LGBT Rights
November 16, 2017
Are advances for the transgender community in peril?

LGBT advocates and conservatives have continued to battle, even though the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015. Gay and lesbian couples have wed in growing numbers throughout the country, but social conservatives pushed hard for exemptions from civil rights laws for individuals or companies refusing, on religious grounds, to provide services for same-sex ceremonies. Meanwhile, transgender advocates won rulings from federal courts supporting transgender pupils’ right to use school bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. LGBT advocates also won federal court rulings extending anti-discrimination laws to the workplace and to housing, but those cases are still months or more from reaching the Supreme Court. Despite the progress in court, LGBT advocates have expressed disappointment with the Trump administration’s initial personnel and policy moves regarding LGBT rights.

Gavin Grimm, the transgender teen who sued for the right to use the boys’ bathroom at his high school in Virginia, attends the 2017 Village Voice Pride Awards on June 21, 2017, in New York City. (Getty Images/Jim Spellman)   Gavin Grimm, the transgender teen who sued for the right to use the boys’ bathroom at his high school in Virginia, attends the 2017 Village Voice Pride Awards on June 21, 2017, in New York City. The event honors heroes in the LGBT movement. (Getty Images/Jim Spellman)

LGBT advocates marked the second full year of marriage equality for same-sex couples in the United States in 2016 with significant judicial wins that extended legal protections in several areas but fell short of definitive rulings.

The Supreme Court’s June 2015 decision to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples was put into effect in most places with little controversy. But social conservatives opposed to same-sex marriage argued in court and in legislative chambers — for the most part, unsuccessfully — to allow companies or individuals to refuse services to same-sex couples on religious objections to homosexuality or on free-speech grounds.

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