If you thought the Supreme Court decision regarding gay marriage gave equal rights to the LGBT community, you better think again. Only 21 states have laws protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination, three of which exclude transgender from that protection.
In any of the other states, the LGBT community can be denied a job or even fired for coming out of the closet. On that one personal factor of absolutely no relevance, they can be blocked from renting an apartment and from getting a loan to buy a house. Restaurants and stores – even doctors – can still refuse to serve anyone they believe is gay, even though a wide majority of the American public is against such discrimination.
So while the SCOTUS ruling on marriage was certainly a long-overdue improvement, it hasn’t done much besides allow the gay community to complain to actual spouses instead of lovers when they lose jobs or get thrown out of coffee shops.
There is a recent bill to correct this allowance of discrimination; Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) introduced the Equality Act in July and sent it to many committees that cover issues relevant to the bill’s intentions. The public needs to know more about this Equality Act and they need to let their legislators know of their approval, too, in order to aid its passage. That’s why the Center for American Progress just released this infographic (below) on November 23, detailing the rights still denied in so many states. (Click to enlarge the image.)
Challenges to the Equality Act were anticipated when Cicilline first introduced the bill. As a result, it was also sent to six committees that cover issues relevant to the bill’s intentions, such as House Education & Workforce and House Financial Services. The effort’s had only partial success, though.
In October, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) tried to add the Equality Act to a bill being heard by Education & Workforce, but Tennessee’s Rep. David Roe (R) blocked its addition, claiming it wasn’t relevant. A few weeks later in November, the White House issued a formal endorsement of the Equality Act as an amendment to the Civil Rights Act.
Recent surveys by the Public Religion Research Institute found that a 72-percent majority of Americans support laws that would protect the LGBT community from discrimination regarding work, housing, and public facilities. That’s even more than the number who support legal gay marriage (53 percent).
Discrimination is still widely present, though. A study by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development found 16 percent of gay partners and spouses were discriminated against when seeking a home or apartment. Forty-three percent of LGBT Americans say they’ve faced discrimination at work, and 41 percent say they’ve been physically or verbally abused at work.
Featured image from Center for American Progress (modified)