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Sexual Orientation Discrimination as Sex Discrimination

Federal and state law in the United States prohibit sex discrimination in employment, education, housing, places of public accommodation, credit, and other settings. Sex discrimination is discrimination motivated by a person’s sex or gender. The current entry discusses that courts and governmental entities charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the United States are increasingly concluding that prohibitions on sex discrimination protect against sexual orientation discrimination. Before describing this trend, the current entry discusses some background concepts; the prevalence of discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people; and the status of laws explicitly prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination.

Basic Concepts

Generally in the context of anti-discrimination law, sex refers to a person’s biological status and is typically categorized as male or female. Gender refers to the behaviors and ...

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