According to The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, and the Equality Federation; Alabama has some catching up to do.
HRC, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, announced its fourth annual State Equality Index report including detailed scorecards for every state and a comprehensive review of 2017 state legislation concerning LGBTQ equality.
Each state was placed into one of four categories based on their pro- and anti-LGBTQ state laws. Alabama was listed in the “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality,” category.
“Despite a historic victory in Birmingham with the state’s first LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance being passed in September 2017, the State Equality Index identifies many areas of opportunity and advancement for LGBTQ equality in Alabama,” said Executive Director of Equality Alabama, Alex Smith in a news release.
“Equality Alabama is poised both to fight against a preemption of this ordinance in the 2018 legislative session and to support pro-equality pieces of legislation that aim to provide nondiscrimination protections statewide, make it easier for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals to change the gender marker on their birth certificates and state IDs, and remove homophobic language from the state’s sexual health education statutes.”
According to the report, Alabama does not have any provisions for LGBTQ identifiers in the following categories:
- HOUSING: The state does not prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- EMPLOYMENT: The state does not prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- HATE CRIMES: The state does have a law that addresses hate or bias crimes based on sexual orientation only.
- PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS: The state does not prohibit discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- SCHOOL ANTI-BULLYING: The state does not have a law that addresses harassment and/or bullying of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- EDUCATION: The state does not have a law that addresses discrimination against students based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- TRANSGENDER HEALTHCARE: The state has neither a ban on insurance exclusions for transgender healthcare nor does it provide transgender-inclusive health benefits to state employees.
- GENDER MARKER CHANGE ON IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS: The state does not have laws or policies that facilitate gender marker change on driver’s licenses or birth certificates.
- CONVERSION THERAPY: This state has no restrictions on so-called “conversion therapy.”
Alabama is one of the 31 states listed in the report as lacking explicit state-level protections for all LGBTQ people. Even at a time of historically high support for LGBTQ equality, an estimated 12 million LGBTQ Americans and their families remain at risk of being evicted or denied services because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“If an LGBTQ couple drove from Maine to California today, their legal rights and civil rights protections could change more than 20 times at state borders and city lines. The vast majority of Americans today understand that this crazy quilt of protections — and lack thereof — is wrong, impractical, and unacceptable,” said Chad Griffin, HRC President. “The time has come for us to do away with this ragged patchwork of state laws that fail to protect LGBTQ people equally by passing the Equality Act once and for all.