LAWS AFFECTING OUR SEX LIVES: CIVIL RIGHTS FOR GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL, ANDTRANSGENDER PEOPLE

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination against anyone based on race, religion, gender, or ethnic background in all states. Any enterprises having a connection with interstate commerce and businesses or institutions accepting federal funding may not discriminate in:
education
employment
public transportation
public accommodations, such as hotels and restaurants
public services, such as getting a bank loan or mortgage
the writing of life and health insurance policies
The act did not extend these protections to people based on their sexual orientation. As a result, in all but nine states, lesbians, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, as well as those who are perceived to be, can still be discriminated against in many ways because of their private sexual behavior.
Gay rights advocates have failed in their efforts to get federal protection extended in all states. In 1996, the U.S. Senate, by a margin of just one vote (50 to 49), rejected a gay rights protection bill which would have banned job discrimination for gay, lesbian and transgender people across the country. Such people can still be treated with prejudice in employment, housing, education, and public services, including transportation and the military, because of their perceived sexual orientation, even though polls show that the majority of Americans favor ending such discrimination.
Crimes against people for their perceived sexual orientations are on the increase. Called gay-bashing, these crimes include verbal and physical assaults and murder. Although assault is against the law, police do not always respond when the victims are not perceived to be straight. In an increasing number of localities, however, such crimes are considered "hate crimes" and are prosecuted aggressively by the authorities.
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