Throughout the 230-year history of the United States, the nation has slowly but steadily expanded access to every vital facet of daily life—from housing to employment to the public marketplace—for communities of Americans who were once excluded. Through exhaustive efforts, each generation has broadened the nation’s perception of “we the people.” But despite this progress, too many Americans are still left behind, excluded from the country’s most basic legal protections.
Today, it is still legal to fire, refuse housing, or deny service to Americans because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in the majority of U.S. states. In 11 states, individuals can legally marry their same-sex partner on Sunday and then legally be fired from their jobs on Monday simply for exercising that right. LGBT individuals and families report unacceptable levels of discrimination, which leads to disproportionate rates of unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and negative health outcomes for LGBT people and their families. As marriage equality continues to spread across the country and inclusion and acceptance of LGBT individuals takes hold, it is past time to ensure basic protections for all Americans to fully participate in society.