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Posted on May 7th, 2014, by

Today the situation in the USA is improving in relation to the rights of gays and lesbians. The government takes into consideration the diversity in attitudes in relation to the rights of gays and lesbians and discusses the status of their civil rights. Although at the federal level, there is still no recognition of same-sex marriages, and there are no proper laws forbidding discrimination against gays and lesbians in the United States. However, some states have already legalized such laws. Recent governmental activity on this issue is focused on a number of significant decision and actions in the field on employment, military service, housing, health care system, etc. As the same-sex sexual activity is legal nationwide since 2003, there is an obvious change towards the rights of gays and lesbians. However, the same-sex unions are not recognized by the federal government.  According to statistics, civil unions are legal in the states: Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maine, Wisconsin, Delaware, Nevada, Hawaii, Colorado, Oregon, and California (Newton, 2009, p.23).

It is known that prior to1993, lesbians and gays were not allowed to serve in the U.S. Army. However, on December 18, 2010, The U. S. Senate enacted the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 which permits homosexual men and women to serve openly in the armed forces of the United States. The US President Barack Obama signed the document on December 22, 2010 (Branigin et al., 2010, p.1). Today gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are free to serve in the Army openly.

One of the anti-discrimination policies is a new bill that bans anti-gay employment discrimination nationwide – the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which has been introduced in the Congress of the United States. It is known that several states have already reformed their civil rights code by legislation and under the court decisions and included gender identity and sexual orientation. The following states banned sexual orientation discrimination in employment: Colorado, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Washington, Vermont and Wisconsin, Minnesota (Newton, 2009, p.61).

In addition, in 2012, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity issued a law that prohibits discrimination of gays and lesbians in specially developed housing programs assisted by the federal government. Under the law, it is prohibited to discriminate gays and lesbians in housing programs and the housing programs are open to all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity (Lavers, 2012, p.1).

Besides, it is known that on April 14, 2011, the US President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order to the Department of Health and Human Services in order to draft new rules for the hospitals in the United States that accept Medicaid funds. Under this order, it is required to provide visitation and medical rights to gay and lesbian couples (Stolberg, 2010, p.1).

One more important document is the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 28 U.S.C. § 534, which requires the Attorney General to collect information on the hate crimes connected with the issues on race, ethnicity, religion, disability and sexual orientation. It is known that this bill was issued by George H. W. Bush in 1990. It was the first statute that recognized and named gay, lesbian and bisexual people (Hate Crimes Protections Timeline, 2007. p.1).

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