‘Tis the season…

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…for LGBT state employees to find out how (in)secure their jobs are for the next four years. Most states still do not have nondiscrimination legislation in place that protects their LGBT citizens from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. (For a map indicating the 21 states and DC that have legal protections in place, click here.) The governors of a handful of states have stepped in to fill this void somewhat, by protecting at least public employees from employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. But these protections only last as long as the governor is in office. Each time a new governor is elected, the new governor can either continue those protections or revoke them–or where they have not existed before, extend them to LGBT state employees.

With the turnover in a number of governorships this year, the waiting game has begun once again to see which LGBT state employees will (or will not) be protected from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is already clear that LGBT public employees in Florida will be getting no protection from newly installed Governor Rick Scott (not that they had any before). In fact, in his executive order concerning nondiscrimination in public employment, Scott not only refused to extend protection to the state’s LGBT employees, but he also appears to have left off some categories (e.g., disability and marital status) that are specifically covered by state nondiscrimination laws!

In my home state of Pennsylvania, nondiscrimination protections have been in place under outgoing Governor Ed Rendell. It will be interesting to see whether newly elected (and yet to be sworn in) Governor Tom Corbett will reverse these protections. There is some serious question about Corbett’s support for nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community.

Stay tuned! And get out your scorecard, if you want to keep track of these changes yourself. Or, check back periodically at the map that I link to above. The Human Rights Campaign, who created this map, seems to be quite good at updating it as changes occur.

-Tony Infanti

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