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10 Outrageous Laws LGBT People and Women Should All Beware Of

10 Outrageous Laws LGBT People and Women Should All Beware Of

10 Outrageous Laws LGBT People and Women Should All Beware Of

We are all affected by these egregious laws.

The past couple weeks, all eyes have been on freedom of religion bills that are passing (and then being amended after pushback) in states like Indiana, Arkansas and Florida. Unfortunately, “right to discriminate” laws aren’t the only ones we need to look out for. Here’s a list of existing laws that hinder our abilities to be authentically ourselves, as well as places we are seriously lacking in important protections.


1. No Promo Homo laws
In states like Alabama, South Carolina, and Arizona, sex-ed classes are not permitted to imply that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle. Additionally, this curriculum implies that there is no safe way to have gay sex. If you grew up below the Bible Belt, you can thank No Promo Homo laws for not knowing what a dental dam was until you got hit in the face with one at Pride.



2. Outdated Sodomy Laws
Though the Supreme Court struck down laws that criminalize sodomy, many states have failed to formally repeal these laws. While federally, no one can be imprisoned for sodomy or “gross indecency” (pretty much known as “gay stuff”), these existing laws serve to perpetuate a stigma and preserve anti-gay history.




3. Lack ofEmployment Non-Discrimination
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is a bill before Congress (that has been there since 1994) that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity. While a few states provide protections, most do not, and LGBTQ identifying people can be fired simply for being gay.



4.  Lack of Enumeration in Anti-Bullying Laws
Many states have anti-bullying laws that prohibit bullying and discrimination based on things like race, gender, age, disability, religion and even, in some places, military status. Most states, however, do not include enumeration (explicitly stating protected classes or identities) that protects students based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Bills like the Safe Schools Improvement Act would require all public schools to have a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that includes this enumeration.


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5. Legal Conversion Therapy
President Obama came out against gay conversion therapy just this week, but did not actually call for a federal law prohibiting it. In light of Leelah Alcorn’s recent suicide where she left a note citing gay conversion therapy, Americans are starting to think about the importance of saving children from its harmful and devastating effects. States like California, New Jersey and DC have already banned the practice on minors.



6. Maternity Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 provided protections for pregnant women and gave them ability to take twelve weeks leave when having a child—unpaid. This law is extremely outdated for the developing world as it provides such little benefit. Single and/or low income mothers cannot afford to take unpaid time off for childbirth, which can be devastating to their career and well-being.




7. Abortion and Contraception Legislation
Queer lady or not, women have a right to make choices about their bodies. Anti-abortion bills have been popping up just as much as religious freedom bills. In addition, the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby contraception case gives even more personhood to corporations and provides them a loophole through which to restrict women’s use of contraceptives.



8. Bathroom Use Bills
Some states are taking transphobia to their state legislation and attempting to pass bills that would criminalize using a bathroom that does not align with your gender assigned at birth. Florida’s Single-Sex Public Facilities Act would make it illegal for a transgender person to use the bathroom they feel comfortable in. Similar to Indiana’s freedom of religion bill, this proposition comes shortly after a gay marriage victory. 




9. Rape Custody Laws
Legally, in much of the United States, a rape victim does not have the power to deny their rapist parental rights. The Daily Show recently interviewed a rape survivor on this subject, who stated that she spent two years fighting her rapist for custody of their child. 



10. Military Courts Deciding Rape Cases
Though the military has recently changed some of its policies regarding rape reporting and prosecution, military rape is still widely mishandled and victims are often denied due process. Even in the case of civilian rape where the perpetrator is in the military, they are held to a different set of rules.


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Stuart Mcdonald