What’s the state of your state?

Readers: Does your state/city/municipality have non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ communities? Is there relevant legislation in place or pending that you know of? Post here on the state of the laws in your place of residence with regard to LBGTQ equality for the sake of our readers on the market, and save some already exhausted candidates some time.

6 thoughts on “What’s the state of your state?

  1. In Indiana, there is not (so far as I know) any thing in our non-discrimination law which addresses gender or sexual orientation in particular. The EEO policy for *state employees* in Indiana does include gender and sexual orientation as protected categories. Importantly, Indiana is also currently considering a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, which is already illegal in the state–but if the ban were adopted, IU’s general counsel has already expressed concern regarding whether the language of the proposed amendment would allow them to continue to offer domestic partner benefits.


  2. Lambda Legal maintains a site that covers the US and is updated as situations evolve: http://www.lambdalegal.org/states-regions It covers the obvious territory (e.g., marriage, family, and adoption law) as well as statutes regarding less obvious elements (e.g., bullying).

    I’d add to the original post the hope that faculty who are sitting on search committees will become acquainted, if you are not, about the benefits provisions at your institutions. A colleague in another discipline here described to me a candidate they had out inquiring about our benefits for same sex partners. No one in the department knew and they sent the candidate to the benefits office, where she was told about the nothing we offer. Save candidates that sort of demeaning and awful experience by knowing what to tell them or, better still, tell them even when they don’t ask so no one in a same sex partnership need disclose that in order to get the information.

  3. I should maybe add that candidates on the market who do need benefits information and such should not rely on what state laws appear to entail for state higher ed institutions. Some state institutions in places with no marriage equality have been admirably creative in securing benefits for same sex partners and their families. Look for “other qualified adult” (OQA) and “other qualified child” (OQC) provisions in any benefits policies to assess this. This is sometimes used by universities seeking to provide benefits where state law prohibiting same sex marriage would ostensibly bar providing benefits to same sex families.

  4. A quick addition to Professor Manners; well, yes, but. The “work-arounds” that some universities in some states have developed in response to discriminatory amendments vary greatly, and some of them just don’t afford the same kinds of benefits as do, say, ordinary domestic partner policies.
    So, for instance, at IU right now there is a domestic partner policy that provides any number of benefits with regard to health insurance and the like, and smaller (though important depending on one’s situation) benefits such as library privileges. To get access to these benefits, one has to go through a somewhat byzantine process that involves demonstrating financial interdependence in ways that couples are not asked to do so when getting married, but the financial requirement is interdependence. According to the testimony of Jackie Simmons (IU general counsel) in response to the forthcoming constitutional amendment that Katheryn (above) mentions, Kentucky’s work-around (someone from Kentucky can speak to this) involves demonstrating *financial dependence* not *interdependence*. That covers people which ordinary domestic partner policies do not cover, but it does not cover couples who cannot get married under state law both of whom work. So, e.g. if you’re in a couple who cannot get married, both of whom work, and one of whom doesn’t have employer-provided health care, you’re S.O.L. (esp., if, e.g., the person without health-care falls into one of the ACA gaps)
    Indiana: The bill to which Katheryn refers above, HJR-3, comes to a vote in the house this Monday, if it passes, it goes on to the Senate, and then the ballot this coming November. It is nearly certain to pass the Senate if it gets there. Here’s are two reports on the current score in the House:http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2014/01/25/poll-shows-indiana-house-members-wavering-on-hjr-3/4901633/; http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2014/01/25/indiana-house-members-vote-hjr3/4843639/. But we’ll all know by Monday evening a definitive answer.
    The second sentence of HJR-3 reads, “A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage shall not be valid or recognized.” No one is disputing that this creates a constitutional ban on civil unions. The problem for domestic partner policies is created by the combination of the “substantially similar to” and “or recognized”. The AJ of Indiana is Republican, and extremely likely in the event HJR-3 passes to advise IU that its domestic partner policy violates the constitutional amendment. Legal battles will ensue. Likely outcome in dispute; a good deal depends on what the SC rules about the Utah and Oklahoma cases.

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