Denver, CO; January 28, 2014—When it comes to marriage for same-sex couples, the past two years have brought some astonishing changes. In 2012 and 2013, 11 additional states extended the freedom to marry, while the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), resulting in federal recognition of married same-sex couples across the nation.
Yet in the midst of these historic gains, the Movement Advancement Project’s newly released 2014 Momentum Report observes that there have been fewer advances in many other areas critical to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans. For example, no new states passed laws explicitly protecting LGBT students from bullying. Similarly, over half of states still lack legislation protecting LGBT Americans from employment discrimination—and no new states passed such legislation in the last two years (though Delaware updated their law to include transgender workers).
MAP’s biennial Momentum Report details progress in the LGBT movement’s wide-ranging pursuit of fair and equal opportunity for LGBT Americans, the work left to be done, and the relatively slow advances in other areas of LGBT equality. The new report analyzes progress in 2012 and 2013 across nine different areas affecting LGBT people.
“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.”
Among the report’s findings from 2012-2013:
1. Marriage & Relationship Recognition
2. Employment Nondiscrimination
3. Parental Recognition and Adoption Laws
4. Immigration and Travel
5. Safe Schools and Anti-Bullying Laws
6. Hate Crimes
7. Health and HIV/AIDS
8. Identity Documents
9. Public Service & Cultural Visibility
“The Momentum Report provides an important reminder that LGBT Americans and their families still face many critical challenges,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality. “From passing nondiscrimination laws to creating safe schools, from accessing quality health care to ensuring legal protections for LGBT families, the legislatures in over half of the states have failed to secure even the most basic level of equality for their LGBT citizens—causing many cities and counties to take local action to help address these gaps."
“This is about basic human dignity,” said Elyzabeth Holford, executive director of Equality Ohio. “Many of our volunteers tell us they live in constant fear of being fired. They just want the opportunity to do their jobs and provide for their families. Mentioning or being seen with their families means they risk being fired. We know most Ohioan businesses and managers believe in treating people fairly, but when that good judgment breaks down, LGBT workers need basic protections under the law.”
“This report highlights a reality that LGBT Americans in Idaho know only too well,” says Monica Hopkins, executive director of the ACLU of Idaho. “While we have had some success in passing municipal nondiscrimination protections, we need to continue to build critical local-level support. We receive weekly calls from LGBT residents who have been unfairly fired, denied housing, or who want to adopt the children they are raising with their partner—and there is usually very little we can do.”
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MAP's mission is to provide independent and rigorous research, insight and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all. MAP works to ensure that all people have a fair chance to pursue health and happiness, earn a living, take care of the ones they love, be safe in their communities, and participate in civic life.