Civil Rights

Civil rights are rights granted and guaranteed to every citizen and resident of the United States by the Constitution and legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Included among the rights guaranteed to each United States citizen and resident by the Constitution are Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Association, and Freedom to Peaceably Assemble.

Civil rights also guarantee Equal Protection of the law to every United States citizen and freedom from certain types of discrimination. The Constitution prohibits discrimination against any citizen or resident because of that citizen’s race, color, religion, gender or sex, national origin, mental disability or physical disability, or age.

Currently sexual orientation is not included as one of the classes of citizens protected under the Constitution’s prohibition on discrimination. However, most U.S. government agencies and federal courts consider discrimination against a person based on that person’s sexual orientation to fall under discrimination based on gender or sex; which means discrimination against a person because of their sexual orientation is also prohibited by the Constitution.