LGBT opponents seek to chip away at nondiscrimination protections

Post marriage equality, LGBT nondiscrimination has become the major battleground around LGBT rights in the United States. Statewide laws ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in 19 states, and three offer protections for sexual orientation but not gender identity. A number of municipalities have also implemented similar protections.

Legislation carving out exemptions to these laws, or preventing such laws being passed in the future, has proliferated since the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision. According to a recent analysis, at least 105 bills aimed at curbing LGBT nondiscrimination protections were introduced in state legislatures just this session. Many of these bills speak to protecting “religious freedom,” but a number are written to address issues of state/local control or public safety.  All would effectively legalize discrimination against members of the LGBT community.

While this backlash against same-sex marriage has been swift and pronounced, it largely flies in the face of public opinion. Ever greater majorities of Americans are expressing support for nondiscrimination protections that are inclusive of the LGBT community, both in employment and generally. Indeed, almost 9-in-10 people think that LGBT people should have equal employment rights.

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