Review the specific goals that need to be achieved to have legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Americans...
The following Equality Goals represent those rights and protectionsneeded to achieve the same human rights for everyone:
EQUALITY GOAL 1 (ACHIEVED): Federal Hate Crimes Protection
Expand Hate Crimes legislation to also include the real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity or expression of the victim. President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act on October 28, 2009 and thus our first Equality Goal was achieved.
EQUALITYGOAL 2: Protection from Discrimination
Protect from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, in the workplace (private and governmental) and in housing, public accommodation, shared facilities, and credit. Also, non-discrimination in federally funded programs or activities.
EQUALITY GOAL 3 (ACHIEVED): Military - Don't Ask Don't Tell
Lift the ban on gays, lesbians and transgenders serving openly by repealing the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. Depenalize sodomy by revoking article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice Modify medical and uniform military regulations that do not respect gender identity and expression. President Obama signed the repeal into law on December 22, 2010.
EQUALITY GOAL 4: Marriage Equality
Beyond gay marriage, or lesbian marriage, or same sex marriage: it is a matter of civil marriage equality now, like in the Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Belgium, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, New Zealand, France (in Mexico, same sex marriages can be performed only in Mexico City, but they are then recognized in the whole nation and in Brazil where notaries cannot deny same sex marriages to get married). This goal requires repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
INTERIM GOAL 4A: Federal Protections for Couples
Instituting stopgap equalities including social security benefits and partner immigration equality. Notice that repealing DOMA does not guarantee equal protections for same sex couples (especially in the case that they live in a state in which there is marriage discrimination). Therefore, specific federal legislation is needed to bring equality to all couples who are legally married.
INTERIM GOAL 4B: Civil Unions/Domestic Partnerships
Creating temporary solutions in states where marriage equality now is not possible due to constitutional amendments.
INTERIM GOAL 4C: Repeal the Federal Marriage Amendment Act (DOMA)
DOMA is very brief and has three sections. Secion 1 is the title. Section 2 allows states not to recognize same sex marriages from other jurisdictions (in most states same sex marriages are forbidden in the State Constitution). Section 3 defines marriage, for the Federal Government purposes, as only between one man and one woman.
EQUALITY GOAL 5: Freedom of Gender
Add gender identity and expression to laws that currently protect other discriminated groups such as Hate Crimes and ENDA. Allow individuals the freedom to designate their gender on government records such as birth certificates, drivers licenses, passports, and social security databases. Require medical insurance to cover both routine healthcare and specialized medical care for transgender people as recommended by their physicians.
EQUALITY GOAL 6: Protecting Youth
Protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in schools, foster care, and the juvenile justice system. Support the passage of anti-bullying legislation and support gay-straight alliances in schools.
EQUALITY GOAL 7: Same Gender Parenting Rights
Ensure same sex parenting and adoption rights in all states. Grant same gender couples the same rights and responsibilities that are now granted to heterosexual couples regarding adoption, foster care, child custody and visitation, and surrogacy/insemination.
The order of the listing above is determined by a combination of impact, reachability, and cost, and it does not necessarily imply priority. There are two Interim Goals (Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships) that are not necessary if Equality Goal 4 (Marriage Equality) is achieved.
>>> Check our Scorecard for the status of the Equality Goals on each state. Or take the Equal and Gay Quiz to check if you know how many rights LGBT people have in your state.
>>> Check the Equality Goals written as federal legislation in our Blueprint for LGBT equality.
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