Next Fight for Gay Rights: Bias in Jobs and Housing

Jun 30, 2015

by Erik Eckholm

Exhilarated by the Supreme Court’s endorsement of same-sex marriage, gay rights leaders have turned their sights to what they see as the next big battle: obtaining federal, state and local legal protections in employment, housing, commerce and other arenas, just like those barring discrimination based on race, religion, sex and national origin.

The proposals pit advocates against many of the same religious conservatives who opposed legalizing same-sex marriage, and who now see the protection of what they call religious liberty as their most urgent task. These opponents argue that antidiscrimination laws will inevitably be used to force religious people and institutions to violate their beliefs, whether by providing services for same-sex weddings or by employing gay men and lesbians in church-related jobs.

Nationally, antidiscrimination laws for gay people are a patchwork with major geographic inequities, said Brad Sears, executive director of the Williams Institute at the School of Law of the University of California, Los Angeles. “Those who don’t live on the two coasts or in the Northeast have been left behind in terms of legal protection,” he said.

At least 22 states bar discrimination based on sexual orientation, and most of them also offer protections to transgender people.


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5 comments on “Next Fight for Gay Rights: Bias in Jobs and Housing

  • There can be a reverse discrimination. Gay couples tend to take better care of rental properties than straight males.

    One trouble I had with a landlord. Every my lover and I had sex, he would climb up the fire escape and peer in. He claimed he was just “scaring away the pigeons”. I got the apartment by subterfuge. I took a female friend with me who gushed about the apartment, but never said she would be living there.



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  • Good luck with that – discrimination against afro-americans has been illegal in the USA for generations but it hasn’t stopped the relentless ‘hate war’ that the US media, Government, law enforcement and special interest groups continues to wage openly against USA citizens. Gay Rights (which in reality is Human Rights) will no doubt face they same tortuous future. But it’s a step in the right direction.



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  • gay rights leaders have turned their sights to what they see as the next big battle: obtaining federal, state and local legal protections in employment, housing, commerce and other arenas, just like those barring discrimination based on race, religion, sex and national origin…The proposals pit advocates against many of the same religious conservatives who opposed legalizing same-sex marriage, and who now see the protection of what they call religious liberty as their most urgent task

    In California back in the 60s we had the same battle with Fair Housing Legislation focused principally on opening segregated housing markets to African Americans. There were strong covenants in place among real estate brokers and homeowner associations that prohibited the sale of homes to black families in all-white neighborhoods. The blanket justification for keeping the covenants in force devolved to the principle of individual property rights during the debate. It was argued that while nobody approved of racial prejudice, the individual property owner had the right to sell (or not to sell) to anyone he or she wanted.

    Now we are confronted with the old juvenile defense masking passive aggression and discrimination, usually delivered with considerable sarcasm, “It’s against my religion.” It’s against my religion to hire gays; to rent to gays; to sell goods and services to gays so please respect my religion, my property rights and leave me alone. The courts ruled against those ‘defenses” over 65 years ago and found them substantively designed to violate civil rights and equal protection under the law. Religious bigots should be stopped short in their tracks when trundling out this specter to do battle with legal precedent and court orders outlawing discrimination, in cases going forward, because of sexual orientation.



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  • “Freedom of religion” means that a given religious group have the RIGHT to force their beliefs on everyone. Well, that is their freedom…their rights!! Just think of the Hobby Lobby decision by a majority in the US Supreme Court, all 5 of which are Roman Catholics. What would have been the decision if all 9 justices were atheists?



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