Anti-Discrimination Laws Across the Country
Trulia Offers Information about Anti-Discrimination Laws to LGBT Community
Federal anti-discrimination law does not explicitly protect the LGBT community. While the Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discriminatory behavior on the basis of a person’s sex, race, or disability, protections for sexual orientation and gender identity are blatantly missing. Some states, including California, have taken initiative and passed laws that explicitly provide LGBT individuals the right to be free from discrimination in regard to housing, employment, and civil rights.
What happens if you do not live in a state with progressive anti-discrimination laws? What if you’re not sure whether a city has some provisions that may offer protection on the basis of sexual orientation or identity? Some companies are taking matters into their own hands and striving to make the world a safer place for everyone, including those identifying as lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, or intersex. Trulia, an app often used by prospective homeowners and renters, recently rolled out a feature that will help LGBT individuals find safe places to live.
Local Legal Protections
When you search for a home on Trulia you can narrow down your search results using the app’s filters. The newest filter allows users to learn about legal protections offered to the LGBT community in the town, city, municipality, or state in which a home is located. According to Trulia, “the Local Legal Protections feature highlights what laws are in place to protect fair and equal treatment in housing, employment, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Research conducted by Trulia found that a little bit more than one half of the country currently features anti-discrimination protections for the LGBT community. In fact, only 22 states and Washington, D. C. offer full anti-discrimination protection for sexual orientation and gender identity. Other states may also have laws that could potentially be used to benefit victims of discrimination.
The Trulia app has combed through legislation, regulations, and other legal doctrines in each state that may affect LGBT rights. The app strives to present members of the LGBT community with information about a specific area to allow them to make an informed decision about where their future home may be. Since laws can vary within each geographic region, this tool can be incredibly helpful.
Highlighting a Lack of Equal Protection Under the Law
When companies like Trulia have to step up to protect members of the LGBT community, it becomes clear that the United States is woefully behind on ensuring that all individuals are granted equal rights under the law. When only 55.2 percent of the country offers anti-discrimination protection to LGBT individuals, it is clear that equality has not yet been achieved.
Are states doing anything to extend equal rights to the LGBT community? Some are, and some aren’t. Here are some recent developments in state and local anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation and gender identity:
- Pennsylvania: Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and identity become illegal in the state in 2018.
- Mississippi: In 2018, two cities in the state (Jackson & Magnolia) extend full anti-discrimination protections for employment.
- Alabama: The city of Birmingham passes protections for the LGBT community in 2017.
- Georgia: LGBT individuals gain protections in the state’s cities in 2017.
- South Carolina: In 2016, the cities of Myrtle Beach and Columbia extend protections for LGBT individuals.
- Louisiana: LGBT individuals receive protections from hate crimes and discrimination in some parts of the state in 2016.
- West Virginia: In 2016, many cities in West Virginia move to offer protections to LGBT individuals.
As you can see, many cities across the country are taking steps to extend anti-discrimination protections to the LGBT community. Since these are not necessarily statewide regulations, it may be difficult for prospective homeowners or renters to know which locations will offer the best protections. Companies like Trulia are making it easier for the LGBT community to find safe and LGBT-friend communities across the country. For more information, visit http://ilglaw.org.