The Policy Gap
Existing policies do not sufficiently protect all LGBTQ people in the U.S. from discrimination and do not support their economic well-being fairly & equally.
Almost half (45%) of Americans erroneously believed LGBTQ consumers to be covered under U.S. Civil Rights laws in 2019. But, in fact, LGBTQ people still live without protection from harassment and unfair treatment in school, in the workplace, and in the market in many parts of the country.
Sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) are not included as enumerated protected classes under the Civil Rights Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, or Fair Housing Act (though some courts have interpreted “sex” discrimination to encompass SOGI, in certain regions and contexts).
LGBTQ Protections in Credit & Financial Services
Without federal protection, LGBTQ Americans rely upon a “patchwork” of state and municipal laws to protect themselves. But only a few can:
- 71% of LGBTQ Americans (~10.5M people) live in states with no protection from discrimination in credit transactions.
- But in 4-out-of-14 states WITH protections, religious exemption law can be used as a defense to that state anti-discrimination law.
Federal recognition of sexual and gender identity minorities under present Civil Rights Laws–by Court or Congressional action (e.g. the Equality Act)–would empower regulators and citizens to vindicate consumers’ right to be free from unfair anti-LGBTQ bias in markets for employment, education, and in financial service, insurance, and real estate transactions.
Other Needed Reforms
In addition to inclusion under present civil rights laws, LGBTQ Americans need other state and federal policy reforms to obtain equitable treatment in government programs, benefits, and policies that guarantee their full and fair inclusion in the broader economy.
Goals for LGBTQ households and communities will continuously evolve, but some present examples of needed policies include policies creating fair treatment under paid-family leave for chosen family and medical leave laws, new LGBTQ data collection requirements under government agencies, and new state programs to support community development, housing, and health access for LGBTQ households, organizations, and communities.
The Policy Gap on the Blog:
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