While we wait to see how the US Supreme Court rules in the two gay marriage cases
Rice University in Texas has released a study on how legislation can curb discrimination against gays & lesbians in employment situations. Since ENDA (Employment Nondiscrimination Act) still has not passed in this country there still isn’t any federal law that consistently protects LGBT individuals from employment discrimination & it remains legal in 29 states to discriminate based on sexual orientation & in 34 states to do so based on gender identity or expression. As a result our LGBT community face serious discrimination in employment, including being fired, being denied a promotion & experiencing harassment on the job. Laura Barron, a 2008 Rice alumna & now personnel research psychologist for the U.S. Air Force & the study's lead author stated, "In many U.S. states & localities (including much of Texas), gays & lesbians remain unprotected from employment discrimination & in the debate over national antidiscrimination legislation, some lawmakers have sought to justify opposition to ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) by suggesting that antidiscrimination legislation would not effectively reduce discrimination if enacted. Our research findings directly dispute this claim."
The study revealed that:
Public awareness & support of sexual-orientation laws is heightened in communities with (versus without) antidiscrimination legislation.
Gay & lesbian job applicants experience significantly less interpersonal discrimination in areas with (versus without) this protective legislation, even when statistically controlling for religious & political views.
Training that informs interviewers that sexual-orientation employment discrimination is legal or illegal in their community directly affects their treatment of gay & lesbian applicants.
The researchers hope their findings will inform the legislative debate on gay rights by providing empirical evidence on the potential impact of national antidiscrimination legislation.
AUDIO: GLAD's Lee Swislow on DOMA. ENDA & LGBT Rights