In contrast to women over the last 40 years, homosexuals have seen slow progress in their attempts for equal rights. In areas ranging from marriage and family to job discrimination to organizations such as the military and boy scouts, discrimination against homosexuals is still sanctioned in a variety of ways. The military, for example, currently has a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” implemented in 1993, which allows a serviceman or woman to be discharged if he or she publicly admits to being homosexual. This policy was upheld in 1998 by Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Able v. U.S.A. in which the court found that “don’t ask, don’t tell” did not violate the First Amendment or the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
One of the biggest ways sexual orientation differs from other suspect classifications such as race or sex is there is no nationwide law dealing with discrimination against homosexuals. For example, Title VII has been consistently held not to apply to discrimination against homosexuals. Nevertheless, many states and municipalities have adopted sexual orientation anti-discrimination laws. The twenty-first century has witnessed a clear movement toward gay rights in the United States, at least in some regions and areas.