Though things have definitely come a long way in the past ten years, the GLBT community continues to struggle for equal rights.
Right now, gays and lesbians are actually denied 1138 rights given to heterosexuals. Here are some of the ways in which GLBT people are not equal under the eyes of the law:
- Marriage: Same sex partners can only legally wed in twelve states and the District of Columbia.
- Protection from Discrimination: In many states, you do not have the right to protection from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
- Joint Taxes: GLBT couples cannot file taxes jointly; as a result, taxes for a GLBT couple can be significantly higher.
- Hospital Visitation: GLBT couples have no legal right to visit a spouse in the hospital and can be barred from entering the room by medical personnel.
- Estate Taxes: GLBT couples cannot pass their estate to a spouse tax-free, which creates a huge tax burden that can result in the loss of a spouse's home or business.
- Job Security: In a majority of states, employees can be fired just for being gay.
- Immigration: GLBT partners are denied special consideration for the immigration of a spouse, often resulting in a painful separation when a loved one is from a foreign country.
- Property Taxes: GLBT partners must pay property tax when transferring property between spouses.
- Social Security: GLBT partners are not eligible to receive a spouse's Social Security pension or many other government benefits.
- Medical Decisions: During a medical crisis, GLBT couples cannot legally make treatment decisions for their partners.
- Domestic Violence: GLBT people cannot get domestic violence protection orders against a partner or former partner.
To see the other 1127 rights, and to read stories from people whose lives have been dramatically affected by not having the same legal protections as hetero couples, check out the Equality Matters website.