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Employment and workplace discrimination

 

‘Rainbow Profile Pictures for Sex Offenders’ – Homophobia NOT Satire

Sunday, July 12th, 2015
Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was one of 26 million people who used the rainbow filter on his profile picture. SOURCE: Facebook

IT’S LATE – my phone rings. It’s someone I haven’t heard from in a while. I answer.

His greeting is warm, but it sounds like he’s been drinking.

He chats about Facebook – he says he doesn’t use it much but he’s logged in and noticed the rainbow filter on my profile picture, the only one among his list of friends on the site.

He says he is concerned because he has just read an article claiming that sex offenders have been ordered to use rainbow profile pictures on social media so others can easily identify them as potential predators. Click to continue »

New US Poll: 55% Think LGBT Employment Protections Should Cover All Employers

Friday, October 31st, 2014

titleA new poll shows that a majority of Americans believe LGBT protections should cover all employers:

SDGLN reports:

Twenty years after its introduction, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is still being debated in Congress and across the United States. While most Americans continue to give the bill strong support, a new national survey shows that most Americans simply don’t believe that employer exemptions are justified when it comes to basic workplace safeguards for LGBT Americans. Slightly over half (55%) of all adults don’t believe that any employers should be exempt if federal law were expanded to include protection from job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. When asked specifically, some Americans do agree with certain exemptions. The latest survey shows 35% of all adults believe churches or other houses of worship should be exempt, and 30% believe privately held businesses with owners citing religious beliefs should be exempt. Also, 21% of adults believe publicly held businesses citing religious beliefs should be exempt, and 19% believe small businesses generally should be exempt.

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Congressman Jared Polis Files ENDA Discharge Petition

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Colorado Representative Jared PolisThe openly gay House member from Colorado is filing a discharge petition to force a House vote on the Employment Non Discrimination Act.

Towleroad.com reports:

Out Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) announced today that he has filed a discharge petition in the House of Representatives for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Polis is the chief sponsor of ENDA and is also the co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus. From Rep. Polis’ statement: A discharge petition is a procedure to force a vote on legislation if it receives signatures from the majority of the House of Representatives. This move comes after the House Republican leadership has continued to refuse to hold a vote on this bipartisan bill. “This is common sense legislation that is supported by a majority of Americans and was passed overwhelmingly by the United States Senate,” said Rep. Polis. “The Republicans have been dragging their feet on this bill for too long, allowing workplace discrimination against hardworking LGBT Americans to continue.

This new version of ENDA would include a narrower religious exemption.

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Time to Cancel Exxon’s Government Contracts?

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Exxon-Mobil logoIssuing an executive order banning LGBT workplace discrimination was a critical step. Enforcing it will make history.

The order prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in federal employment by amending an existing order banning sexual orientation discrimination within the federal workforce. It also prohibits the federal government from contracting with companies that discriminate against their employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by amending an order prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

What better place is there to start enforcing the executive order than with Exxon Mobil, the worst-rated company in the history of the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index? Until Exxon finally implements employment nondiscrimination protections for its LGBT employees and works to create an equal-opportunity environment, the federal government should cancel Exxon’s $424 million in 2014 primary contracts (as of August 7) and refuse to sign new ones. Exxon is also a subcontractor on additional contracts, but these dollar amounts are not publicly available. These, too, should be canceled and no new ones signed.

Authored By Antonia Juhasz – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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President Obama Signs Executive Order on LGBT Employment

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

President Obama HRC

Photo courtesy Pink News

President Obama signed the long-awaited executive order on LGBT employment yesterday.

LGBT Weekly reports:

Today in a White House ceremony, President Obama signed a sweeping executive order protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers from job discrimination… In the executive order, President Obama explicitly protects transgender federal employees from workplace discrimination by amending an order issued by President Bill Clinton banning sexual orientation discrimination within the federal workforce. In the same order, President Obama set strong new standards for federal contractors, which employ 20 percent of the American workforce. In so doing, the Obama administration has guaranteed that 14 million more American workers will be protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

In the part that applies to federal contractors, the Obama administration declined to create a separate carve-out or standard for LGBT employees. Instead, the President elected to narrowly amend Executive Order 11246, first signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965—placing sexual orientation and gender identity on equal footing with race, color, religion, sex and national origin, and thus making these protections virtually politically impossible for a future administration to undo.

Ari Ezra Waldman at Towleroad.com looks at the possible complications with the Hobby Lobby ruling:

I can imagine the following scenario unfolding: The federal government seeks bids on a contract and chooses the one from Apostles Corp., a web design company. Apostles Corp. is a private, for-profit company run by members of a conservative religious family who oppose homosexuality and refuse to hire any gay persons. The company declines to sign the federal government’s nondiscrimination pledge and is, therefore, denied the contract. Apostles sues in federal court on a theory similar to Hobby Lobby’s: the behavior mandated by EO 11478 violates Apostles’ rights as a “corporate person” under RFRA and Hobby Lobby, which guarantee that generally applicable laws cannot substantially burden a person’s or company’s religious freedom. A broad interpretation of Hobby Lobby would expand that decision from contraception and health care and bloat religious “freedom” to allow religion to be used as a pretext to discriminate against anyone and anything a particular religion doesn’t like.

And what about religious privileges?

Andrew Sullivan at the Dish reports:

Notably, the draft of Obama’s order contains no additional religious exemptions for the sexual orientation or gender identity provisions beyond those already contained in the existing executive orders, a request made by some religiously affiliated leaders. At the same time, however, the order does not take action requested by some civil rights groups to rescind an executive order issued by President George W. Bush. The Bush order provides an exemption to Executive Order 11246 for any “religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society” that allows such contractors to hire people of “a particular religion.”

It’s a big step forward, and it was done in a way that will make it hard for a future President to undo.

