Rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people in the United States are comprised of a patchwork of laws in all levels of government. Currently, there are six states, plus Washington D.C., where same-sex marriages are legal. (Hamilton, 2012) Maryland has laws that recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, but does not allow same-sex marriages to occur in the state.(Davis & Wagner, 2010) Twenty-one states, plus Washington D.C., have laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.(Repa, n.d.) Adoption policies also vary greatly from state to state. LGBT rights have taken part ...view middle of the document...
It required the FBI to track crimes based on gender identity and sexual orientation. It gives the federal authorities jurisdiction to engage in hate crime prosecutions if the local authorities choose not to peruse it. The new bill also allocates five million dollars for local and state governments to prosecute hate crime related cases. (Ruff, n.d.) This law was groundbreaking as it was the first law that extended rights not only to Gays and Lesbians, but to transgender people as well.
Opposition to gay rights is mostly centered on religious opposition. Many churches along with the Republican Party have been the main opponents to equality for LGBT people. Many of these organizations have created smaller groups within themselves that focus on lobbying lawmakers to rollback or stop laws that would ensure equality. Some of these organizations are the American Family Association, the Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Save our Children, NARTH, the Alliance for Marriage, the Alliance Defend Fund, the Liberty Counsel, and the National Organization for Marriage. ("The National Organization for Marriage," n.d.) Most of these groups however have are administered by groups like the National Republican Party, the Roman Catholic Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Southern Baptist Convention among others. According to these groups, being a homosexual is a sin and therefore same-sex marriage should not be legalized. (Slick, n.d.) In addition, these extreme groups have also said that same-sex marriage rights might open the floodgates for legislation that might support extremes views on some subjects such as pedophilia, bestiality, etc.
There have been a lot of new pro-gay rights groups that have been gaining traction in the past decade. The two biggest players in the pro-equality group have been the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLADD). Some of these groups focus on specific aspects of improving the political and social condition for the LGBT people. For example, HRC mostly focuses on lobbying to gain equal healthcare rights, equal marriage rights, prevention of hate crimes, prevention of HIV/AIDS infections, and combating gay bashing in schools. HRC also provides educational resources for those coming out, as well as parents of LGBT persons. ("The HRC Story," n.d.) GLADD’s focus is mostly the image that is portrayed about LGBT individuals in the media. As part of HRC’s commitment to equality, they have created the Corporate Equality Index (CEI). ("Corporate Equality Index," n.d.) Since 2002, the CEI has rated corporations on their treatment of LGBT employees. This data is gathered through surveys and crosscheck by a dedicated team. Thanks to the CEI, a number of Fortune500 companies have included LGBT equality in their employee training and employee benefits. In 2011 there were 337 companies that achieved the top score, this...