Articles

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 should cover LGBT people

In LGBT Rights on December 27, 2012 by edwinforyouthrights

Typed by Edwin Bonilla

LGBT people should be covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Society is finally tolerant for there to be effective protection for LGBT people on a federal level. It is wrong for people to be barred from getting a hotel room or be discriminated on the job because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Although there is a lot of transphobia and homophobia, a federal law which would include protections for LGBT people would be a powerful advancement for the LGBT rights movement. If you are part of the LGBT rights movement and think that including LGBT people in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is too much, then you are throwing away a great strategy. That great law would punish and deter discrimination against LGBT in many places and situations. This would not be an insult to the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-1960s because civil rights is a concept which evolves. From Puerto Rico to Colorado, to Alaska and to American Samoa, LGBT people would have a great deal of civil rights protection. Although same-sex marriage is a right and is a big part of the movement, let’s not forget about the importance of punishing and deterring discrimination.

When Democrats were in the majority in the House of Representatives from 2009-2010, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act did not pass Congress. That was a disappointment. Since this would be the case with similar anti-discrimination bills, then passing a bill which would link it to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a wise choice. Although every bill whose purpose to advance LGBT rights is a good bill, the reality is that few or none of those bills would pass Congress. The Republican party is a very conservative political party and this is reflected among members of Congress. In addition, every liberal and progressive Democratic member would have to give those bills priority in order to advance them. It would also not be a wise choice to pass a bill which would expand LGBT rights without the power of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Such a bill would be watered down by moderate Democrats and Republicans so that’s not what we need. The best strategy is to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the civil rights law. This would give LGBT people the same level of protection as on the base of race.

It’s good that there are some states that have good anti-discrimination laws for LGBT people, even in Nevada. However, too many states don’t have laws which address discrimination against LGBT people on any level. Those states need the federal government to cover anti-discrimination protection for LGBT people. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a watershed moment for the civil rights movement and if LGBT people were covered by it, then it would also be one of two watershed moments for the LGBT rights movement. The other watershed moment will be when same-sex marriages are recognized in every state and territory. Since the concept of civil rights evolves, so should our federal civil rights laws.

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