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National group asks Realtors to disassociate from Missoula pastor

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Brandon Huber

Pastor Brandon Huber addresses community members at Clinton Community Church.

A national real estate group is calling for local organizations to disassociate themselves from Brandon Huber, a Missoula Realtor and pastor, for allegedly discriminating against the LGBTQ+ community.

In a statement to the National Association of Realtors, the Montana Association of Realtors, the Missoula Organization of Realtors and Windermere Real Estate, the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance said "moments like these demand action."

“The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance has an obligation to ensure that our community is protected from any forms of discrimination committed within the housing industry. It is our belief that Huber’s behavior, along with the comments from his attorney, should not be treated lightly and represent a clear violation of the Code of Ethics,” alliance CEO Ryan Weyandt said.

“They warrant Huber’s immediate removal as a Realtor and membership of all related Realtor groups," Weyandt added. "We have also encouraged Windermere Real Estate to end its affiliation with him.”

The alliance appreciates the work real estate associations are doing across the board to welcome diversity and inclusion, the statement said.

In response, Huber's attorney, Matthew Monforton, told the Missoulian his client stands by his belief that his actions were not hate speech, and that he intends to continue practicing real estate in western Montana. 

"He has never discriminated against anyone or used harassing speech, hate speech, epithets or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity," Monforton said.

Huber is the lead pastor at the Clinton Community Church. He filed a lawsuit in early November against the Missoula Organization of Realtors, which said he had violated their hate speech policy. The church had partnered with the Missoula Food Bank for a lunch event known as “Kids Eat Free” for several years. The church found out in June about LGBTQ+ pride inserts used in the lunch program, determined they were “contrary to the Church’s teachings” and opted to start its own community lunch program. The inserts had “Pride” written on the front, along with “love always wins” and “love is love” messages.

In his complaint, Huber argues that the Missoula Organization of Realtors' hate-speech prohibition violated the Montana Constitution and is too vague under state contract law to be enforced. He has been a member of the group since August 2020 and works as a part-time agent for Windermere Real Estate in Missoula.

Leadership at the Alliance sent a letter to the National Association of Realtors on Nov. 17 addressing the situation. 

In response, NAR President Leslie Smith deferred to local hearings to guide any disciplinary action against Huber.

The national association “has a deep commitment to non-discrimination” and takes any alleged violations of the Code of Ethics seriously, Smith said, adding the authority to enforce the code is delegated to local and state realtor associations through their grievance committees and hearing panels.

“In this case, the local association’s grievance committee initiated a hearing process based on the allegations. All hearings are held in a manner which is fair to all parties, and care is taken to ensure that the rights and interests of all parties are protected,” Smith said.

Huber initially had an ethics hearing before the Missoula Organization of Realtors scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 2, but it has been postponed due to the lawsuit.

Speakers at a “God, Country, Family” event Nov. 17 at Huber’s church took aim at “alternative LGBTQ lifestyles” and encouraged attendees to donate money to fund Huber's lawsuit. They included state Sen. Theresa Manzella, R-Hamilton; Pastor Jordan “JD” Hall, who founded the Montana Daily Gazette; congressional candidate Al Olszewski; and Leah Southwell of the John Birch Society.

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