposing what Mr. Delgaudio does for a living.

  176. Liberal Anthropologist says:

    So it looks like Vivianne has finally taken the advice and stopped commenting. That’s good. It will fade now from all the sites. I hope she genuinely learned something. I hope more than just – it is a good idea to keep your mouth shut when you already have put your foot in it.

    Another thing I would note for you guys is that Vivianne received little support on any site. Some people posted distracting things, but nobody posted direct support for her. I hope this goes to one of my points. Conservatives don’t support that crap. Sure… there are some…. like Jack at NVTH. But they are a minority amongst conservatives and shrinking.

    This civil rights battle is already won. Not because there is nothing left to do, but because of the inevitable societal swing that is in motion.

    Now… and in some other thread, I will get you guys to take up the civil rights for humans, not matter what stage of development they are in. We can maybe get fetuses protected class status. 🙂

    Seriously, let’s not start that one here. We will have many chances in the future. Let’s just enjoy a unanimous condemnation of something we all agree is wrong.

  177. David says:

    LOL, no, let’s not start that one here. I imagine you would find the full range of opinion, though.

    Does this mean you’re not going to publish your longer post about the constitutional issues raised here? If so, it’s a shame that she preempted that. I would like to have that conversation. Absolutely, the time of that bigotry being mainstream is over, and what we’re seeing now is the demand for the “right” to have it protected from being marginalized. There’s nothing conservative about that.

  178. Arbie says:

    I have to say, I only very recently heard about Delgaudio. And was absolutely horrified.

  179. Elder Berry says:

    No, LA, she is not gone, and she has not improved.

  180. Caroline says:

    As long as people can be – and are – fired, kept from shopping, kicked out of restaurants, refused treatment at health care facilities, evicted from housing, left to die on the streets by EMTs who refuse to treat them, no longer able to serve their country despite decades of perfect service and have employers who refuse to provide health insurance for medically necessary care simply because a person is transgender, we have not won the civil rights battle, so Liberal Anthropologist and I vary on this point.

    As the aunt of transgender man, I am appalled at what is still legal and what still happens everyday. All of us must stand together to end this stupidity. My nephew doesn’t deserve that kind of treatment and neither does any other transgender person.

  181. David says:

    Caroline, I think what he means is that a tipping point has been reached at which the kind of thoughtless dehumanization expressed by Vivianne is not mainstream, and with that I agree. Public opinion marginalizes someone like her, evidenced by her swift termination and the reaction to her post once it became exposed. That doesn’t stop others like her from enacting their prejudice on people, though, and that’s where we probably disagree. My view is the same as MLK’s: Laws cannot change people’s hearts, but they can restrain the heartless.

  182. David says:

    EB, she hasn’t been back to Progress in two whole days!

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