June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride month, and as such, it seems the perfect time to highlight resources that address the legal issues surrounding gender identity and sexual orientation in the United States. While these issues are frequently talked about as if they fall into a singular category, they bleed into multiple areas of law, including family law, employment law, immigration law, juvenile law, tax law, and health law, among many others. Thus, it can be difficult to find resources that touch on all or most of these areas. Hopefully this Beginner’s Guide can serve to simplify this research process, and provide some helpful resources for those interested in the law surrounding gender identity and sexual orientation.
As is very clear from recent court cases and other events highlighted in the news, the law in the area of gender identity and sexual orientation is still in a state of flux. However, to get a grounding in the law as it currently stands, and to get more information on how to update your research in the future, it may be best to start your research with a secondary source, like a legal treatise or law review article. The Law Library of Congress has several helpful resources in its collection, including:
- Sexual Orientation and the Law, by Karen Moulding, in conjunction with the National Lawyers Guild, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Rights Committee
- Transgender Persons and the Law, by Ally Windsor Howell
- A Legal Guide for Lesbian and Gay Couples, by Frederick Hertz and Emily Doskow
- Same-Sex Legal Kit for Dummies, by Carrie Stone and John G. Culhane
- Cases and Materials on Sexual Orientation and the Law, by William B. Rubenstein, Carlos A. Ball, Jane S. Schacter, and Douglas NeJaime
- Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Constitution, by Peter Nicolas
- Sexual Identity Law in Context: Cases and Materials, by Shannon Gilreath and Lydia E. Lavelle
Same-Sex Marriage and “Alternative Relationships”
- Making it Legal: A Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnerships & Civil Unions, by Frederick C. Hertz and Emily Doskow
- Marriage, Civil Unions & Alternative Relationships: The Law Today, by Anna M. Pohl, Joseph McFadden, and Ron Meyers
- Estate, Tax, & Benefits Planning for Unmarried Couples: Formal and Informal Arrangements and Agreements, by Joan M. Burda, et al.
- Guide to Benefits for Domestic Partners and Same-Gender Couples, by Todd A. Solomon, Joseph A. Adams, and Brian J. Tiemann
- Whether to Wed: A Legal and Tax Guide for Gay and Lesbian Couples, by Scott E. Squillace, Esq.
- Out Law: What LGBT Youth Should Know About Their Legal Rights, by Lisa Keen
- It’s Your Life: Opening Doors: Improving the Legal System’s Approach to LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care, by Krishna Desai
- Teen Legal Rights, by David L. Hudson Jr.
- Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Workplace: A Practical Guide, Christine Michelle Duffy, Esq., et al.
- Civil Rights Litigation: Representing Plaintiffs Today, by Rebecca A. Taylor
- The Right to be Parents: LGBT Families and the Transformation of Parenthood, by Carlos Ball
- The Rights of Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals, and Transgender People: The Authoritative ACLU Guide to a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender Person’s Rights, by Nan D. Hunter, Courtney G. Joslin, and Sharon M. McGowan
- Law & Sexuality: A Review of Lesbian and Gay Legal Issues
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Family Law
- The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law
- Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy (also online at http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/djglp/all_issues.html)
To find these resources in a library near you, you can use the WorldCat catalog. Simply perform a search for the resource, open the resource’s catalog page, and use the “Find a copy in the library” feature to locate the resource in your area.
In light of the breakneck pace of changes in the law regarding gender identity and sexual orientation, researchers might also want to keep on top of these issues by using internet resources, which are often updated more frequently than resources in print. Some useful sites are:
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Facts about Discrimination in Federal Government Employment Based on Marital Status, Political Affiliation, Status as a Parent, Sexual Orientation, or Transgender (Gender Identity) Status” – http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/otherprotections.cfm
- Law Library of Congress, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month” – http://www.loc.gov/law/help/commemorative-observations/pride.php?loclr=bloglaw
- Southern Poverty Law Center, “LGBT Rights” – http://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/lgbt-rights
- Nolo, “LGBT Law” – http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/lgbt-law
- Lambda Legal, “In Your State” (http://www.lambdalegal.org/states-regions) and “Know Your Rights” (http://www.lambdalegal.org/know-your-rights)
- Human Rights Campaign, “Maps of State Laws and Policies” – http://www.hrc.org/state_maps
- National Center for Transgender Equality, “Know Your Rights” – http://transequality.org/know-your-rights/
- New York Law School and the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of Greater New York, Lesbian/Gay Law Notes – http://www.nyls.edu/impact-center-for-public-interest-law/publications/lesbiangay_law_notes/
- Columbia Law School Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, Gender & Sexuality Law Online – http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/gslonline/
- Pew Research Center, “Same-Sex Marriage State-by-State” – http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/21/same-sex-marriage-state-by-state/
For any questions about this area of the law, contact the Law Library of Congress through our Ask-a-Librarian feature.