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National LGBT Groups Drop ENDA Support

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

New Human Rights Campaign President Ready to Wade Into More Marriage Equality FightsIt started yesterday with an announcement from NGLTF.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Six of the nation’s leading LGBT rights advocacy groups on Tuesday announced they were withdrawing their support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), fearing that broad religious exemptions included in the current bill could compel private companies to cite objections similar to those that prevailed in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week.

The withdrawal was first announced earlier Tuesday by The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and by mid-afternoon the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and the Transgender Law Center issued a joint statement that they would no longer support the current version of ENDA because it provides “religiously affiliated organizations … a blank check to engage in workplace discrimination against LGBT people.”

The issue has been simmering for awhile, but the Hobby Lobby decision last week brought it to a boil.

Towleroad.com reports from the NGLTF press release:

“The morning after the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, we all woke up in a changed and intensified landscape of broad religious exemptions being used as an excuse to discriminate. We are deeply concerned that ENDA’s broad exemption will be used as a similar license to discriminate across the country. We are concerned that these types of legal loopholes could negatively impact other issues affecting LGBT people and their families including marriage, access to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention and access to other reproductive health services. As one of the lead advocates on this bill for 20 years, we do not take this move lightly but we do take it unequivocally – we now oppose this version of ENDA because of its too-broad religious exemption. We cannot be complicit in writing such exemptions into federal law.”

The lone hold-out? HRC.

Pink News reports:

Despite the shift, the Human Rights Campaign – which tackled anti-gay discrimination – has maintained support for the bill. Human Rights Campaign Vice President Fred Sainz said yesterday: “HRC supports ENDA because it will provide essential workplace protections to millions of LGBT people.”

Is HRC hanging on because it has spent years and years failing to get this thing passed, and now fears seeing the whole thing go down in flames?

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Houston Gay Rights Opponents Turn in Signatures to Repeal LGBT Rights Ordinance

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

houston-petitions

It looks like opponents of the new LGBT rights ordinance in Houston have turned in more than enough signatures to force a public vote in November.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Opponents of Houston’s new LGBT-inclusive equal rights ordinance on Thursday delivered what they say are thousands of voters’ signatures requesting that it be repealed. The group, consisting of pastors and faith-based organizations, said they had collected more than 50,000 signatures calling for a ballot referendum aimed at repealing the measure; a total of 17,269 valid signatures are required to place the issue on the November ballot. They say they want the public to have a chance to vote on the anti-discrimination ordinance, and not just city council members.

It’s amazing to me that these folks hate us enough to want to block even employment and housing protections for the LGBT community. Remember how they always used to tell us it was just about the word “marriage”?

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Love Wins Out – Minister, Police Chief Reinstated

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Two inspiring stories of people who were stripped of their jobs because of homophobia winning their jobs back.

First off, Rev. Frank Schaefer, who was defrocked for officiating at his own gay son’s wedding, was re-instated after winning an appeal.

Reverend Frank Schafer

McCall.com reports:

The Rev. Frank Schaefer had been suspended for 30 days on Nov. 18, after a jury of Methodist pastors convicted him of violating church law. When the suspension expired, he was defrocked after refusing to promise never to perform another same-sex marriage. Three of Schaefer’s four children are gay. “I’m just elated,” Schaefer said. “It was a victory for me, for the church and for the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community.” A nine-person panel of clergy and lay members determined that Schaefer’s punishment was “unlawful” because revoking his credentials “cannot be squared with the well-established principle that our clergy can only be punished for what they have been convicted of doing in the past, not for what they may or may not do in the future.”

We’re thrilled for both the Reverend and his son.

In similar news, an openly lesbian Police Chief in South Carolina who was fired by the mayor for being gay will get her job back too.

Crystal Moore

Joe.My.God reports:

Dozens of Latta residents danced and cheered in front of the town’s community center Tuesday night as election officials announced a referendum to change the town’s form of government to strong council was approved, 328-147. Though the results will not become official until the ballots are certified at 11 a.m. Friday, for many town residents, Tuesday’s vote was an instant victory because it will allow town council to reinstate Crystal Moore as Latta’s police chief. Moore was abruptly fired in April by Mayor Earl Bullard after she refused to sign seven unexplained reprimands that he presented to her on the same day. “This is our town,” a grinning Tammy Taylor said, between cheers and high-fives. “We got our town back. We got our chief back.”

I love happy endings.

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62% of Americans Think It’s Illegal to Fire Someone for Being Gay

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Although you can still be fired in 29 states for being gay, a majority of Americans think the practice is already illegal.

LGBT Employment Poll

The Dish reports:

On what other subject is the public so grotesquely misinformed? And what does it say about the acumen of the Human Rights Campaign that its Number One legislative priority for the last 25 years (with 76 percent national support!) remains as out of sight as ever? Just keep sending them your checks, guys. In another quarter century, you might get something back for them.

It’s amazing that 76% support this, and we still can’t get it done. But then again, see immigration reform and gun control.

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President Obama Speaks at LGBT Fundraiser in New York City

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

President Barack ObamaPresident Obama spoke last night at an LGBT fundraiser in NYC, just days after promising an executive order on LGBT employment.

Towleroad.com reports:

President Obama spoke at a Democratic LGBT fundraiser last night at Gotham Hall to a rousing crowd, ticking off a list of the many items he has accomplished for the LGBT community, making note of the advance of marriage equality, the Harvey Milk stamp, the drafting of Michael Sam, and the recent HBO production of The Normal Heart, noting that the work against AIDS is not done. Finally, he noted his plans, reported this week, to sign an executive order protecting LGBT employees of federal contractors.

Where would we be at this point federally if we had President McCain and a conservatively-packed US Supreme Court? The fight’s not over, but we’ve come a long way in six years.

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