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The Elderly:The 1967 federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) determined that age discrimination in employment is illegal. Yet recent Court rulings now put the burden of proof on the employee for proving that employment termination or demotion was a direct consequence of age discrimination. The major lobbyist supporting these laws for seniors is the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).Gays, Lesbians and Transgender:
The gay movement is one of the largest civil rights movements in the contemporary United States. The Human Rights Campaign Political Action Committee (HRC PAC) is the primary committee focused on homosexual rights. Homosexual rights drew national attention in 1993 with Clinton’s “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy allowing gays to serve in the military as long as they do not openly proclaim or practice their sexual orientation. In 1996, the Supreme Court declareddiscrimination against gay people unconstitutional and extended their fundamental civil rights protection. In that same year the Court ruled against privacy that would protect consensual homosexual activity in Bowers. Yet in 2003, the Court overturned the decision in Lawrence v. Texas, thus extending homosexuals’ right to privacy. The most significant victory came in 2004, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that under the state’s constitution homosexuals were entitled to marry. The senate questioned whether a civil union statute would suffice. The Court ruled negatively, asserting that civil unions were like the “separate but equal” legalization of racial segregation. Despite some public support for homosexual marriages, many state legislatures banned same-sex marriages. Campaigns to legalize gay marriage have not been as successful in other states, although a handful of states and the District of Columbia do have laws that provide gay partners with a range of spousal benefits.Affirmative Action:The goal of rights politics has expanded from eliminating discrimination to affirmative action (government policies or programs that seek to redress past injustices against specified groups by making special efforts to provide members of these groups with access to educational and employment opportunities). This type of compensatory action policy involves two approaches: (1) benign discrimination for compensatory action, and (2) Compensatory action to favor minorities never victimized by discrimination. Affirmative action goals were to promote preferential treatment of minorities to foster equal opportunity and to shift national focus from desegregation to integration. Affirmative action efforts by the three branches of government were applied to the areas of health, education, welfare, and employment.The constitutional status of affirmative action has not been very clear. The federal government has mandated that all state and local governments adopt an affirmative action program. The Supreme Court, however, has vacillated in its decisions on affirmative action. In Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the Supreme Court held that a state university could not admit less qualified individuals solely because of their race, but upheld the practice of using race as a criterion for admission. In 1990, they upheld a specific affirmative action program that was not