Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
The ENDA has yet to pass in congress. Currently only 13 states and the District of Columbia protect against sexual orientation and gender identity. An additional 7 states have protection for sexual orientation only.
Amend the Fair Housing Act to Include Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, financing of or other housing-related transactions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or disability. But it does not protect people against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
14 states have their own laws that do protect against sexual orientation, but of those, only 4 have protection based on gender identity.
Repeal DOMA and Make Marriage a Right for All Americans
Among the state rights, protections and responsibilities that come along with marriage are:
* automatic inheritance
* child custody/parenting/adoption rights
* hospital visitation
* medical decision-making power
* standing to sue for wrongful death of a spouse
* divorce protections
* spousal/child support
* access to family insurance policies
* exemption from property tax upon death of a spouse
* immunity from being forced to testify against one's spouse
* domestic violence protections, and more.
A marriage license also confers 1,138 federal protections, rights and responsibilities upon married couples in the areas of:
* Social Security benefits
* immigration law
* the Family and Medical Leave Act
* health insurance and continuation of health coverage (COBRA)
* retirement plans
* federal tax laws, and many more.
These federal protections are denied to same-sex couples, including those married in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) excludes gay and lesbian married couples from these protections, declaring that only opposite-sex married couples can access them.
Twenty-six states have constitutional amendments explicitly barring the recognition of same-sex marriage, confining civil marriage to a legal union between a man and a woman. Forty-three states have statutes restricting marriage to two persons of the opposite sex, including some of those that have created legal recognition for same-sex unions under a name other than "marriage."
Change Adoption Laws
Seven states restrict gay couples from adopting (Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, Utah, and Wisconsin), although some of these do allow gay individuals to adopt. For a report on adoption laws state by state, click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
Repeal ALL Sodomy Laws
Although sodomy laws were invalidated by the Supreme Court in 2003, they remain in effect for members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Also, North Carolina, Virginia, and Oklahoma still attempt to enforce their Sodomy laws.
Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. Since it’s inception, over 12,000 members of the U.S. Armed Forces have been discharged with taxpayers covering over $400 million in associated costs.