Minnesota-based realtor Matt Moore, who is a Christian, said Friday he is allowing his real estate license to expire due to his beliefs on LGBT issues.
“My current broker will not allow me to continue working under her … if I continue to speak publicly about LGBTQ+ issues,” he told Faithwire.
Moore first announced the development Friday morning, asking his Twitter followers to pray for him and his wife, Tabitha Piper Moore.
There are other brokerages in town. But there is widespread uneasiness about real estate agents talking about LGBTQ+ issues in the public sphere due to @nardotrealtor‘s recent change to the Code of Ethics. I wrote about this six months ago. 2/ https://t.co/jjoF428GbX
— Matt Moore (@onemoorematt) May 21, 2021
He went on to write he and Tabitha have decided to “move on” from real estate and reiterated they “aren’t angry” about this development.
“I’m not looking to bear the Christian political torch,” Moore added later. “I have important things — Gospel things — to focus on. I think I’ve served my role in this by pleading [and] sharing. Perhaps God has called one of you to take up the political torch. But I think he’s called me to move on.”
As it stands right now, his real estate license will sunset on July 1.
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Moore, who has been open about his own struggle with same-sex attraction and indicated he does not speak to his personally held beliefs while working with clients, first addressed this issue in early December 2020, when he published an open letter to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which had recently updated the language in its code of ethics in a way he argued could spark “discrimination against Christian realtors.”
In November, the board of directors for the NAR adopted new wording for Standard of Practice 10-5 as part of Article 10 of the organization’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
The updated code states realtors “must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
It also revised Policy Statement 29 to state realtors “shall be subject to disciplinary action under the Code of Ethics with respect to all of their activities” (emphasis added).
Previously, the code qualified that realtors would be “subject to disciplinary action under the Code of Ethics only with respect to real estate-related activities and transactions involving the realtor” (emphasis added).
NAR President Vince Malta said at the time the changes were made as part of the association’s efforts toward “combatting and overcoming bigotry and injustice,” a cause Moore championed.
However, the Christian realtor explained, he’s concerned the updated language in the NAR’s code of ethics will do more harm than good.
“As public awareness of the fact that realtors can be reported for things said and done outside of real estate increases,” Moore wrote, “realtors who express a historic Christian view on homosexual and transsexual behavior could become regular targets for undeserved allegations of hate speech.”
Moore’s concern, he noted, is founded in the fact there is no clearly understood definition for so-called “hate speech” in the U.S. and, as such, “it is common for a mere articulation of Christian beliefs concerning homosexuality and transgenderism to be labeled as hate speech.”
“When we say that God desires LGBTQ+ people to turn to Jesus in faith and away from sexual (and all!) sin, we are often accused of doing harm to LGBTQ+ persons,” Moore wrote. “But this is not harmful. This is not hate speech. This is an opinion.”
“And there are countless opinions in this country about various moral issues,” he continued. “A healthy society is one in which many opinions about many things can be tolerated. An unhealthy society is one in which people seek to ‘cancel’ or silence those who hold different opinions. I’m afraid NAR’s new rules, if interpreted and enforced in the way I worry they might be, could play a part in moving our society further away from health rather than toward it.”
Moore also raised the fact that the hearing panel — made up not of lawyers or psychologists, but other realtors — is charged with determining the motivations of the individual accused of uttering “hate speech.” He argued it is “very difficult to prove intent,” whether good or bad.
“Under NAR’s new rules,” Moore asked, “will it really be possible for a Christian realtor — or any realtor whose religious beliefs consider homosexual and transsexual behavior to be unnatural — to speak publicly of their views without subjecting themselves to undeserved allegations of hate speech and potentially career-ending discipline?”
He wrote in December he was concerned the NAR’s change in policy could mean he “may one day no longer be able to work as a real estate agent.”
Moore explained to Faithwire there are Christian-owned brokerages in the Twin Cities area, but some of them would be “uneasy about agents speaking publicly about biblical views on sexuality and gender, which is something I do regularly because it’s part of my history and ministry.”
“If a broker did decide to carry my license, they would also be hit by any future arrows that are shot my way,” he said. “They would be putting their own businesses, NAR membership (which is more vital than you might think), and potentially even their licenses at risk.”
This story has been updated.