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LGBTQ rights progress in US still uneven: Equality Map

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LGBTQ rights progress

LGBTQ rights progress in US still uneven: Equality Map

A report released by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) shows the LGBTQ rights progress in the US from 2010 to 2020 has been uneven in the different American states.

In 2010, no states outlawed conversion therapy for LGBTQ minors, offered gender neutral options on licenses and birth certificates, and banned health insurers from including transgender-related coverage.

But in 2020, around 20 states have these protections in place.

Equality map highlights LGBTQ rights progress

MAP, a think tank that holds a database on laws affecting LGBTQ people, showed that the policy landscape in the US was split in 2020.

The report looked at nearly 40 LGBTQ-related policies and laws in all 50 states, plus Washington, DC and the five US territories.

The group described the situation as both having breakthroughs as well as evidence of the slow pace for LGBTQ equality.

“We have made a tremendous amount of progress understanding what LGBTQ people need to have a full opportunity to be productive workers, have equal access to health care, to go beyond the basics,” said MAP executive director Ineke Mushovic.

“But at the same time, in half the country, that progress has stalled out,” Mushovic said.

Need for further LGBTQ rights progress

The report noted that nearly half or around 46 percent of the US lives in states with “high” or “medium” grades for equality due to the protections.

However, the other half or 45 percent lives in states with “low” or “negative” grades.

Equality advocates are hopeful that the Supreme Court will rule favorably on three pivotal cases, which will create a precedent for LGBTQ rights.

These involve the question of whether it’s legal to fire workers because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Moreover, they hope that Congress will pass the Equality Act, which would give a federal guarantee to nondiscrimination.

Equality map: Patchwork protections for LGBTQ

Without these overall protections, “You could live in one state and move across the border and core pieces of your life could be in jeopardy,” said Naomi Goldberg, MAP policy research director.

However, the current protections offer some hope as the number of LGBTQ living in “negative” policy states rose from 48 percent in 2010 to 20 percent in 2020.

Likewise, those living in “medium” or “high” equality states jumped from six percent to 46 percent within that same period.

Of course, there’s the landmark Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage in 2015. In 2010, only 14 states and the district recognized this relationship. By 2020, this was the law of the land.

More importantly, it allowed access to marriage-related parenting protections.

The backlash against LGBTQ rights and equality

This later led to a backlash at the middle of the decade, from targeting transgender rights to religious exemption laws that allow religious belief as reason not to enforce a law.

The latter allowed people, churches, and businesses from declining to marry a same-sex couple or letting state-funded agencies not to place foster children with LGBTQ parents.

Goldberg said: “When we saw progress in marriage a decade ago, LGBTQ opponents realized that fight was over. All the rights and benefits that came along with marriage were solidified.”

“But it was a strategic move on (opponents’) part. Yes, you can go get married, but when you show up to get that license, we can say no – you have to go somewhere else,” she said.

Thus, in 2010, only one state had a religious exemption law. In 2020, 13 states now have those laws.

What’s more, MAP’s database notes that at least 121 ant-LGBTQ bills are pending in various states, particularly targeting transgender young people.

Fourteen more states have three or more anti-LGBTQ bills on the horizon.

For more about the report, check out their link here.

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