The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force was founded in 1973 to help meet the sec­ond goal of the gay rights movement: ending various kinds of discrimination against homosexuals. Enormous progress has been made in nondiscrimination in employment: Ninety-nine percent of major U. S. companies now have nondiscrimination policies (Movement Advancement Project, 2011). ■ Table 9.2 shows the states that have estab­lished laws and policies prohibiting antigay discrimination. The District of Columbia and many city governments have also done so (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2012).

Gay civil rights supporters hope to see the U. S. Congress pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prevent employers from discriminat­ing on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Another major legislative goal of gay civil rights advocates is to amend the s Act to include "affectional or sexual orientation" along with race, creed, color, and sex (Wildman, 2001). This amend­ment would make it illegal to discriminate in housing, employment, insurance, and public accommodations on grounds of sexual orienta­tion. With regard to global issues, in 2009, the Obama administra­tion endorsed the United Nations statement calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality, which former president George W. Bush had previously refused to endorse (Lee, 2009).

In September 2011 the U. S. military’s "Don’t ask, don’t tell" policy was repealed. Implemented in 1992 by Congress and signed by Presi­dent Bill Clinton, the policy allowed homosexual individuals to serve in the military—even though the military considered them unfit for service—provided that they kept their orientation secret. An esti­mated 13,000 gays and lesbians were expelled from the military dur­ing the years this policy was in effect (Miklaszewski & Kube, 2011).

This policy compromised U. S. military efforts by needlessly removing capable service members. It also resulted in unnecessary

■ TABLE 9.2 States With Nondiscrimination Laws for Sexual Orientation












New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York



Rhode Island




SOURCE: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (2012).

hardships for the gays and lesbians who served in the military. For example, during the Iraq occupation, partners at home had no access to support services that the military provides families; consequently, they were unlikely to be informed if their loved ones were wounded, captured, or killed (Biederman, 2003). Ironically, closeted gay and les­bian U. S. troops served alongside openly homosexual troops from Great Britain and Australia (Neff, 2004).