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In the last generation, more than half the states have repealed their laws criminalizing consensual sodomy, and many cities and some states have adopted laws prohibiting private as well as public discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Nonetheless, there are today more antigay statutes, rules, and regulations than ever before. The laws take three different forms. Some, such as the exclusion of gay people from the armed forces, no-promotion-of-homosexuality ("no promo homo") policies, and presumptions against custody or adoption by gay people, explicitly discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Other laws, such as bans against same-sex marriage and sodomy laws applying only to same-sex behavior, discriminate on the basis of sex, not sexual orientation; but their overwhelming effect is against gay people, and homophobia is what keeps these laws on the books. Finally, some laws without sex or sexual orientation classifications have discriminatory effects on gay people: general sodomy laws which criminalize consensual intimacy and laws prohibiting race, sex, and other forms of discrimination, but not sexual orientation discrimination. Such statutes deprive gay people of privacy and nondiscrimination protections taken for granted by other Americans.
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