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LGBT Discrimination

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There are many laws in place to prevent or discourage discrimination. Laws that protect people in the workplace, in activities held on federally funded properties and against violent crimes based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person. These laws have all been lacking in protection for LGBT persons. Most states do have laws addressing hate crimes and a large number of those do include crimes against LGBT persons but states do vary in their list of protected classes and a few states have no laws addressing hate crimes at all. Federal laws were lacking in LGBT protection in it’s hate crime laws until recently when On October 28, 2009 President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded existing United States federal hate crime law to apply to crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.(Social Problems page 125)

Some states have their own exceptions but protection under federal laws does not extend far beyond hate crimes. There are no workplace protections, privileges of marriage/family and many other antidiscrimination laws that have not been extended to LGBT persons. According to the law currently in place called DOMA, the federal government will not accept marriage licenses granted to same-sex couples, regardless of state laws. The DOMA denies federal benefits available to married couples such as adoption, social security and inheritance.(Social Problems page 126) There are a few good reasons to allow gay marriage, first being fewer physical and mental health problems. When a persecuted group is no longer persecuted, but allowed to live like everybody else, they enjoy fewer health problems.

A recent study published in The American Journal of Public Health found that 12 months after gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts, there were significantly fewer health problems among gay men.(www.yourtango.com) Acceptance can also be a big factor, being allowed to fit in and live like your neighbors improves self-esteem and helps people make better choices about career, relationships and other important lifestyle issues. Your sense of moral worth and ability to see yourself as an equal and a valuable contributor to society are heightened. Most states have restrictions on adoption for gay and lesbian couples but academic research has consistently indicated that gay parents and their children do not differ significantly from heterosexual parents and their children.

There is little or no evidence that the children of gay or lesbian parents are disadvantaged in any important way.(Social Problems page 133) Military service in the United States is another institution in which homosexuals face discrimination and even exclusion. Several commanders have stated that they believe allowing openly gay or lesbian people in the military will hurt morale and diminish performance because these new dynamics will create trust issues among our troops. Many other nations allow gay and lesbian persons to serve in their military with no adverse effects. One survey even revealed that 75% of 500 service members returning from Afghanistan were comfortable interacting with gay people.

Many valuable assets from soldiers to linguists are lost because of our military policies.(Social Problems page 134-135) Workplace discrimination is one of the most persistent problems facing LGB people. Between 16% and 46% of LGB people have experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation. Reviews of existing studies have shown somewhere between one quarter and two thirds of LGB people report losing their jobs or missing promotions because of their sexual orientation. Other studies have compared gay workers with hetrosexual workers that have similar backgrounds and qualifications found that gay workers earn less.(Social Problems page 128)

There is no sound reasoning to allow discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation. Nothing says they can’t do their jobs just as well as anyone else or that their lifestyle would in any way affect their work performance. People who are members of a protected class face institutional, cultural and personal bias, intimidation, discrimination and threats of violence merely on the basis of being a member of that class. These people face unfair discrimination and bias in matters of employment, finance, health and legal issues, and in some places are actively discriminated against by the state, and the institutions in place that are designed to better human lives.

Any group of people who are commonly discriminated against should have protection. There is no question of an anti-gay bias in society. Adding LGBT people to the list of protected classes will ensure that the state and those institutions associated with it are not actively or passively discriminating against that group of citizens merely for being a member of that group.(www.quora.com)

Leon-Guerrero, Anna. Social Problems, 3rd Ed + Social Problems Interactive E-book. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge, 2011. Print.(page 125,



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