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Report: Preemption Laws May Undermine LGBT Equality

A report by the Movement Advancement Project shows how preemption laws can limit local progress and threatens LGBT people. (Pixabay)
A report by the Movement Advancement Project shows how preemption laws can limit local progress and threatens LGBT people. (Pixabay)
May 14, 2018

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — While cities and counties are trying to pass their own nondiscrimination ordinances, a new report shows how some states use preemption laws to block local governments from putting in place their own protections.

Naomi Goldberg, director of policy and research at the Movement Advancement Project, said they've found that local governments have been taking steps to pass policies that reflect their communities. But preemption laws from state legislatures are threatening LGBT equality and progress on several fronts.

"It is a threat to cities and counties that are trying to pass nondiscrimination ordinances, that are trying to ban harmful conversion therapy,” Goldberg said; “but also more broadly than that, in terms of efforts to make it impossible for cities to increase the minimum wage."

The report called "The Power of State Preemption," focuses on LGBT issues, but also shows that since 2017, at least 46 states have considered more than 100 preemption bills, ranging from immigration to environmental policy matters.

While preemption laws are on the rise across the country, Goldberg said Maryland is not considered a state that has dangerous preemption laws negatively impacting the LGBT community.

"On LGBT issues, Maryland is at the forefront,” she said. “Maryland has nondiscrimination ordinances or laws at the state levels for both sexual orientation and gender identity, and the governor is expected to sign a ban on harmful conversion therapy for minors."

If the governor does sign the bill banning conversion therapy, which is a practice of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation, Maryland will become the 11th state to do so. The District of Columbia has also banned conversion therapy.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD