A new report released Sept. 30 paints a stark picture of the added financial burdens that LGBT Americans face because of anti-LGBT laws at the national, state and local levels.
The report finds that such laws contribute to significantly higher rates of poverty among LGBT Americans and create unfair financial penalties in the form of higher taxes, reduced wages and Social Security income, increased health care costs and more.
The momentum of recent court rulings overturning marriage bans across the country has created the impression that LGBT Americans are on the cusp of achieving full equality from coast to coast.
But the report, “Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being LGBT in America,” documents how inequitable laws harm the economic well-being of LGBT people in three key ways:
• By enabling legal discrimination in jobs, housing, credit, and other areas
• By failing to recognize LGBT families, both in general and across a range of programs and laws designed to help American families
• By creating barriers to safe and affordable education for LGBT students and the children of LGBT parents
“Paying an Unfair Price” was co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and the Center for American Progress, in partnership with Center for Community Change, Center for Popular Democracy, National Association of Social Workers and the National Education Association.
The report documents how LGBT people in the United States face clear financial penalties because of three primary failures in the law, including discrimination in housing, credit and health care, along with discrimination in employment. Failures to protect LGBT students also means LGBT people and their families often face a hostile, unsafe, and unwelcoming environment in local schools, as well as discrimination in accessing financial aid and other support. The financial penalty: LGBT youth are more likely to perform poorly in school and to face challenges pursuing postsecondary educational opportunities, as can youth with LGBT parents. This, in turn, can reduce their earnings over time, as well as their chances of having successful jobs and careers.
“Unfair laws deliver a one-two punch. They both drive poverty within the LGBT community and then hit people when they are down,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of MAP.
“While families with means might be able to withstand the costs of extra taxation or the unfair denial of Social Security benefits, for a family already struggling, these financial penalties can mean the difference between getting by and getting evicted,” said Mushovic. “Anti-LGBT laws do the most harm to the most vulnerable in the LGBT community, including those who are barely making ends meet, families with children, older adults and people of color.”
— LGBTQ Nation (lgbtqnation.com), a qnotes news partner.
The United Nations Human Rights Council on Sept. 26 approved a resolution condemning anti-LGBT discrimination. The U.S., the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Argentina, Chile, Cuba, South Korea and Vietnam were among the 25 nations voting in favor. Fourteen nations voted against the proposal, including Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Six men alleged to be gay have been sentenced by Egyptian authorities to two years in jail for “committing debauchery,” a charge commonly used against gays in that nation.
A conservative Muslim province in Indonesia has passed a law punishing anal sex between men with a public caning of 100 lashes. Same-sex female behavior is also punishable under the law. An earlier version included death by public stoning for adultery, but that provision was removed before passage.
The U.S. Supreme Court took no action on several appeals cases on same-sex marriage following a conference of justices at the end of September. The justices will meet again to discuss cases on Oct. 10.
Facebook has apologized for enforcing a “real names” policy some said discriminated against drag performers and the transgender community.