I truly thought that one of the most significant yet mostly overlooked events of 2021 was the controversy that arose in Missoula, Montana when Brandon Huber, a part-time REALTOR and the pastor of the Clinton Community Church, was brought up on ethics charges with the Missoula Organization of REALTORS. He wrote a letter explaining why his church was withdrawing from a free lunch program with the Missoula Food Bank. Turns out, the church discovered that the Missoula Food Bank included an LGBTQ "Pride" insert in its lunches that was contrary to how the church and its members interpreted the Bible. That led to someone filing a formal complaint with MOR for violation of NAR 10.5 and other provisions, which I collectively call the NAR Speech Code.
Huber then brought a lawsuit against MOR and NAR to fight the ethics charges. The national LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance weighed in formally, demanding that MOR and NAR remove him from membership, and demanding that Windermere terminate its relationship with him. That in turn resulted in Windermere denouncing Huber, and making substantial donations to the Missoula Food Bank.
This small event got national press, albeit in the alternative media, and huge local and regional press even in the Corporate Media. I thought this kerfuffle put NAR in a no-win situation, pointed to a real division within REALTOR ranks that will be resolved one way or another in the next couple of years, and accordingly named Brandon Huber as one of my Seven Most Interesting People in Real Estate in 2021.
Thing is, despite all the press that this case garnered, I had never heard Brandon himself speak about what happened, what is going on, and what he hopes to see. Everything we know is from news stories and from his attorney, Matt Monforton, who has been on various media outlets talking about this case. I wanted to correct that.
So I am pleased to be able to interview Pastor Brandon (as his church and his lawyer call him) with his attorney, Matt Monforton, and let him present his side of the story. I dig a bit into the lawsuit, the legal theories, and what Huber's understanding of the NAR rules are. We get into his experiences and what he and his attorney hope to see from this challenge.
Please note that I have invited the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance to present their perspective in a future podcast, as I think it important to try to be as balanced as possible with a controversial topic like this one. I hope to present that interview soon.