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This is not legal advice, which can only be given by an attorney admitted to practice law in your jurisdiction after hearing all of the facts and circumstances in a particular case.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

How many states have law covering gender identity?

Last updated: 7/23/07 6:45 am

I have seen various figures for states prohibiting gender identity discrimination quoted in various places. Some refer to 17, which is the number of states including sexual orientation, ignoring the fact that 9 of those states do not include gender identity. Others refer to 8 states with laws against gender identity discrimination, which is only partially correct, as there are 8 states with statutes, and even more with court rulings and regulations. Some say 9, because they are including Hawaii, which has a statute prohibiting gender identity discrimination in housing, but not in employment, though it does prohibit gender identity employment discrimination by regulation (or administative ruling, because the two seem to be the same in Hawaii, as far as I can tell.) Some say 10, counting DC as a state.

So let's count them, shall we?

12 states have statutes prohibiting gender identity discrimination in employment: CA, CO, IA, IL, ME, MN, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VT, WA.

11 states have other law, like court rulings or regulations, that prohibits gender identity discrimination in employment: CT, FL, HI, KY, MA, MI, NH, NY, OH, OR, TN

2 states have policies that prohibit gender identity discrimination in public employment: IN, PA (KY used to have one, but revoked it, though federal law on the subject still applies; OH has one, but there is also a federal court ruling on the subject, so I've counted it already in the previous category.)

DC has a statute prohibiting gender identity discrimination in employment.

In terms of pending legislation to create new state statutes, I think we've got 6 currently pending: Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania.

There are also about a hundred cities with gender identity ordinances, which you can find at the Human Rights Campaign website (hrc.org/worklife).

These carefully calculated numbers may change tomorrow, so be careful to recheck, journalists, when you quote these numbers. A good place to do that is the HRC website, where they list all these things (but a little out of date, so be careful to recheck their calculations too!) I'll try to remember to post updates here, but judging from how good I am with New Year's resolutions, I'm making no promises.

A note for those fuzzy on US government: A statute is a written law passed by a legislative body, such as Congress, which can apply to all persons in the jurisdiction. By contrast, a court ruling or order is an opinion written by a judge, who is part of the judicial branch, in the context of a suit, applicable only to the parties to the suit, though potentially applicable to all persons in the court's jurisdiction in a later lawsuit. An administrative regulation is a written policy enacted by the executive branch of government, such as the President or one of his or her agencies, such as the FBI, under a specific grant of authority in a statute. Executive orders are a form of administrative regulation. There also administrative tribunals, which make rulings similar to a court, but which are part of the executive branch of government. These rulings can be overturned by the courts.

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