America’s gay-rights moment is over and left a legal mess behind

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Half a decade after the Supreme Court’s same-sex-marriage decision, the justices and Congress are still trying to figure out what federal law should say about LGBTQ rights.

Roughly half of Americans think federal law bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Despite four years of nationwide same-sex marriage, despite rapidly growing cultural acceptance for LGBTQ people, despite extensive annual Pride celebrations—these Americans are wrong.

Now that all of this summer’s glitter floats have been dismantled and the rainbow confetti has been cleared, lawyers, legislators, and judges have turned back to the ongoing fight over whether federal law does, and should, specifically protect LGBTQ people from being fired, denied a rental lease, or refused service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

This year will mark several important milestones in the battle over LGBTQ discrimination. In the spring, the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, a sweeping bill that would prohibit anti-LGBTQ discrimination in all aspects of public and commercial life, without any religious exemptions.

While the bill has basically no chance of gaining traction in this Senate, if Democrats sweep Congress in 2020, it will likely be high on the party’s priority list. In the fall, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case R. G. & G. R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC & Aimee Stephens, about a former funeral director who was fired after coming out to her employer as transgender. The justices will consider whether existing workplace protections in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 already cover discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

And yet, the legal status of LGBTQ rights remains murky. As the movement has gained cultural momentum, activists have largely moved away from a posture of compromise—they believe they can win full protections for LGBTQ people in any context, without exceptions. A small but significant group of conservative religious leaders has been working the middle ground, trying to build support for a bill that would protect LGBTQ people but leave space for institutions, such as Christian colleges and Catholic hospitals, to operate according to their religious teachings.

But they’ve faced resistance from their right, with prominent pastors and conservative legal groups opposed to any kind of bill that would mark sexual orientation and gender identity as special legal categories.

As America has largely moved on from its gay-rights moment, with many Americans believing everything got taken care of with same-sex marriage, legal advocates on both sides have been left with bitter disagreements about where the country should go next—and the possibility that the status quo will perpetually remain in place.

Read on…

Comments 8

  1. Remind me again, how many sexual orientations are there and what are they called?

  2. “if Democrats sweep Congress in 2020”
    Hold your horses, the senators up for renewal in 2020 are mostly from very conservative states, no Senate “Democrats sweep” expected there. The House of Representatives already has a Democratic majority and then some, so no majority change there either even if they win more seats.

    But I agree there’s still lots of work in the USA for LGBTQ equality, especially at school and work. The bigots who don’t want “sexual orientation and gender identity as special legal categories” are real hypocrites, they are already special categories ostracized by schools, cities, counties or states in many places. And even though anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional, a few states still haven’t expunged them from their constitution, they still have laws allowing gays to be fired from their job without justification, etc. With a crazydent “leading by example” by refusing to provide health care coverage to transgenders in the Army, no wonder the bigots are having a field day, or rather 4 year mandate.

    There is not much united in the United States, where you can’t legally drive if you move to a neighboring state, with different taxes in different states, where the educational cursus in one state can be modified by nosy anti-science bigots, let alone different LGBTQ rights, as if the people from one state were different from the next one. And did I mention weed and one world citizens? ;)

  3. What is the most natural sex around for, you know, humans? What is obvious by the word, just doesn’t seem to be so “obvious” to, supposedly, thinking humans:

    Homo-sexuality …… that’s homo (for HUMANITY — remember, homo – sapiens?) and SEXUAL (I think we all know that, right?).

    So, AGAIN, just how “unnatural” IS homosexuality, anyway?

    1. I’m pretty sure it’s not “homo” as in homo sapiens, but “homo” meaning same as if homogenized and homogeneous.

  4. The phrase ‘homo sapien sapien’ is from the old Greek. It refers to the self knowing itself and recognizing such self knowing in at least one such other the self does meet. Thus so that there is a mutual conscious communicate. To communicate entails at least a two. To know is to be aware of a you to know that you know. This requires others to be aware of such as to come to be aware that they also know that they know the one they meet. Only such creatures as homo sapiens can keep secrets. SELF KNOW and KNOW YOUR SELF.KNWING YOUR SELF === homo sapien sapien. Even the most retard of retards can know they exist and are aware of others a co-selfings. Most retards can tell the difference between words that no gorilla can ever be able to, however able to, uh, speak.
    — LEARNING is not the same as KNOWING.

  5. HOMOSEXUAL is a one having a sexual preference of / with a sex with one like the self. How particular does any one want to be ? Go on and be more than that. NO ONE cuts off their head to become some body else. Surgery is in use to change the body. The self is another thing. You remain your you whatever surgery makes different. The tortures, the electro shocks, the druggings, and the new medical ultra sound brain changer for non-surgical frontal lobotomy ( and other use ) might change the brain and make a different you. IF you want another name, go change. You remain a you. You and your self has a history. Like it ? Rr not like it. .

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