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    The Current Wave of Anti-LGBT Legislation: Historical Context and Implications for LGBT Health

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    Since 2015, state lawmakers have introduced over 175 anti-LGBT bills including legislation that: repeals local nondiscrimination laws, allows religious people and organizations to refuse to provide services and goods to LGBT people, and prevents transgender people from accessing restroom facilities based on their gender identity. So called "religious exemption bills" prevent access to health care for LGBT people; thereby exacerbating anti-LGBT discrimination in health care and increasing LGBT health disparities. This publication explains the historical context, constitutionality, and health related consequences of religious exemption bills.

    Learning Objectives

    After viewing this video, the learner will be able to:

    • Explain the historical context of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
    • Differentiate between religious freedom laws that protect religious communities from infringements on their rights, and those that are used to discriminate against a minority.
    • Explain the health related consequences for LGBT people in states that pass religious exemption bills.


    Timothy Wang, MPH
    Health Policy Analyst
    Fenway Institute

    Sophia Geffen
    Project Manager of HIV Prevention Research
    Fenway Institute

    Sean Cahill, PhD
    Director of Health Policy Research
    Fenway Institute