Many people in Maryland don’t know that there are few laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination in housing, work, education and other areas. Currently, 21 states prohibit discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation, and 18 of those states also prohibit discrimination based on a person’s gender identity. However, no federal laws exist to prevent discrimination against LGBT people.
With the recent legalization of gay marriage in all 50 states, many lawmakers believe that there is an urgent need to pass federal laws to protect people in the LGBT community from discrimination. Rep. David Cicilline, who is an openly gay Congress member, said that the legalization of same-sex marriage is likely to cause LGBT people to live more openly and thus be exposed to more discrimination. An estimated 60 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, and 87 percent of Americans mistakenly believe that there are already federal non-discrimination laws protecting gays and lesbians.
Mr. Cicilline and Sen. Jeff Merkley have introduced non-discrimination bills that are aimed at protecting LGBT people from discrimination. Cicilline and Merkley want to amend existing acts that protect other groups from discrimination to include LGBT people in the list of protected classes of people. They are also reintroducing the Equality Act, which would provide broad protections for LGBT people in many different situations.
People who are facing workplace discrimination may want to find out from a lawyer the scope of the legal protections they have. A lawyer can assist in filing a claim for wrongful termination or unfair treatment with the appropriate agency. Workplace discrimination can happen during the hiring process, while a person is working or when a person is fired or denied a promotion.