3 More Equality Hurdles for the LGBT Community to Clear

Friday was a well-earned day of celebration for same-sex marriage supporters, but cries of “equality finally!” are probably premature. I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade – and certainly not anyone’s wedding – but let’s not pretend that the gay rights movement is anywhere close to over. The Supreme Court may have finally made gay marriage in all 50 states, but there are still multiple forms of legal discrimination against LGBT people in many parts of the United States.

1. Employment Discrimination

The United States still does not have a federal law protecting LGBT individuals from employment discrimination. While some states do offer these legal protections, 29 states have no such laws on the books. That means in these states that not only can employees discovered to be gay be promptly terminated without other cause, but others can be rejected during the hiring process for no other reason than their sexuality. Similarly, gay employees in these states can be denied promotions or harassed without any real legal recourse.

Without these laws in place, it’s no wonder that the LGBT poverty rate is higher than for other demographics and that gay people are disproportionately more likely to be unemployed. Until laws are put into effect to protect the gay community in the workplace, this economic disadvantage will continue.

2. Housing Discrimination

Like with employment, a majority of states in the country do not have any laws banning landlords from discriminating against tenants because of their sexualities. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development does have federal rules protecting people on the basis of gender, race, religion, disability, etc., there is no such law in place for sexual orientation.

Because of this lack of protection, LGBT people looking for a place to call home have no defense from building owners and managers who do not wish to provide them with a room. Considering that studies have shown that heterosexual couples are over 15 percent more likely to get offered housing over homosexual couples throughout the country, putting housing equality laws into place throughout the country will be important to ensure gay people have equal access to homes.

3. Blood Donation

Many Americans consider semi-regular blood donation a moral duty, but historically gay and bisexual men have been left out of this procedure. Because men who have had sex with other men are deemed at higher risk for HIV infection, they’ve been forbidden from donating blood since the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.

Progress has been made on this front: last month the FDA recommended that rules against blood donation be dropped for gay and bisexual men who have abstained for sex for at least a year. However, this policy would still implicitly condemn men for engaging in same-sex sexual activity. In an era where gay men understand the importance of safe sexual practices and all blood is carefully tested for HIV anyway, these limitations seem pointlessly discriminatory.

It Doesn’t End There

Sadly, the discrimination does not stop at these three points. In recent years, we’ve seen how conservative fundamentalists have continued to push for other laws meant to suppress the gay community even while same-sex marriage became the law in most states. Proposed legislation that would ban any discussion of homosexuality in schools, prevent gay parents from adopting and permit businesses to refuse to serve gay customers remain on the agenda.

It’s pathetic, but we can be confident that some states will make it their mission to find some legal excuse to make the lives of their LGBT citizens miserable. Let’s rejoice in the fact that the tides are clearly flowing in favor of LGBT equality… and then let’s continue to do our part to finish the job.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

43 comments

Jetana A
Jetana A2 months ago

When I sign an outdated petition and don't get back a notice that the petition is closed, I wonder if it was actually delivered.

SEND
Jetana A
Jetana A2 months ago

Article posted 3 1/2 years ago. Care2, PLEASE RETIRE OR UPDATE! I would be interested to know how these "hurdles" are today. Have conditions improved, or worsened?

SEND
Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
Jan L.
Past Member 3 years ago

All for equality NOW.

SEND
Vikram S.
Vikram S3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

SEND
Marion Friedl
Marion Friedl3 years ago

BMutiny T., 2 or 3 days ago such a bigoted woman commented a post about the new laws on my private FB wall, she said gays are all sinners, and God would punish them or so, with that comment she also offended a very dear friend of mine who lives in a lesbian partnership, has done this for over 20 years, she and her partner wanna marry in September, and after I told that woman that wer´re all equal for God, and that Maria also wasn´t a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus, she didn´t only unfriend me, no she also blocked me on FB, GOOD, don´t need intolerant people in my friends list who even offend my friends!!! And what I told about Maria, Joseph and Jesus, that Joseph was the biological father of Jesus, but Jesus was the chosen one, is what we learnt as Protestants...

SEND
Marion Friedl
Marion Friedl3 years ago

Barbara V., I couldn´t agree more, nobody chooses how, where or when he´s born, and how his disposition is, we´re all God´s children, and the bible says we´re all equal, and this I say as a hetero woman!!!

SEND
Marion Friedl
Marion Friedl3 years ago

Linda H., that´s totally wrong, it may seem that more gay people get HIV or Hepatitis B, but why? Because they´re tested more often, if every hetero person who "whored around" as we say in Germany was tested, then goodnite!!!

SEND
Marion Friedl
Marion Friedl3 years ago

Yes. WTF ain´t gay or bisexual men allowed to donate blood, or only if they had not sex for at least a year (who wants to proove this, by the way)??? It´s the same shame here in Germany, 1. every blood donation´s automatically tested on HIV, Hepatitis B and other sexual transmittable diseases, anyway, and 2. when will they finally get it that heteros can get HIV or AIDS as well if they change their partners too often??? And most of the gay or bisexual men are true, they live together with only ONE partner, but a hetero husband can go to whores or meet other women as well, where he can be infected with HIV/AIDS!!!
Stop discriminating anyone who´s different, also at work, if it´s about housing (most so-called rent-nomads are heteros, by the way) and everywhere else...

SEND
Barbara V.
Barbara V3 years ago

It is amazing to me the number of people out there who simply refuse to live and let live. Nobody in the LGBT community can help having been born into what they are, and they don't need "straight" idiots giving them a hard time. for one thing, it is stupid, and another, it's SICK. In fact, the "straights" who constantly attack LGBT's are actually the psychologically messed up ones while the LBBT's are trying to make a go of it in this wretchedly prejudiced society. I hate prejudice of any kind, and it's high time it was eradicated from the face of the earth. Now, wouldn't THAT take some doing..

SEND