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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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Nondiscrimination Laws

Many LGBT people experience discrimination when going about their daily activities–whether eating at a restaurant with their families or friends, trying to obtain safe, clean housing, or applying for a loan. Federal, state, and local nondiscrimination need to be updated to ensure that LGBT people participate fully in society and provide for themselves and their families.

The resources on this page examine the landscape of nondiscrimination laws across the United States.

Related Resources

New Campaign

Top Corporations, Civil Rights Advocates and 1,200+ Businesses Join Open to All!

July 2018 - Some of the nation’s largest companies including Yelp and Levi Strauss & Co. joined with more than 1,200 small businesses, the cities of New York and Oakland, and a coalition of more than 190 organizations to unveil a new nationwide Open to All campaign. This initiative is focused on encouraging businesses large and small to join together, to declare that they are “open to all.” To learn more, visit www.OpenToAll.com

Video

Kids Pay the Price (Updated)

July 2018 - When states allow child services decisions to be based on religious beliefs and not the best interests of kids, it’s kids who pay the price. Learn more in this powerful new ad from MAP that FOX News Channel refused to air. For more on the campaign, visit KidsPayThePrice.org.

Report

CREATING A LICENSE TO DISCRIMINATE: 2018 FEDERAL CHILD WELFARE AMENDMENT

July 2018 – An amendment to a federal appropriations bill seeks to create a license to discriminate for child welfare providers, prioritizes the interests of providers over the welfare of children, reduces the likelihood that the most vulnerable children will find stability, and cuts more than $1.04 billion to state child welfare budgets. The more than 395,000 children in the child welfare system across the country will pay the price.

Report

Understanding Masterpiece Cakeshop And Similiar Cases About Service Refusals

June 2018 – In June, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. This guide offers background, frequently asked questions and topline messages to facilitate conversations about the case and similar cases about service refusals.

Video

Nursing Home Ad

June 2018 – Nursing Home is the latest in a series of ads illustrating the devastating harms many LGBT Americans face because have they no legal protection from discrimination. The new video features an older gay man and his family on the first day he moves into an assisted living facility. When the director of the facility learns the man is gay, he refuses to allow him to move in. No matter their age, and no matter who they love, no one should be turned away from a business or service provider simply because of who they are.

Video

Open to All: Join the Campaign Ad

June 2018 – The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Masterpiece case affirmed that states can protect LGBT people from discrimination. Now it’s time for our nation’s laws to catch up to our nation’s values and protect all Americans from discrimination. Join the campaign to call on businesses to declare that they oppose discrimination and that they are Open to All. Visit www.OpenToAll.com to learn more.

Report

Putting Children at Risk: How Efforts to Undermine Marriage Equality Harm Children

June 2018 – Authored by MAP and the Family Equality Council Putting Children at Risk: How Efforts to Undermine Marriage Equality Harm Children highlights how recent efforts to undermine marriage equality and protections for LGBT families pose a profound threat to the children in these families.

Report

The Power of State Preemption: Preventing Progress and Threatening Equality

May 2018 - The Power of State Preemption: Preventing Progress and Threatening Equality exposes the coordinated effort to limit municipalities from passing local laws, the special interests motivating these efforts, and the negative impact specifically on LGBT people. The report concludes that when preemption is used in this way to undermine people’s economic security, health, and safety, it jeopardizes local democracy and equality for all.

Report

Religious Refusals in Health Care: A Prescription for Disaster

March 2018 - MAP and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) released a new report, Religious Refusals in Health Care: A Prescription for Disaster, examining the coordinated efforts at the federal and state level to allow medical providers to legally discriminate and deny needed care. These policies could encourage doctors, hospitals, paramedics, and other medical providers to pick and choose which patients they will treat, and who receives medically-necessary treatment.

Video

Will We Go Back?

March 2018 - To mark the 50th anniversary of the Piggie Park decision, the Open to All campaign, MAP, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights released an ad, “Will We Go Back?,” that looks at how the Masterpiececase before the Supreme Court threatens this historic Civil Rights Ruling ruling.

Policy Brief

50 Years Ago vs. Today: Piggie Park & The High Stakes of the Masterpiece Cakeshop Case

March 2018 - Learn more about the Piggie Park decision and how creating a constitutional license to discriminate in Masterpiece could undermine that historic ruling. “50 Years Ago vs. Today: Piggie Park & The High Stakes of the Masterpiece Cakeshop Case”

Video

Open to All

March 2018 - "Open to All" is the latest in a series of ads produced by MAP as part of the Open to All public education campaign. The video features Christian small business owners—Howard and Pat—speaking about how nobody should be turned away from a business simply because of who they are.

