The LGBT Community and Civil Rights Law: A Very Brief Look and Status Report

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88–352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) is a landmark civil rights and US labor law in the United States[5] that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.[6] It prohibits unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools, employment, and public accommodations.


Just one year earlier, the same Congress had passed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibited wage differentials based on sex. The prohibition on sex discrimination was added to the Civil Rights Act by Howard W. Smith, a powerful Virginia Democrat who chaired the House Rules Committee and who strongly opposed the legislation. Smith's amendment was passed by a teller vote of 168 to 133. Historians debate Smith's motivation, whether it was a cynical attempt to defeat the bill by someone opposed to civil rights both for blacks and women, or an attempt to support their rights by broadening the bill to include women.[26][27][28][29] Smith expected that Republicans, who had included equal rights for women in their party's platform since 1944,[30] would probably vote for the amendment. Historians speculate that Smith was trying to embarrass northern Democrats who opposed civil rights for women because the clause was opposed by labor unions. Representative Carl Elliott of Alabama later claimed, "Smith didn't give a damn about women's rights...he was trying to knock off votes either then or down the line because there was always a hard core of men who didn't favor women's rights,"[31] and the Congressional Record records that Smith was greeted by laughter when he introduced the amendment.[32]


(However),  the United States has no federal law outlawing discrimination against LGBT people nationwide other than from federal executive orders which have a more limited scope than from protections through federal legislation. This leaves LGBT residents of some states unprotected against discrimination in employment, housing, and private or public services. Thus, LGBT persons in the United States may face challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents.

The strongest expansions in LGBT rights in the United States have come from the United States Supreme Court. In four landmark rulings between the years 1996 and 2015, the Supreme Court invalidated a state lawbanning protected class recognition based upon homosexuality, struck down sodomy laws nationwide, struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, and made same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

LGBT rights-related laws regarding family and anti-discrimination still vary by state. The age of consent in each jurisdiction varies from age 16 to 18,[2] with some jurisdictions maintaining different ages of consent for males/females or for same-sex/opposite-sex relations.

Twenty-two states plus Washington, D.C and Puerto Rico outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, and twenty states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico outlaw discrimination based on gender identity or expression.[3] Hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity are also punishable by federal law under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. In 2012 the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not allow gender identity-based employment discrimination because it is considered sexual discrimination.[4] In 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not allow sexual orientation discrimination in employment because it is a form of sex discrimination.


Court: Civil Rights Law protects claims of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation

By Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter 

February 27, 2018

(CNN)A federal appeals court in New York ruled on Monday that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law that bans employment discrimination because of sex, also protects claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"Sexual orientation discrimination is a subset of sex discrimination because sexual orientation is defined by one's sex in relation to the sex of those to whom one is attracted," a 10-3 opinion issued by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals stated.

The ruling is a loss for the Trump administration, which had argued that Congress did not mean Title VII to extend to claims of sexual orientation.

The court, based in New York, becomes the second appeals court to rule that the civil rights law covers discrimination based on sexual orientation. Last year, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a similar ruling.

The ruling means that employees in those two circuits can use existing civil rights law to sue for discrimination based on sexual orientation.


This is where we are re Civil Rights Law and the LGBT community...

We've come a long way but we have a longer way yet to go...

Views: 124

Comment by Ron Powell on August 9, 2018 at 6:43am

This post is not about social interaction or acceptance of LGBT people.

It is not about sexuality or sexual preferences, proclivities or orientation..

It is about where we are re the laws that can be applied or enforced to prevent discrimination against members of the LGBT community....

If I missed or overlooked something that may be deemed important as a substantive component of this post, please, by.all means, bring it to our attention...

With appropriate citations and links, of course....

Comment by koshersalaami on August 9, 2018 at 7:15am

I don’t think a lot of Americans are aware that discrimination against LGBTQ people is legal in a lot of the country. The biggest risk I think we face now is that if cases like this get appealed, we now have a Supreme Court that could easily reverse them. And they could find grounds to do so to cover their asses given that assumptions about the justice of equality have evolved, meaning that older judicial decisions that predate some of this evolution could be cited. The Court could conclude that the Trump administration is right about Congress not intending Title VII to apply to sexual orientation because, truth be told, that is almost guaranteed to be true. This would entail the Court ignoring the precedents of its own previous rulings but with enough votes they could do that and the country would have precious little recourse. 

This and other issues in this situation are, I think, the scariest thing about Trump’s election, because the composition of the Court is damned difficult to change. 

