Column: A long way from done
Marriage equality is not the only kind of LGBTQ equality that we need to be fighting for
Oct. 14, 2014
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
After the tremendous victories for marriage equality that came about these past few weeks, many American citizens would think this is the end of the fight for LGBT rights. Many people believe marriage is the only inequality the community is facing. This is far from the truth.
Despite advances in marriage and other civil rights, LGBT people are still fighting for their basic human rights. There are many more problems that the LGBT community needs to solve, and marriage is only the tip of the iceberg.
Perhaps the most pressing concern currently is that of unfair treatment in the workplace.
Workplace discrimination within the LGBT community is one of the more rampant and persistent problems facing the population. Federal, state and local laws that discriminate workers on the basis of their sexual and gender identity are still intact. According to ABC News, only 21 states currently have laws that prohibit sexual orientation employment discrimination, while 18 include gender identity.
It is an outrage that we are still dealing with discrimination in the workplace. The federal government has not taken enough action to combat this dangerous issue. Many people in the LGBT community have to endure hardship and abuse in their place of work because they do not feel they have any laws that protect them from discrimination. The government is basically allowing people to get away with harming others in a place where one is meant to feel safe and protected.
Nevertheless, things may be looking up for the abolishment of workplace discrimination. The Human Rights Campaign explains that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which passed the Senate last year, is a bill that works against discrimination based on sexual or gender identity.
However, the issue has not yet been brought up in the House.
Furthermore, President Obama has taken action against bias as well. He passed an executive order this summer that banned workplace discrimination of LGBT employees working in the federal government or as federal contractors. The Huffington Post reported the order “makes it illegal to fire or harass employees of federal contractors based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and it explicitly bans discrimination against transgender employees of the federal government.”
Although there are some steps being taken to address this issue, there is still a long way to go. It seems that this problem has been pushed to the back burner in the wake of other, more pressing matters. However, now that the marriage equality dispute is coming to a close, it is time to push for equal rights in the workplace. This issue now needs to be brought to the forefront.
America was based on the principles of self-preservation and equal rights. Without properly fighting against workplace discrimination, we are allowing the government to get away with disobeying the Constitution. American citizens are being unfairly harassed and discriminated against legally in many states. We need to put an end to the abuse and persecution that these employees have to deal with on a regular basis.
The LGBT community has the right to a cruelty-free workplace.