Same-sex sexual behavior used to be illegal in many states, and same-sex couples could not legally marry anywhere. Supreme Court rulings have abolished laws against same- sex sexual behavior and given same-sex couples the right to marry in every state and every community. Many Americans celebrated when these rulings occurred, and LGBTQ individuals enjoy many more legal advantages and much more legal equality than was true in just the recent past.

Despite these advances, the LGBTQ community continues to lack full legal equality. In particular, there is no federal law prohibiting employment or housing discrimination against LGBTQ people, and employers, landlords, and property owners are free in the majority of states to practice such discrimination. Because there is also no federal law prohibiting LGBTQ discrimination in public accommodations, restaurant owners, retail store managers, and hotel managers are also free in the majority of states to refuse to serve LGBTQ customers. In the area of the law, the United States still has a long road to travel before the LGBTQ community achieves full legal equality.

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