Badpuppy Gay Today

Monday, 28 July 1997


By George Ferencz


In the relatively short history of the Gay and Lesbian Liberation Movement the community's made tremendous progress, but basic rights are still denied to gay people.

By George Ferencz

Editor, HOTSPOTS Magazine

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

The gay community's fight for equal rights has been making steady strides for decades. Now, gays and lesbians enjoy greater freedoms than ever, but still lack freedoms heterosexuals have in this country. The following are just 100 rights openly-gay and lesbian people are being denied - and it's all perfectly legal.

The Gay Bill of Rights: 10 Basic Rights Gays Don't Have

1. Right to Love - In 24 states, including Florida, sodomy makes consensual sex between adults of the same sex illegal.

2. Right to Adopt - Two states, including Florida, prohibit gays and lesbians from adopting specifically on the grounds of their sexual orientation.

3. Right to Work - There is no federal law prohibiting companies from firing employees or refusing to hire applicants because of their sexual orientation. There are 39 states, including Florida, that do not offer protection against sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. Most municipalities also do not have such nondiscrimination laws, including parts of Dade County.

4. Right to Housing - Throughout most of the country, including parts of Dade County, gays and lesbians can be kicked out of their apartments on the basis of their sexual orientation.

5. Right to Public Accommodations - In most cities and states, gays and lesbians can be denied public accommodations on the basis of their sexual orientation.

6. Right to Marry - No state currently allows gays and lesbians to marry legally and gain marriage benefits.

7. Right to Equal Taxation - The IRS does not recognize gay couples and organizations like they do heterosexual couples or straight organizations.

8. Right to Peace - Violent crimes against gays and lesbians aren't prosecutable under Federal law.

9. Right to Worship - Churches and church organizations are allowed to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

10. Right to Serve in the Military - Openly-gay and -lesbian people are prohibited from serving in the armed forces.

Rights of Marriage-- But Not For Us

11. Joint parenting, adoption, fostering;

12. Joint custody and visitation rights;

13. Status as next-of-kin for hospital visits and medical decisions when a partner is too ill;

14. Join insurance policies for home, auto, health;

15. Dissolution and divorce protections such as community property and child support;

16. Immigration and residency for partners from other countries;

17. Inheritance of jointly-owned real estate and personal property through the right of survivorship (which avoids the time and expense and taxes in probate);

18. Spousal exemptions to property tax increases upon the death of one partner who is a co-owner of the home;

19. Veterans' discounts for partners on medical care, education and home loans;

20. Joint filing of tax returns;

21. Joint filing of custom claims when traveling;

22. Wrongful death benefits for a surviving partner or child;

23. Bereavement or sick leave to care for a partner or child;

24. Decision-making power with respect to whether a deceased partner will be cremated or not and where to bury him or her;

25. Crime victims' recovery benefits;

26. Loss of consortium tort benefits;

27. Domestic violence protection orders;

28. Judicial protections and evidentiary immunity;

29. Certificates of occupation;

30. Exemption from regulation of condominium sales to owner-occupants;

31. Inheritance of land patents;

32. Funeral leave;

33. Right to change names;

34. Right to file action for non-support;

35. Right to support after divorce;

36. Bill of Rights benefits for victims and witnesses;

37. Appointment as guardian of a minor;

38. Continuation of rights under existing homestead leases;

39. Beneficiary of spouse's corporate securities;

40. Consent to post-mortem examination;

41. Burial of servicemembers' dependents;

42. Lower fees for some licenses;

43. Married couple discounts with associations and groups such as the American Automobile Association and the YMCA;

44. Right to change names;

45. Right to file action for non-support;

46. Right to file a wrongful death suit of a spouse;

47. Travel and transportation expense of government employees;

48. Veterans' preference to spouse in public employment;

49. Division of property after dissolution of marriage;

50. Notice of probate proceedings;

51. Insurance beneficiary;

52. IRA beneficiary;

53. Employee medical coverage for spouse.

Benefits of Serving in the Military - Only for Some

54. Veteran's pension;

55. Veteran's medical insurance;

56. Food and housing subsidy;

57. Increased living allotment for married couples;

58. VA mortgages;

59. VA loans;

60. GI Bill for education.

Not Welcome into the Flock - Religious Persecution

61. Being a member of the Catholic Church;

62. Serving as ministers in most Protestant congregations;

63. Teaching in parochial schools;

64. Using accommodations open to the rest of the public;

65. Church weddings;

66. Religious burial in some churches;

67. Working for some religious organizations.

Enter the Tax Man - Discrimination in the Tax Code

68. Make withdrawals from an IRA to pay for a spouses medical insurance premium;

69. Contribute money for your non-working spouse into an IRA without penalty;

70. Deduct donations to some gay organizations because the IRS doesn't recognize them as non-profits.

Things Gays Can't Do In Private (in 24 states)

71. Kiss passionately;

72. Lie naked with a person of the same sex;

73. Frotage;

74. Mutual masturbation;

75. Oral sex;

76. Anal sex;

76. Exhibitionism;

77. S&M;

79. Voyeurism;

80. Bondage.


81. Protection from Hate Crimes - There is no federal law to prosecute a person for a hate crime if their crime was motivated by sexual orientation bias;

82. Right to Keep a Child - A judge can strip a mother of her child just because she is a lesbian;

83. Police Inaction - Hate crimes against gays and lesbians aren't being reported as such by many police departments;

84. Freedom from Scorn - All religions but Buddhism look on homosexuality as a sin;

85. Right to Justice - Murders have been given lighter sentences by judges because the victims were gay;

86. Right to Seek Equality - Some municipalities have passed charter amendments prohibiting the passage of gay-rights laws.

87. Freedom to Meet - Gay bars in rural areas are being attacked by fundamentalists;

88. Right to "Don't Ask" - The military continues to ask applicants their sexual orientation in non-direct ways;

89. Freedom from Oppression - Witch hunts persist in the military;

90. Right of Recognition - Nineteen states, including Florida, refuse to recognize gay marriages that may be performed legally in other states or countries;

91. Right of Federal Recognition - The federal government refuses to acknowledge them, too;

92. Right to Educate - Gays and lesbians teachers have been fired in some school districts because of their sexual orientation;

93. Right to Publish - Books with gay-themes have been banned by school boards;

94. Right to Disseminate Information - Some World Wide Web browsers allow the users to filter out all "gay" sites;

95. Freedom to Be - Gay teens often cannot take their partner to school dances and proms;

96. Value of Life - Suicide-prevention information isn't readily available for most gay teens;

97. Right to Artistic Expression - Gay-themed films are considered obscene and banned by some municipalities just for their discussion of homosexuality;

98. Freedom from Ignorance - Parents who don't understand homosexuality attempt to "cure" their children through therapy;

99. Right to Equal Representation - Gays often aren't fairly represented in the media;

100. Right to Life - Low income people with HIV and AIDS, including many in the gay community, are being denied life-extending drugs.

This article was compiled by George Ferencz thanks to material provided to HotSpots! by Lambda Legal Defense and the Human Rights Campaign. HOTSPOTS is Florida's largest and most colorful gay publication, servicing gay and lesbian businesses throughout the state but especially in South Florida. HOTSPOTS can be reached at http:// www.

1998 BEI; All Rights Reserved.
For reprint permission e-mail