Policy Brief

Creating a License to Discriminate: First Amendment Defense Act

Updated March 2018 - To explain why the First Amendment Defense Act is so devastating and should not be re-introduced, this brief provides an analysis of the Senate version of FADA introduced in March 2018 and what it could mean for 10 million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, along with millions of others. The brief underscores how vigilant we must be to ensure that a license to discriminate is not written into our laws.

Video

Funeral Home

February 2018 - Inspired by a real legal case, Funeral Home, the latest in a series of ads produced by MAP as part of the Open to All campaign, depicts a grieving widow who has just lost her spouse, and she and her family are turned away from a funeral home and refused burial services for her wife. The ad is meant to show how a loss in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case would open the door to much wider ranging forms of discrimination—including what the grieving widow in the ad faced.

Policy Brief

"Funeral Home": The High Stakes of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case

February 2018 -Released in February 2018, a new public education ad, Funeral Home, produced by MAP, depicts a devastating scenario in which a grieving widow and her family are turned away from a funeral home and refused burial services for her wife. This policy brief outlines how the "Funeral Home" ad depicts the high stakes of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.

Infographic

LGBT Employees & Title VII

Updated March 2018 - Several courts are considering cases brought by LGBT employees who have been discriminated against at work because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. This two page infographic offers an explanation of why Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is so important for LGBT employees and reviews the legal landscape.

Policy Brief

Kids Pay the Price: How Discriminatory Adoption and Foster Care Laws Harm Children

 February, 2018  - This policy brief, authored by MAP and the Family Equality Council, in partnership with the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), offers a snapshot of the impact of discriminatory foster and adoption laws on the thousands of children waiting to be adopted in the seven states where these laws currently exist, the high stakes of passing similar laws in other states, and offers recommendations for supporting children in care.

Video

Movie Theater

January 2018 -MAP’s latest ad, launched alongside the new LGBT Policy Spotlight: Public Accommodations Nondiscrimination Laws report, depicts how transgender people can experience discrimination, harassment and denial of equal treatment in places of public accommodation.

Report

LGBT Policy Spotlight: Public Accommodations Nondiscrimination Laws

January 2018 - This spotlight report provides a comprehensive overview of the patchwork of federal, state, and local protections against discrimination in public spaces, and how this puts LGBT people at risk.

Video

"We Don't Serve Your Kind Here"

November 2017 - This video ad illustrates how Masterpiece could lead to a wider array of people—including LGBT people and families of color—facing discrimination, while helping other viewers imagine how they would feel if they faced similar discrimination. The ad was produced by MAP as part of the Open to All campaign. Learn more at www.OpentoAll.com.

Video

License to Discriminate

November 2017 - This video ad depicts ways in which a decision in favor of the bakery in this case could be used by those who seek to discriminate against LGBT people and others. The ad was produced by MAP as part of the Open to All campaign. Learn more at www.OpentoAll.com.

Policy Brief

Issue Brief: The Broader Dangers of the Masterpiece Cakeshop Case

November 2017 - This issue brief provides an analysis of the legal questions in the case, and the broad legal implications the case will have on people color, women, minority faiths, people with disabilities and others.

Video

Video: Understanding Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

November 2017 - MAP Executive Director Ineke Mushovic discusses the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, and how a loss at the Supreme Court would not only open the door to much wider ranging forms of discrimination, but also to a wider array of people who could face such discrimination. This video was produced by MAP as part of the Open to All campaign. Learn more at www.OpentoAll.com.

Infographic

Infographic: Masterpiece Cakeshop: The Dangerous Right-to-Discriminate Case

November 2017 - This infographic was designed as part of the Open to All campaign and shows how a loss in Masterpiece would open the door to much wider ranging forms of discrimination and a wider array of people facing discrimination. It could lead to the erosion of federal and state nondiscrimination protections across the country. Learn more at www.OpentoAll.com

Report

Kids Pay the Price: How Religious Exemptions for Child Welfare Services Harm Children

 September 2017  - This report details how religious exemptions for child welfare providers hurt children and vulnerable families. Agencies that provide services to children and parents should focus on providing loving, stable homes for children and helping families in need. Instead, these laws encourage and enable adoption agencies and their workers to reject qualified parents who don’t share the agency’s or worker’s religious beliefs.

