While the wave of rulings overturning gay marriage bans may signal a major sea change in this country, LGBT individuals continue to face discriminatory laws that contribute significantly to rates of poverty, according to a new study.
As per “Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being LGBT in America” — a paper written by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and the Center for American Progress, working in partnership with Center for Community Change, Center for Popular Democracy, National Association of Social Workers, and the National Education Association — inequitable laws are to blame for the financial struggles that continue to plague the community.
“Unfair laws deliver a one-two punch. They both drive poverty within the LGBT community and then hit people when they are down,” said MAP executive director Ineke Mushovic, according to LGBTQNation.com.
As the website summarizes, laws are failing LGBT people in three key ways. First, they allow discrimination in employment, housing, and credit. Simply being LGBT in America might prevent you from finding work and result in higher housing and medical costs, and that’s a major problem.
Second, LGBT families don’t receive the same recognition as traditional ones, and when it comes to taxes, safety-net programs, and insurance, they often don’t enjoy the kinds of benefits that other Americans take for granted. In times of “serious crisis,” LGBTQNation.com points out, LGBT families may have to pay more for — or not have access to — essential services.
Lastly, there’s a lack of protections in place for LGBT students, who often find themselves in hostile school environments and get turned down for financial aid. “LGBT youth are more likely to perform poorly in school and to face challenges pursuing postsecondary educational opportunities, as can youth with LGBT parents,” LGBTQNation.com writes. Poor school performance, of course, leads to reduced earning potential and lower wages.