Denver, May 28, 2015 — If the United States Supreme Court grants same-sex couples the freedom to marry, the majority of those couples will still face significant legal discrimination. According to a new report released today by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), 61 percent of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population in the U.S. will continue to live in states with medium or low legal protections—or that have outright hostile laws.
Mapping LGBT Equality in America tallies 34 existing laws and policies pertaining to the LGBT population and uses those tallies to place states into four categories:
California has the nation’s highest level of equality for LGBT people with a tally of 29.25 out of a possible 34, while Louisiana’s negative laws result in the nation’s lowest tally (-6 out of 34). The report is available at www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps.
IMPACT OF A U.S. SUPREME COURT MARRIAGE RULING
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court could extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples throughout the nation. Yet the report finds that the majority of those couples would still face legal discrimination simply for entering into the lifelong promise of marriage:
“Without question, a victory at the Supreme Court would be a transformative in helping advance equality for LGBT people,” said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of MAP. “However, many other laws are needed to fully protect LGBT people and their families. For example, while same-sex couples may soon be able to marry in their home state, that same state’s laws may fail to protect LGBT youth from being bullied in schools, lack nondiscrimination laws covering LGBT workers, or lack laws and policies that help transgender people update the gender marker on their identity documents. One state may have high equality while a neighboring state has hostile laws. Or, a state may have high levels of equality for gay, lesbian and bisexual people while offering almost no legal protections to transgender people.”
PROTECTIONS FOR TRANSGENDER PEOPLE
Mapping LGBT Equality in America also shows how protections for LGBT Americans vary based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Among the key findings:
“Most Americans do not personally know someone who is transgender, and therefore there is often less understanding of the added legal barriers and discrimination transgender people can face,” said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of MAP. “From health insurance discrimination that denies transgender people medically-necessary care to unnecessary barriers to changing the gender marker on driver’s licenses, transgender people often live in states with laws that compromise their health, employment, ability to rent an apartment, and more.”
Mapping LGBT Equality in America also:
In a rapidly changing legal landscape, MAP’s LGBT Equality Maps track LGBT equality, populations, and other data by state. Maps are updated daily as changes in law, policy, and legislation occur. All Equality Maps, including high-resolution JPEG versions, are available for publication. The LGBT Equality Maps allow websites to embed the maps easily and for free. Visit lgbtmap.org/equality-maps to learn more.
Click here to read the report.
###Founded in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. www.lgbtmap.org