Policy Brief

License to Discriminate: Texas House Bill 3859

April 2017 - Texas House Bill 3859 would allow child-placement agencies to impose their beliefs on and discriminate against children and families while providing taxpayer-funded services. Agencies would be allowed to make placement decisions based on their religious beliefs, hurting the more than 28,000 children in the care of the state, including nearly 7,000 children awaiting adoption.

Report

Separation and Stigma: Transgender Youth & School Facilities

April 2017 - This new report examines the harmful and unnecessary policies that exclude transgender students from accessing appropriate school facilities. Despite the success of inclusive policies across the country, seventeen states have introduced legislation designed to ensure transgender students are relegated to facilities that align with the sex on their birth certificate, rather than their gender identity.

Policy Brief

License to Discriminate: Alabama House Bill 24 & Senate Bill 145

March 2017 - Alabama House Bill 24 and Senate Bill 145 would allow child-placement agencies to make placement decisions based on their own religious beliefs, hurting the more than 4,745 children in the care of the state of Alabama, including more than 1,020 children who are awaiting adoption. HB24/SB145 would allow agencies to impose their beliefs on and discriminate against children and families while providing taxpayer-funded services.

Guide

Talking About Religious Exemptions & Service Discrimination

March 2017 - Several states have proposed legislation to allow businesses to discriminate against customers who don’t conform to the specific religious beliefs that marriage should be restricted to a man and a woman, and that sex should be restricted to such marriages. Learn how to have effective conversations and broaden people's understanding of these laws and how they encourage discrimination against same-sex couples, unmarried couples and individuals, single parents, and others.

Policy Brief

License to Discriminate: How Religious Exemption Legislation For Social Services Agencies Harms Children

THIS REPORT HAS BEEN UPDATED
March 2017 - Read about religious exemption legislation that would allow child placement and adoption agencies to discriminate against loving families while providing government services paid for with taxpayer money. These laws enable adoption agencies and their workers to reject parents who don’t share the agency’s or worker’s religious beliefs, legally prioritizing those beliefs over the best interests of children.

Guide

Talking About Religious Exemptions & Adoption Discrimination

March 2017 - Some states have introduced legislation to create broad religious exemptions allowing discrimination in taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care services. Such laws would allow adoption agencies and child services workers to make decisions for children in their care based on their religious beliefs, rather than the best interests of the child. Learn how to talk about these harmful laws which deprive children of loving homes.

Policy Brief

License to Discriminate: South Dakota Senate Bill 149

March 2017 - Senate Bill 149 allows child-placement agencies to make placement and child treatment decisions based on their own religious beliefs, as opposed to following standards that advance the best interests of children. SB 149 would allow child-placement agencies to impose their beliefs on others and to discriminate against children and families, all while providing services paid for with taxpayer money.

Report

Mapping Transgender Equality in the United States

February 2017 - To help make sense of the current policy landscape in the states, this report looks at legal equality for transgender people across the country. The gender identity tally is comprised of 25 state laws and policies in five key categories: Non-Discrimination, LGBT Youth, Health and Safety, Ability to Correct the Name and Gender Marker on Identity Documents, and Adoption and Parenting.

Guide

Talking About Transgender Students & School Facilities Access

January 2017 - As part of ongoing efforts to protect transgender people from discrimination, there is growing momentum to ensure that transgender students have a fair chance at educational success. This guide provides high-level messaging to help build support for policies and laws that protect transgender students and their ability to access school facilities that match their gender identity.

Guide

Talking About Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBT People

Updated January 2017 - Learn about conversation approaches that can help build and sustain solid, lasting support for LGBT nondiscrimination laws, and also factually and effectively address concerns that might be raised when discussing the need for such protections. En español: Cómo hablar sobre protecciones antidiscriminatorias para personas LGBT

Map

LGBT Policy Tally Snapshots

August 2016 - Policy Tallies provide an overview of laws and polices that exist in each state. The major categories of laws covered by the policy tally include: Marriage and Relationship Recognition, Adoption and Parenting, Non-Discrimination, Safe Schools, Health and Safety, and the Ability for Transgender People to Correct the Gender Marker on Identity Documents.

Map

Non-Discrimination Laws

August 2016 - Non-discrimination laws protect LGBT people from employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, and other discrimination.

