Jump to navigation Skip navigation. The struggle of LGBT lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for equal rights has moved to center stage. LGBT people are battling for their civil rights in Congress, in courtrooms and in the streets. Well-known figures are discussing their sexual orientation in public.
Supreme Court grants federal job protections to gay, lesbian, transgender workers
However, LGBT Americans may still face some legal and social challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents, particularly in states with large conservative populations, such as in the Deep South and in much of the Midwest ; in rural areas; and in some Native American tribal nations. In five landmark rulings between the years and , the Supreme Court invalidated a state law banning protected class recognition based upon homosexuality , struck down sodomy laws nationwide, struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act , made same-sex marriage legal nationwide, and prohibited employment discrimination against gay and transgender employees. LGBT-related anti-discrimination law regarding housing and private and public services varies by state, leaving residents of some states unprotected.
South Africa's Constitution is the first in the world to prohibit unfair discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. It thereby guarantees equality for gay and lesbian people. Just as this section specifically mentions race and ethnicity in response to South Africa's past, sexual orientation is included because of the injustices gay and lesbian people have suffered. Just 10 years ago sex between two people of the same sex was a crime and public displays of affection were considered indecent.