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The Philosopher Donating Member (621 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 07:00 PM
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A Decade of LGBT Advances Driven by Data
Title: A Decade of Data-Driven Advances: From lawsuits, to studies, to dollars spent to enforce dont ask, dont tell, Brad Sears gives a rundown on the status of LGBT people in America.

Just 10 years ago, LGBT Americans faced difficult legal and social terrain. Same-sex marriage was not legal in any state and civil unions only available in Vermont. They could not openly serve under dont ask, dont tell and only eleven states prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. A majority of Americans still felt that relationships between two people of the same-sex were unacceptable and 17 states still had sodomy laws. Negative myths and stereotypes about LGBT people went unchallenged in courts and the court of public opinion.

What a difference a decade makes. And much of the progress in LGBT rights would not have been possible without the growing body of research debunking the anti-gay stereotypes that used to dominate the debate.

When the Williams Institute was founded in 2001, it was the only organization of its kindan academic research center focused on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. While there were a number of LGBT advocacy organizations with research arms, none did what we continue to docombine legal and policy analysis in research that meets the highest standards of the academy.

In 2003, we filed an amicus brief in Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court case that eventually overturned the remaining sodomy laws in the United States. With our legal arguments, we presented the court with a demographic portrait of LGBT people in Texas. The report challenged the stereotypes that the Supreme Court Justices had of LGBT people. In Bowers v. Hardwick, the Courts 1986 opinion upholding sodomy laws, its clear that the majority of the court had trouble thinking about LGBT people beyond their sexual acts. A decade later, in Romer v. Evans, Justice Scalias dissent explicitly rests on the stereotype that all LGBT people were wealthy, white, childless, urban and male. His conclusion, therefore, was that LGBT people were politically powerful and did not need special rights.

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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 07:06 PM
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1. Less than eight years ago gay sex was still a crime in fourteen states.
Things change fast.
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