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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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Family Leave Laws

State family leave laws covering same-sex couples govern whether an LGBT person can take leave from work to care for his/her same-sex spouse or partner.

United States Map
Vermont New Hampshire Washington D.C. Maryland Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Alaska Hawaii California Oregon Washington Nevada Utah Arizona Idaho Montana Wyoming Colorado 33 Texas North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Minnesota Iowa Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Mississippi Florida Georgia Tennessee South Carolina North Carolina Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Indiana Kentucky Ohio West Virginia Maine New York Pennsylvania Virginia Vermont New Hampshire
  • Law grants workers leave to care for a same-sex partner, even if couple is not legally recognized(4 states + D.C.)
  • Law grants workers leave to care for a same-sex partner, but only if couple is in a legally recognized relationship (8 states)
  • State lacks leave law (38 states)
  • State leave law includes pay during time off (4 states)
As of March 27, 2015, married workers within same-sex couples will be eligible for federal FMLA leave to care for a spouse, regardless of whether they reside in a state that recognizes their marriage.

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

11%

11 % of LGBT population lives in states where workers can take leave to care for a same-sex partner, even if the couple is not legally recognized

23%

23 % of LGBT population lives in states where workers can take leave to care for a same-sex partner, but only if the couple is in a legally recognized relationship

66%

66 % of LGBT population lives in states lacking leave law

24%

24 % of LGBT population lives in states that provide pay during time off

State family leave laws govern whether a person can take leave from work to care for a child. Barriers to parental recognition for same-sex couples raising children often mean that one parent lacks legal ties to the child or children they are raising. Parents who are not legal parents may be denied this leave unless the state recognizes parents in loco parentis.

United States Map
Vermont New Hampshire Washington D.C. Maryland Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Alaska Hawaii California Oregon Washington Nevada Utah Arizona Idaho Montana Wyoming Colorado 33 Texas North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Minnesota Iowa Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Mississippi Florida Georgia Tennessee South Carolina North Carolina Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Indiana Kentucky Ohio West Virginia Maine New York Pennsylvania Virginia Vermont New Hampshire
  • Law grants workers leave to care for a child for whom the worker is parenting, even if the worker lacks a legal or biological relationship to the child(8 states + D.C.)
  • Law grants workers leave to care for a child only if the worker has a legal or biological relationship to the child (8 states)
  • State lacks leave law (34 states)
  • State leave law includes pay during time off (4 states)
Workers caring for children who are not their legal children can still take federal FMLA leave as the federal government does not require the person acting as a parent to be a legal parent to the child. Maryland's leave law does not explicitly define child; the Commissioner on Labor and Industry has proposed regulations that would adopt the federal Family Medical Leave Act rules and regulations. Washington has passed a paid leave law, but it is not yet funded.

* Leave available for parents upon the adoption of a child under the age of seven only

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

31%

31 % of LGBT population lives in states where workers can take leave to care for a child for whom the worker is parenting, even if the worker lacks a legal or biological relationship to the child

12%

12 % of LGBT population lives in states where workers can take leave to care for a child only if the worker has a legal or biological relationship to the child

58%

58 % of LGBT population lives in states lacking leave law

24%

24 % of LGBT population lives in states that provide pay during time off

Key
  • State has this law Leave law permits leave
  • Leave law includes pay during time off
  • State does not have this law Leave law does not permit leave
State State leave law permits leave for same-sex spouse or partner regardless of relationship status State leave law permits leave only for a legally recognized spouse/partner State leave law permits leave for a child, regardless of legal tie to worker State leave law permits workers leave for a child only if the worker has a legal or biological relationship to the child Federal FMLA law permits leave for a same-sex spouse Federal FMLA law permits leave for a child, regardless of legal tie to worker
Alabama State has this law State has this law
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Data current as of 11/22/2016
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