Ending Workplace Discrimination: The Next LGBT Frontier
With marriage equality well under way in most states and soon to be voted on by the Supreme Court at the federal level, LGBT activists are preparing for the next battle in achieving equality: workplace discrimination. With $25 million already financing the campaign, which includes funding from software entrepreneur Tim Gill and hedge fund managers Daniel Loeb and Paul Singer, they aim to tackle anti-discrimination laws both at the federal and state level.
There are currently only 19 states along with the District of Columbia that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Three states have laws that pertain only to gay people, leaving 28 states where statutes for civil rights do not ban discrimination against gay and transgender people. So why are anti-discrimination laws the natural next step in the fight for LGBT equality? With marriage laws being passed across the US, the general view is that these newly married LGBT people could be fired from their jobs simply because of the fact that their marriages are now recognized, thereby identifying them by their sexual orientation.
Religious conservatives argue that these anti-discrimination laws will hinder their religious freedom and the rights of employers who have moral issues with homosexuality or transgender people. Thus, conservative groups have taken action within their states, such as earlier in the year when Indiana passed a religious liberties bill that caused national outrage and required lawmakers to revisit the bill and soften the language. Conservative groups also pose that governments shouldn’t need to get involved in giving special treatment to LGBT people, but that instead the market itself is sorting it out, and that many companies already have internal policies to protect gay and transgender people in the workplace.
Not every company has an internal policy, however, and without legislation at the state or federal level, they won’t be required to. This can allow discrimination to continue to go un-checked, stripping LGBT Americans of their fundamental right to earn a living just like every other American. Success with this campaign will also positively affect a much larger population of the LGBT community. This is why campaign activists have already gotten the ball rolling, in the hopes of riding the wave of marriage equality’s momentum to affect change quickly.
Information for this article was sourced from trove.com.