REPORT: While Marriage Equality Expands Nationwide, Other LGBT Needs Remain Unmet
A new report by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) found that in 2012 and 2013, marriage equality expanded at a quick pace while other LGBT needs - including anti-discrimination protections for workers, safe schools for LGBT youth, and simplifying changes to identity documents - remained largely unmet.
The biennial Momentum Report has, since 2007, followed and charted the progress of the LGBT movement in achieving legal, social, and political equality. The report this year analyzes local and state laws, federal action, and visibility around marriage equality and relationship recognition, employment nondiscrimination, parental recognition and adoption laws, safe schools and anti-bullying laws, hate crimes, health, identity documents, and cultural and public visibility.
The report found that marriage equality has gained significant traction, but that equality in other areas has lagged. If you look at the 17 states that extend the freedom to marry, marriage was the culmination of a years-long journey that first included passing employment nondiscrimination protections, hate crime laws, safe schools legislation, and more, said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of MAP. Yet over half of states either haven't begun or are just in the beginning phases of this journey. They often lack even the most basic statewide legal protections, meaning gay workers can be fired just because of who they are, transgender youth can face unchecked bullying in schools, and LGBT parents can remain legal strangers to their children. These low-equality states are home to half of the nation's LGBT population, including many who experience extreme discrimination and high rates of poverty, but who are often bound to stay by their jobs and love for their communities and families.
On the federal level, several pieces of legislation which could contribute to a higher level of equality for LGBT people remain stalled in Congress - including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Every Child Deserves A Family Act, and comprehensive immigration reform.
"Unprecedented progress on marriage has led to a widespread impression that nationwide equality for LGBT people is imminent," the report states. "A closer look at the full range of LGBT rights at all levels of American society, however, reveals a different picture. While the past two years have shown incredible gains toward securing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, the LGBT movement still has a long way to go to achieve full equality and broad acceptance for LGBT people across the nation."