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REPORT: LGBT Workers Only Have Employment Protections in Half the Country

REPORT: LGBT Workers Only Have Employment Protections in Half the Country

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The Movement Advancement Project's latest report shows not enough states have nondiscrimination ordinances set in place to protect LGBT people at work.

Only half of the U.S. population is protected by state or local laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, notes a new report, pointing up the need for nationwide antidiscrimination legislation.

The Movement Advancement Project report documents that only 22 states and the District of Columbia have laws banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation throughout the jurisdiction, with just 19 states and D.C. also addressing gender identity discrimination (at the time of the data was gathered; New York State is adding gender identity protections by executive action, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week).

In 20 states -- including typically conservative ones like Arizona, Texas, Georgia, and Louisiana -- some municipalities have ordinances banning sexual orientation discrimination, resulting in protections for a portion of each state's population. Eight states, most of which are in the South, have no cities or counties with such laws, but that number is down compared to the 17 states that had zero protections in 2004. Nondiscrimination laws are most common in urban areas.

"Today, over 69 percent of the population support the creation of laws that would protect LGBT people against discrimination in jobs and legislation has followed suit," the MAP report reads. "Combining statewide and local protections, more than 170 million Americans are living in areas with laws that explicitly protect them from being fired based on their sexual orientation, and more than 158 million are explicitly protected from discrimination based on their gender identity."

Read the full MAP report on LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances here.

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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