Social Problems (Soc 125)
February 16, 2013
There are many laws in place to prevent or discourage discrimination. Laws that protect people in the workplace, in activities held on federally funded properties and against violent crimes based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person. These laws have all been lacking in protection for LGBT persons. Most states do have laws addressing hate crimes and a large number of those do include crimes against LGBT persons but states do vary in their list of protected classes and a few states have no laws addressing hate crimes at all. Federal laws were lacking in LGBT protection in it’s hate crime laws until recently when On October 28, 2009 President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded existing United States federal hate crime law to apply to crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.(Social Problems page 125) Some states have their own exceptions but protection under federal laws does not extend far beyond hate crimes. There are no workplace protections, privileges of marriage/family and many other antidiscrimination laws that have not been extended to LGBT persons. According to the law currently in place called DOMA, the federal government will not accept marriage licenses granted to same-sex couples, regardless of state laws. The DOMA denies federal benefits available to married couples such as adoption, social security and inheritance.(Social Problems page 126) There are a few good reasons to allow gay marriage, first being fewer physical and mental health problems. When a persecuted group is no longer persecuted, but allowed to live like everybody else, they enjoy fewer health problems. A recent study published in The American Journal of Public Health found that 12 months after gay...