States’, federal protection laws the next battlefield for LGBT community

that same-sex couples have the right to marry was one hard-fought battle won for the LGBT community. However, the U.S. still has a ways to go in protecting the rights of every one of its citizens, especially when it comes to employment discrimination. “We have a crazy quilt of laws in this country when it comes to protections for LGBT people,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission protects individuals from being discriminated against in hiring based on race, age, gender, national origin and religion, but it does not protect individuals on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Griffin said that the country’s next focus will need to be on comprehensive, nationwide non-discrimination laws, in order to allow all citizens equal opportunities at jobs, housing, education and services. Currently, only 22 states have laws specifically protecting individuals from discrimination based on those characteristics. That means that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals can — legally — be denied employment, housing and other services because of sexual orientation or gender identity in 28 states. Of those states, some have considered legislation allowing for employment protection, but ultimately have had the bills blocked in one government branch or another. Ohio is one such state; despite several municipalities having anti-discrimination laws on the books, similar laws have not been able to pass statewide. However, lobbyists and equality organizations are not finished fighting for state and nationwide legislation reform. “We are committed to working with our legislators to pass statewide non-discrimination protections,” said Alana Jochum, Equality Ohio’s northeast director.]]>

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