The Struggle for Gay Rights Is Over
Fittingly, a raft of organizations committed to achieving these objectives have closed their doors. That amalgamation has itself since been fused with a group representing the families of LGBTQ soldiers. Not long after the Supreme Court delivered its decision recognizing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in , Freedom to Marry declared its job finished and wound down operations.
Later that year, the Empire State Pride Agenda, the major gay-rights organization in New York State, declared that it, too, would disband after 25 years of work. A host of other federal and state-level organizations have followed suit.
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Despite evident progress, however, many gay-rights activists are hesitant to exult in their victories. To listen to some movement grandees is to think that the situation has actually never been worse. Behind this gloominess lies the election, which many gay activists believe threatened to halt, if not reverse, all of the progress they have made. Yet while Donald Trump built his campaign upon resentment of various minority groups, gay people were conspicuously not among them. At a time when Americans are riven by tribal differences related to politics, race, gender, geography, religion, and other factors, it is hard to find another issue around which there is so much consensus as basic fairness for gay people.
No matter. Perhaps fearing that few beyond their perpetually infuriated base of die-hard supporters will listen, some gay groups have reached for dubious statistical evidence to back their claims of a Trump-induced homophobic backlash. Such findings would be alarming, if true. A closer look at both studies, however, reveals little reason for panic. By , the year Trump took office, that number declined to 49 percent—a drop of 4 percentage points. As for the report on LGBTQ homicides, it is unclear how many of the murders included in the report were actually motivated by antigay animus.
Before it was withdrawn, the paper was cited times in other academic publications. That so many people initially believed his story reflects the pervasiveness of the sentiment that a tide of homophobia descended upon America in the time since Trump became the 45th president.
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The picture is different for transgender Americans. But it is the conflation of transgender issues with the gay-rights movement, a recent development and not one undertaken without some controversy among gays and lesbians themselves, which accounts for much if not most of the evidence cited as representing regression on gay rights.
What if the larger question of gay equality in America is settled as well? The idea that gay Americans might have achieved something approaching equality goes against a central assumption of the zeitgeist, which, in this age of Trump, Brexit, and a rising global tide of nationalism and illiberalism, postulates that Enlightenment values are on the decline. If humanity itself feels to be degenerating, it sounds churlish to suggest that things might not be as bad as they seem. As it remains legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in employment, housing, and public accommodation in nearly 30 states , the Equality Act would rectify state-level disparities in antidiscrimination statutes.
High stakes for LGBT Americans at Supreme Court next week
With 69 percent of Americans telling pollsters that they would support a federal nondiscrimination law protecting LGBTQ people, such a measure is long overdue. But is it even necessary? And unlike the disparity between African Americans and whites a half century ago or today, for that matter , gays economically outperform heterosexuals. A study conducted by two Vanderbilt University economists reports that gay men earn 10 percent more on average than their straight peers. Researchers have long identified a similar trend among lesbians.
Only 13 companies won this honor in And while some businesses may discriminate against LGBTQ people in hiring, their numbers are dwindling and they regularly face pressure campaigns to change their practices. Moreover, the majority of gay people live in the 22 states where nondiscrimination statutes are already on the books.
A federal law will do nothing more to protect them. Most social movements are able to identify the extent of the problems they seek to address. Gun-control advocates, for instance, can readily give you the number of people killed every year by firearms. Anti-hunger campaigners can recite by memory the percentage of malnourished children. Blanket discrimination against gay people simply on the basis of their sexual orientation is not widespread.
According to the gay legal advocate Andrew Koppelman:. Hardly any of these cases have occurred: a handful in a country of million people. In the th Congress, Rep. Eshoo is a cosponsor of H. The legislation would extend anti-discrimination provisions in the Civil Rights Act of to include sexual orientation and gender identity. This legislation would ensure that LGBT Americans in every state enjoy the same freedom from discrimination that exists for all citizens regardless of race, sex, religion, and national origin. Eshoo has been a supporter of the Equality Act formerly known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act since it was first introduced over a decade ago, and continues to work to see that this legislation becomes law.
