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73 UMKC L. Rev. 643 (2004-2005)
Queering the Office: Can Sexual Orientation Employment Discrimination Laws Transform Work Place Norms for LGBT Employees

handle is hein.journals/umkc73 and id is 653 raw text is: QUEERING THE OFFICE: CAN SEXUAL
ORIENTATION EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION
LAWS TRANSFORM WORK PLACE NORMS FOR
LGBT EMPLOYEES?
© Toni Lester*
INTRODUCTION
We are at an important juncture in American culture when it comes to gay
rights. On the one hand, landmark legal and political developments are enabling
gays to enjoy more civil rights today than at any other time. For example, in
2003 the U.S. Supreme Court declared in Lawrence v. Texas' that state anti-
sodomy laws were illegal under the United States Constitution.2 In that same
year, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in Goodridge v. Department of
Public Health3 that a state ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional under
Massachusetts law.4 Additionally, thirteen states, plus the District of Columbia,
nineteen cities, and numerous municipalities have enacted laws prohibiting
employment discrimination   against gays.    Fifteen  of those  nineteen
municipalities did so in 2002 alone.5
There seems to be greater acceptance of homosexuality today than at any
other time in history. These changing attitudes are reflected in studies showing
that a majority of Americans think gays should be allowed to enjoy certain basic
civil rights, such as the right to vote, work, and have private consensual sex. 6
Even conservative Republican President George W. Bush, Jr., continues to
enforce former President Bill Clinton's 1998 Executive Order, which bans
discrimination against gay federal government workers.7 And, although he
continues to oppose same sex marriage, Bush recently surprised many on the
conservative right who backed his candidacy by saying that he would support
state-sanctioned same-sex civil unions.
On the other hand, other studies show that, despite their somewhat liberal
views on gay civil rights, a majority of Americans still think that homosexuality
* Associate Professor of Law, Johnson Research Chair, Babson College; Ph.D. (Northeastern
University); B.S. (School of Foreign Service); and J.D. (Georgetown University). I would like to
thank Professors Tom Koenig, Elaine Ingulli, Jack Levin, and Lee Badgett for their invaluable
feedback on earlier drafts of this article.
1 539 U.S. 558 (2003).
2 See id.
3 798 N.E.2d 941 (Mass. 2003).
4 Id. at 969.
' HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN, THE STATE OF THE WORK PLACE 5 (2002).
6 Jeni Loftus, America 's Liberalization in Attitudes Toward Homosexuality: 1973-1998, 66 AM.
SOC. REV. 767, 778 (2001).
7 Exec. Order No. 13,087, 63 Fed. Reg. 30,097 (June 1, 1998).
8 David D. Kirkpatrick & Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Backers of Gay Marriage Ban Use Social Security
as Cudgel, N.Y. TIMES, Jan. 25, 2005, at A17.

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