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 that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. 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. Smith expected that Republicans, who had included equal rights for women in their party's platform since 1944, 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," and the Congressional Record records that Smith was greeted by laughter when he introduced the amendment.
(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, 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. 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. 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...