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What's at Stake in the Fulton Case

The outcome of Fulton vs. City of Philadelphia, heard by the Supreme Court on November 4, 2020, could dramatically reshape how LGBTQ people and same-sex couples, women, people of faith, unmarried couples, and others access taxpayer-funded supports such as job training programs, food assistance, emergency shelters, disaster relief agencies, and more. If the Court rules that religiously affiliated organizations that contract with federal, state, and local governments do not have to abide by contract terms, it would upend millions of people’s access to lifesaving and necessary services.

This series of issue briefs analyze what’s at stake in the Fulton case. Ultimately, a broad ruling in favor of Fulton could leave millions of people without access to needed publicly funded services – and discrimination could become a regular occurrence when seeking needed social services or assistance.

Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project. October 2020. [Issue brief title]. www.lgbtmap.org/2020-fulton-issue-briefs. [Date of access].

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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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