LGBT rights in Alabama

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LGBT rights in Alabama
Map of USA AL.svg
Same-sex sexual activity legal status Legal since June 26, 2003
(Lawrence v. Texas)
Gender identity/expression Sex change legal
Discrimination protections None statewide
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
Legal since February 6, 2015
(Strawser v. Strange)
Adoption Legal since February 6, 2015
(Strawser v. Strange)

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Alabama face legal challenges and discrimination not experienced by non-LGBT residents. LGBT rights in the state are very limited in comparison to other states, with the cities of Montgomery and Birmingham being the only geographical locations that outlaw such discrimination in the state, but it only covers sexual orientation in the public sector of employement.

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity has been legal in Alabama since 2003, when the United States Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all state sodomy laws. The state's sodomy law, although unenforceable, has not been repealed by the Alabama Legislature.

Alabama has a no promo homo law, which states that “[c]ourse materials and instruction that relate to sexual education or sexually transmitted diseases should include [...] an emphasis, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.” (Ala. Code § 16-40A-2)[1]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

Adoption rights[edit]

Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act[edit]

Alabama permits adoption by same-sex couples. It is worth noting however that Alabama is one of the few states to have a law protecting the right of faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to place a child with an LGBT individual or same-sex couple. The law was signed by Governor Kay Ivey in May 2017.[2]

Discrimination protections[edit]

State level[edit]

Map of Alabama cities that have sexual orientation anti–employment discrimination ordinances
  Sexual orientation in public employment
  Does not protect sexual orientation and gender identity in employment

Alabama law does not address discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.[3]

Local level[edit]

The cities of Montgomery and Birmingham prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public employment.[4] [5]

Hate crimes laws[edit]

Since 1994, Alabama has had a hate crimes law applicable to "race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or physical or mental disability." The current law does not apply to crimes committed on account of sexual orientation or gender identity.[6]

On April 24, 2009, State Representative Alvin Holmes introduced HB533, a bill that would have added sexual orientation to the list of hate crime categories.[7] State Representative Patricia Todd, the legislature's first and only openly‐LGBT member, unsuccessfully attempted to add gender identity to the bill but was opposed by Holmes and other legislators. Holmes said he believed that his bill covering only sexual orientation would protect persons victimized as a result of their gender identity.[8] Holmes had introduced identical bills in previous sessions: HB829 (2008),[9] HB247 (2007),[10] HB57 (2006),[11] HB423 (2001),[12] HB85 (2000),[13] and has pushed for the inclusion of sexual orientation in the hate crimes law since at least 1999.[14]

In April 2009, the Alabama House of Representatives passed Holmes' bill by a vote of 46 to 41.[8][15][16] The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee later approved the bill, but the full senate took no action on it before the legislature adjourned on May 15, 2009.[16][17]

HB413 (2016) was sponsored by Todd and Rep. Juandalynn Givan to add protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and HB8 (2017), but neither bill made it to a vote.

Sex Reassignment Surgery[edit]

Transgender persons born in Alabama may request an amended birth certificate with a changed name and sex after undergoing sex reassignment surgery.[18][19]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since June 26, 2003)
Equal age of consent Yes
Recognition of same-sex marriages Yes (Since February 9, 2015)
Recognition of same-sex couples Yes (Since February 9, 2015)
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples Yes (Since February 9, 2015)
Joint adoption by same-sex couples Yes (Since February 9, 2015)
Right to change legal gender Yes
Equal access to IVF Emblem-question.svg
Commercial surrogacy Emblem-question.svg
Sexual orientation Gender identity or gender expression
Anti-discrimination laws in public employment No No
Anti-discrimination laws in private employment No No
Anti-discrimination laws in the public accommodations No No
Anti-discrimination laws in the housing No No
Anti-discrimination laws in the credit and lending services No No
Hate crime law No No
Ban on conversion therapy No No

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Alabama Code Title 16. Education § 16-40A-2 | FindLaw". Findlaw. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  2. ^ "Ivey signs bill allowing denial of LGBG adoptions". Montgomery Advisor. 3 May 2017. 
  3. ^ "Alabama Non-Discrimination Law". Hrc.org. March 9, 2007. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Municipal Equality Index" (PDF). Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved November 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Birmingham makes discrimination a criminal offense". al.com. 2017-09-26. 
  6. ^ "Alabama Hate Crimes Law". Hrc.org. Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  7. ^ ALISON: Bills Sponsored by Representative Holmes: Regular Session 2009, accessed June 2, 2012
  8. ^ a b Birmingham News: Kim Chandler, "House Oks adding sexual orientation to hate crimes law, which now goes to Senate," April 24, 2009, accessed June 2, 2012
  9. ^ ALISON: Bills Sponsored by Representative Holmes: Regular Session 2008, accessed June 2, 2012
  10. ^ ALISON: Bills Sponsored by Representative Holmes: Regular Session 2007, accessed June 2, 2012
  11. ^ ALISON: Bills Sponsored by Representative Holmes: Regular Session 2006, accessed June 2, 2012
  12. ^ ALISON: Bills Sponsored by Representative Holmes: Regular Session 2001, accessed June 2, 2012
  13. ^ ALISON: Bills Sponsored by Representative Holmes: Regular Session 2000, accessed June 2, 2012
  14. ^ Phillip Rawls, "Committee adds sexual orientation to hate crimes," Times Daily (Florence, Alabama), January 17, 2006, accessed June 2, 2012
  15. ^ The Guardian: "On gay rights, two steps forward, one step back in the Alabama house", accessed June 2, 2012
  16. ^ a b Birmingham Weekly: "Alabama pays for Legislature's dead bills," May 21, 2009, accessed June 2, 2012
  17. ^ ALISON: Session Adjourn / Convene, accessed June 2, 2012
  18. ^ Human Rights Campaign: Alabama Birth Certificate Law: Gender Identity Issues, accessed July 5, 2011
  19. ^ "Sec. 22-9A-19. Amendment of vital records". Code of Alabama. Retrieved 2017-08-17.