Discrimination in any form is unacceptable and Rep.
From Stonewall to the Present, Fifty Years of L.G.B.T.Q. Rights
Eshoo has consistently supported the enactment of laws that promote equality for all people. Transgender individuals are no different. Eshoo believes transgender individuals should be able serve openly in the military and voted against legislation to reinstate the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military that was lifted by the Department of Defense in June Council and signed into law by the Mayor of the District of Columbia The bill became law on June 11, Every year between and , the Republican leadership of the U.
Congress added a rider to the District of Columbia appropriations bill that prohibited the use of federal or local funds to implement the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act. Since the implementation of domestic partners, the benefits attached to domestic partnerships has been expanded many times. In the Health Care Decisions Act of , domestic partners were given the right to make health care decisions for their partners. And the Domestic Partnership Protection Amendment Act of amended the definition of the term "marital status" in the Human Rights Act of to include domestic partners.
The Domestic Partnership Equality Amendment Act of was a major expansion of the benefits of domestic partners. The law came into effect on April 4, This act provides that in almost all cases a domestic partner will have the same rights as a spouse regarding inheritance , probate , guardianship , and certain other rights traditionally accorded to spouses. The act also gave the right to form premarital agreements for prospective partners, and for domestic partners to not testify against their partner in court. However, it does not extend most benefits of legal marriage to domestic partners, such as the marital estate tax deduction.
The District of Columbia once again incrementally expanded the domestic partnership rights when in March , the right to jointly file local taxes as domestic partners became law with the passage of the Domestic Partnerships Joint Filing Act of According to the Washington Blade , "the law provides both rights and obligations for domestic partners in a total of 39 separate laws that touch on such areas as rental housing, condominiums, real estate transactions, nursing homes, life insurance, worker's compensation, investigations into child abuse and the police department's musical band, among other areas," thus "bringing the law to a point where same-sex couples who register as domestic partners will receive most, but not quite all, of the rights and benefits of marriage under District law.
On May 20, , the Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Act passed and signed into law allowing DC recognition of other states' domestic partnerships and amending DC laws on parentage entitlements and rights to children from adult domestic partnerships. District of Columbia. In this case, Craig Robert Dean and Patrick Gerard Gill, a couple who met all of the District's requirements for a marriage license except for being of the same sex, sought an order to compel the District to issue them a marriage license.
The Court upheld a lower court decision denying them the license, finding that the District's marriage statute did not contemplate same-sex marriages despite being gender-neutral, that denying the license did not violate District law against discrimination based on sex or sexual orientation and that denying the license did not violate the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.
On April 7, , the same day that Vermont legalized same-sex marriage, the Council voted unanimously 12—0 to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. On June 13, the Board of Elections ruled that a petition seeking to repeal the law and delay its enactment until a vote was held in a referendum, would be invalid as it would violate provisions of the Human Rights Act which specifically disallow the public's voting against several protected classes—one being, sexual orientation.
On June 30, , a D. Superior Court judge ruled against a group opposed to the new law, who wanted a referendum on the issue, and had also asked the Court to delay the enactment of the new law until the court decided the full case, and also allowed voters to weigh in. The group had filed with the Court three weeks after the passage of the new law, Judge Judith E. Retchin ruled "there was no excuse" for them to file their lawsuit so late. She also agreed with the Board's decision that allowing a vote on the issue would violate the Human Rights Act.
On November 17, the District of Columbia Board of Ethics and Elections rejected a proposed ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage,  saying that the proposed ballot measure "authorizes discrimination prohibited under the District of Columbia Human Rights Act. On December 1, , the act passed by a vote of 11—2 on its first reading.
The second reading was voted on December 15, where the measure was again passed by a vote of 11—2. The bill received the Mayor's signature on December 18 and had to survive a day congressional review period before becoming law. Marriage is the legally recognized union of 2 persons.
Senate defeated an attempt by Utah Senator Bob Bennett  to "suspend the issuance of marriage licenses to any couple of the same sex until the people of the District of Columbia have the opportunity to hold a referendum or initiative on the question".