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Civil Rights to Protect Gays and Lesbians from Discrimination

Gay and lesbian groups have yet to be guaranteed federal protection of their civil rights. Although several states have recognized the rights of homosexuals to employment free of discrimination, no federal law prohibits discrimination against homosexuals in employment, housing, military service, and public accommodations.

Gay and lesbian groups as well as the ACLU are at the forefront in lobbying the federal government to provide the same civil rights protections afforded to racial minorities, women, the disabled, and the elderly. A major step toward achieving this goal is the passing of the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, formerly known as the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Local Law Enforcement Act (LLEA)

Whereas the Hate Crimes Prevention Act was limited to violence associated with race or religion, the Local Law Enforcement Act (LLEA) extends basic hate crime protections to include violence based on:

The bill provides federal technical and financial assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute hate crimes. Since the FBI began collecting hate crimes statistics, more than 9,700 hate crimes based on sexual orientation have been reported. Since 1991, reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation have more than tripled and consistently rank as the third-highest category after race and religion.

Do I Need a Civil Rights Attorney?

If you believe that you have been discriminated against on the basis of your sexual orientation, you should contact your local ACLU chapter, gay and lesbian rights group, or a lawyer. If your claim involves employment related discrimination, you should definitely consult with an employment attorney. Although the federal government has no employment discrimination laws specifically protecting homosexuals, several states have passed regulations protecting gays and lesbians in the workplace.

Vea esta página en español: Derechos de Gays y Lesbianas o visita para más información legal.

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Last Modified: 02-12-2014 03:16 PM PST

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