Map

Local Employment Non-Discrimination Ordinances

August 2016 - Local employment non-discrimination ordinances protect people from being unfairly fired, not hired, or discriminated against in the workplace by private employers on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Map

State Religious Exemption Laws

August 2016 - State religious exemption laws permit people, churches, non-profit organizations, and sometimes corporations to seek exemptions from state laws that burden their religious beliefs. These laws have recently been used as a defense when businesses discriminate against or refuse service to LGBT customers and same-sex couples.

Report

The Facts: Bathroom Safety, Nondiscrimination Laws, and Bathroom Ban Laws

July 2016 - The Facts: Bathroom Safety, Nondiscrimination Laws, and Bathroom Ban Laws provides a thorough and rational discussion of the legal landscape pertaining to nondiscrimination laws, bathroom ban laws, and restroom safety.

Report

Talking About Religious Exemptions Laws

May 2016 - Read about approaches for effective conversations about harmful religious exemptions that threaten not only laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination, but also access to health care (including women's reproductive health), public safety, and more.

Report

Guía para aliados: cómo hablar sobre protecciones antidiscriminatorias para personas LGBT

Noviembre 2015 - Encontrará enfoques comprobados para ayudar a construir y mantener un apoyo sólido y duradero a favor de leyes antidiscriminatorias para personas LGBT y también aborda de manera objetiva y eficaz las dudas que podrían surgir cuando se habla de la necesidad de tener tales leyes.

Report

LGBT Policy Spotlight: Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBT People

October 2015 - LGBT Policy Spotlight: Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBT People examines federal, state, and local laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination, the perfect tool to educate everyone from elected officials to classmates to family and friends about the important need for basic protections.

Report

LGBT Policy Spotlight: Local Employment Nondiscrimination Ordinances

October 2015 - LGBT Policy Spotlight: Local Employment Nondiscrimination Ordinances examines city and county nondiscrimination ordinances (NDOs) that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in private employment. The report details where these ordinances are geographically, their growth over time, and the gaps in coverage that remain.

Guide

An Ally's Guide to Talking About Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBT People

April 2015 - Learn about conversation approaches that can help build and sustain solid, lasting support for LGBT nondiscrimination laws, and also factually and effectively address concerns that might be raised when discussing the need for such protections.

Report

Issue Briefs: Protecting LGBT Workers

June 2014 - New state-focused issue briefs provide overviews of the unfair treatment faced by hardworking LGBT Americans who continue to lack essential protections against discrimination—and as a result, can still be unfairly fired from their jobs simply because of who they are.

Report

A Broken Bargain: Unchecked Discrimination Against LGBT Workers

May 2014 - LGBT Americans continue to face unfair treatment, harassment and discrimination in the workplace, yet no federal law provides them with explicit legal protections. Learn how businesses and policymakers can help level the playing field and protect LGBT workers from employment discrimination.

Report

An Impossible Choice: LGBT Workers & Family Leave Laws

November 2013 - Learn how discriminatory laws and unequal access to family and medical leave laws force lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers to choose between managing medical or family crises and holding onto their jobs and their livelihoods.

Report

A Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers of Color

November 2013 - LGBT workers of color face unique challenges, including educational barriers; hiring bias and on-the-job discrimination; unequal pay, benefits, and taxation--and extraordinarily high rates of unemployment and poverty as a result. Learn about actions that can help fix this broken bargain for LGBT workers of color.

Report

A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers

September 2013 - The basic American bargain--that those who work hard and meet their responsibilities should be able to get ahead--is broken for transgender workers. Learn about the inequities facing transgender workers, and how policymakers and employers can help reduce and eliminate those inequities.

Report

A Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits and More Taxes for LGBT Workers

June 2013 - LGBT workers might have the same job as a coworker, yet be legally fired, denied equal benefits and be required to pay thousands of dollars more in taxes simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Learn more in the 132-page Full Report, the 36-page Condensed Version, and the five-page Executive Summary.

Infographic

A Broken Bargain: Infographics

June 2013 - From the pages of A Broken Bargain come a set of infographics, including: 'The Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers,' 'Legal Discrimination Makes It Harder to Find and Keep a Good Job,' 'Transgender Workers Work As Hard, Denied Health Care and Leave,' and more.

Report

Issue Brief: The Need for an Executive Order

April 2013 - U.S. taxpayers send almost $300 billion per year in federal contract dollars to businesses in states that have not yet passed laws to protect LGBT workers from discrimination. An executive order would protect an additional 16 million workers and cover more than 20% of the U.S. workforce.

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