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Law Enforcement Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation: A Selective Review of Case Law

NCJ Number
American Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 26 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2002 Pages: 203-217
R. Alan Thompson; Lisa S. Nored
Date Published
15 pages
Discrimination against homosexuals in law enforcement employment is the focus of this article.
In this article, discrimination against homosexuals seeking law enforcement employment and the development of homosexuals’ rights is discussed. Following a brief introduction to discriminatory practices against homosexuals, this article details a number of arguments law enforcement officials use when justifying discriminatory hiring practices, including the potential of homosexual law enforcement officers to sympathize with similarly suited individuals. After describing homosexual rights as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court, the author presents a series of Supreme Court decisions addressing whether homosexuals are and should be protected as a social class. In order to illustrate the ways that many law enforcement officials maintain that homosexual conduct, itself, has the potential to jeopardize agency credibility and security interests, this article details homosexual hiring practices within the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and ways in which the FBI often terminates employees upon discovering their homosexual identity. Following a brief discussion of the denial of homosexual employment based upon statutory prohibitions in Dallas, Texas, this article concludes that consistently enacted anti-discrimination laws will eventually make discriminating against homosexuals seeking law enforcement employment a crime in itself. References