Comment by koshersalaami on August 9, 2018 at 7:26am

This, by the way, is the most critical argument about the last election. There are three branches of government, each very powerful, and the 2016 election gave the public the rare opportunity to decide the balance of power in the Judicial branch as well as the other two. This was particularly critical because there are no time limits on turnover in the judicial branch. The President can only serve for two terms (plus whatever time possibly spent as President as a result of ascending to the Presidency directly from the Vice Presidency) and Senators have to stand for reelection every six years. A justice young at time of appointment could easily serve for forty years with no elective recourse. 

There is zero question that this was a stark difference between the two major parties in 2016. As centrist as Hillary might be, she’d have nominated a justice liberal on such functions as gay and civil rights. There were a lot of voters - and, functionally, non-voters - who ignored that this was also functionally a judicial election, and that in most respects the judicial election was more critical than the Presidential or Congressional elections. 

Comment by Maui Surfer on August 9, 2018 at 7:26am

Ron, do you we really need citations to admit that these laws were meant to control women, control miscegenation intermarriage between races, and to control people through the authority of so called religions? Are we that messed up as a country, as a world, that the Klan, etc. needs citations to prove what thorough assholes they are. Haven't our discussions gone further than that already. I gave you citations that are harder to find, harder to understand without training. This is just basic hate. I think we all know it, but a refresher course on Du Bois Black Reconstruction (and modern neo-abolitionist documentation, fully verified and highly scholarly) and Suffrage Documentation wouldn't hurt, to be sure. Also, more looks into Suffrage and what attempted to become Prohibition have also been squelched, although they are true as can be. Fucking Cider Drinking 19th Century wife beating pieces of shit, I'd love to have a list of how many of those "men" got shot or had their throats slit while passed out drunk after a good round of wife beating.

Comment by Maui Surfer on August 9, 2018 at 7:32am

And, further on the actual topic, it is PROVEN without a doubt that sexuality is a genetic spectrum and anyone who doesn't think so is a credulous imbecilic fool who is trying to control someone else somehow, usually through the fake religions discussed yesterday ... and we can get back to Paul and his fixations if you want. He is something of the original LGBTQ front man, no pun intended.

Comment by Maui Surfer on August 9, 2018 at 7:35am

No, come on Kosh, Hillary would have jailed all the gays (lock them up) from the get go, and of course no wedding cakes would have been allowed. I mean, our two main parties are identical. Well, except for one being the KKK.

Comment by koshersalaami on August 9, 2018 at 7:44am

Corporatists are not specifically anti-gay. Apathetic, perhaps. I made this point better many years ago than I could probably make it now:

Comment by Ron Powell on August 9, 2018 at 8:25am

With a Republican controlled Congress and Presidency, the only protection against incursions of the rights of LGBTQ people is the Federal Courts.

The only protection of the civil rights of people of color is the Federal Courts.

The only protection of the human rights of undocumented immigrants and refugees is the Federal Courts.

The only protection of the rights of children at risk in school and at home is the Federal Courts.

The only remaining protection against corporate fouling of the environment and ruination of the planet is the Federal Courts.

The only protection the Constitution has against the machinations of a disloyal, incompetent, ignorant, intolerant, megalomaniacal, sociopathic demagogic racist, bigot and habitual compulsive amoral and unethical liar and the sycophantic people who support him is the Federal Courts.

Comment by koshersalaami on August 9, 2018 at 8:28am

True, but the point I’m trying to make is kind of the opposite. Let’s assume Democrats win the next two elections. Would even a Democratic Congress and Presidency be able to protect us from a Conservative Supreme Court?

Comment by Ron Powell on August 9, 2018 at 8:42am

"Would even a Democratic Congress and Presidency be able to protect us from a Conservative Supreme Court?"

A 'conservative' Supreme Court would tend to show deference to the legislative prerogatives exercised by Congress...

They would be stuck on their own pitard of 'strict construction'.

Also, it wouldn't hurt if Justice Ginsberg could hold out and hold up for 2 or 3 more years.


You need to be a member of Our Salon to add comments!

Join Our Salon


Evil on Earth

Posted by M. C. Sears on February 21, 2019 at 7:55pm 0 Comments

Hill 0' BeanZ {poem}

Posted by J.P. Hart on February 21, 2019 at 4:30pm 5 Comments

The Real Life "Uncle Tom"

Posted by Boanerges on February 21, 2019 at 3:02pm 5 Comments

8 Ball, Side Pocket. Your Call.

Posted by The Songbird on February 21, 2019 at 1:00pm 2 Comments Days on State Pay

Posted by Robert B. James on February 21, 2019 at 9:04am 4 Comments

The Winning Ticket for 2020

Posted by Ron Powell on February 21, 2019 at 7:30am 19 Comments

Revelations and the Question

Posted by Ron Powell on February 21, 2019 at 5:30am 4 Comments

© 2019   Created by lorianne.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service