BY CURTIS TATE, MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS
WASHINGTON -- Gay rights activists have made significant strides in recent years on marriage and military service, but one long-standing policy goal remains elusive: a federal law to ban discrimination against gay workers.
Gays now can serve openly in the military. Gay couples now have some form of legal recognition in 19 states and the District of Columbia. But in 29 states, gay workers can still be fired or denied promotions simply because they're gay.
To be sure, 21 states ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation, and all but five of those prohibit bias based on gender identity. Hundreds of cities and counties across the country have enacted nondiscrimination laws. Federal government employees are protected by a policy that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. And nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have their own nondiscrimination policies.