The federal government has declared it unconstitutional to deny federal benefits to a legal same-sex spouse. Washington D.C. and 19 states legally recognize civil unions or same-sex marriages. Sexual orientation discrimination is a protected class under many state employment laws.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines specifically prohibit universities from discriminating against LGBTQA employees. Despite this rule and the shift in most law, many employees of this class still face very real discrimination. A number of civil rights groups claim that some of the largest instances of discrimination come from a surprising group of educational institutions.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been put under the microscope of groups like the National Black Justice Coalition. The groups executive director and CEO, Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks said about the scrutiny "I don't don't think we're being too hard on HBCUs. They are just far too behind when it comes to this issue."
In fact, a number of activists and scholars cited EEOC data that shows the number of complaints filed with the agency against HBCUs concerning sexual orientation discrimination have increased. The recent and well-known case from Arizona State University simply brought the issue to the fore.
Have you been discriminated against based on your sexual orientation? Do you know your rights? You don't have to know your rights to know that something is wrong. Those who have suffered adverse employment actions should consult with an attorney about their options for relief.
Source: Diverse Education, "HBCUs Not Rushing to Embrace LGBTQA Issues of Staff and Students," Jamal Eric Watson, Oct. 23, 2014