Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people (206+ million) and their families live in a state that still needs to update or clarify its laws to include protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
On January 26th, Equality Federation, alongside 30 statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) groups from Georgia Equality to Basic Rights Oregon and beyond, will launch #DiscriminationExists, a week-long education campaign to highlight the fact that despite recent victories for the freedom to marry, many states still need to update their laws to protect LGBT people from discrimination.
“Nobody should be fired or experience discrimination for being LGBT. This education campaign is a reminder that LGBT people are an integral part of our society as family members, neighbors, friends and colleagues and should be treated fairly” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of Equality Federation. [pullquote]”This education campaign is a reminder that LGBT people are an integral part of our society as family members, neighbors, friends and colleagues and should be treated fairly” —Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of Equality Federation.[/pullquote]
Equality Pennsylvania launched the campaign at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia January 27th. Ted Martin, Executive Director of Equality PA, said, “Pennsylvania is the birthplace of our nation where we proudly stand for freedom. We believe that all of us should have the freedom to live without fear of discrimination. This is an issue of basic fairness.” Martin will be joined by elected officials, business leaders, and local clergy at the official launch of the campaign on Tuesday followed by events around the state in Harrisburg, Scranton, and Pittsburgh.
Polls show that over 70% of people believe that gay and transgender people should have clear protections from discrimination. While recent court rulings and local ordinances provide some varying protections, the landscape remains a patchwork leaving many LGBT people and their families vulnerable. Equality Federation is currently working with state equality groups, business leaders, faith leaders, and community members to be sure the laws are updated. [pullquote]Polls show that over 70% of people believe that gay and transgender people should have clear protections from discrimination.[/pullquote]
Alaska, Alabama, Idaho, Montana, Virginia and West Virginia are among the many states across the country that are working to pass or update statewide nondiscrimination laws. In Florida, Missouri, and Wyoming, state groups are working in coalition with business leaders to support their statewide nondiscrimination bills. In other states like North Carolina, Oklahoma and Utah, advocates are working to secure nondiscrimination protections at the local level through municipal ordinances. LGBT Texans are working to prevent a nondiscrimination ordinance in Houston from being overturned. Indeed, this work is happening in dozens of states on multiple fronts.
Equality Federation and Human Rights Campaign recently released the State Equality Index which details the stark reality that millions of Americans are left without protections. The report gives each state a score card based on their level of nondiscrimination protections. (http://hrc.org/sei)
For more information about Equality Federation, current state laws, stories of discrimination in states around the country, planned events and the #DiscriminationExists social media campaign please visit discriminationexists.org, or contact Mark Snyder, Communications Director, at [email protected] / 617.416.0552.
Equality Federation is the strategic partner and movement builder to state-based organizations that are advancing equality in the communities we call home. Learn more at equalityfederation.org.
[From a News Release]