Why it’s legal to fire someone for being gay in 28 states

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By German Lopez
April 22, 2015

In most states, a landlord can evict someone simply because he is gay — and it would be totally legal to do so.

The cause isn’t a religious freedom law like the one that triggered a national firestorm in Indiana, which critics said would enable discrimination on religious grounds. Instead, 31 states, including Indiana, have long allowed discrimination against LGBT people because they don’t include sexual orientation or gender identity in existing civil rights statutes. In these states, it’s not religious freedom laws that allow discrimination; it’s the lack of civil rights laws.

“If there’s a ‘license to discriminate,'” Robin Wilson, a law professor at the University of Illinois who helped write Utah’s nondiscrimination law, said, “it’s the fact that the state hasn’t said this is an unacceptable basis for saying no to people.”

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