About 20 states have anti-discrimination laws specifically protecting L.G.B.T.Q. people.

Federal law protects Americans from being discriminated against in public places like retail stores on the basis of disability and “race, color, religion or national origin.”

Many states go further. Colorado is one of about 20 states, along with the District of Columbia, that have laws explicitly protecting people from being refused services or otherwise discriminated against in public because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, several states interpret existing laws against sex discrimination to apply to bias relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, even though they do not have laws explicitly forbidding such discrimination.

In states that do not offer protections to gay and transgender people on those grounds, municipal laws cover many residents.

The Human Rights Campaign, an L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy organization, joined a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that an exemption in the case decided on Friday would undermine state and federal public-accommodation laws.

In a survey of 1,528 self-identified L.G.B.T.Q. adults conducted by the Center for American Progress in 2020, 51 percent of respondents said they had experienced harassment or discrimination in a public space in the past year.

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