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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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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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USA, Ohio: Ballot Initiative Put on Hold; Gubernatorial Candidate Supports Ruling

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

A couple new stories coming out of Ohio on marriage equality. First off, FreedomOhio is putting its referendum on overturning the state’s ban on hold pending the upcoming ruling.

On Top Magazine reports:

FreedomOhio, the group working on a ballot initiative to repeal Ohio’s ban on gay marriage, announced Friday that it is placing its initiative on hold. FreedomOhio will “hold its original petition for marriage equality in a state of readiness for filing, while collecting signatures on a new petition with revised language,” the group said in a statement. Explaining that it wanted to “ensure that the right language is placed on the ballot at the right time,” the group said it will “continue to work with in-state LGBT groups and allies.”

The group subsequently announced plans to work on an initiative for the Equal Housing and Employment Act.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Ian James, executive director of FreedomOhio, says the organization plans to begin circulating a petition for the Equal Housing and Employment Act. The initiated statute effort takes time and multiple steps, starting with the group needing to collect roughly 116,000 valid signatures to get the idea before state lawmakers. The General Assembly then would have four months to act on the proposed law. Depending on that outcome, another petition could be circulated to get the proposal before voters.

Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate Ed FitzgeraldFinally, Ohio gubernatorial hopeful Ed Fitzgerald (D, Cuyahoga County) announced his support for the pending ruling.

On Top Magazine reports:

Cuyahoga County Executive and Ohio gubernatorial hopeful Ed Fitzgerald on Friday applauded a federal judge’s preliminary ruling ordering Ohio to recognize the out-of-state marriages of gay and lesbian couples… “As governor, I will support marriage equality and work to move Ohio forward for all its residents,” Fitzgerald, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Who you love and commit yourself to should not be prohibited by governments.”

Ohio’s current Republican Governor John Kasich opposes marriage equality.

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USA, Pennsylvania: Judge Rejects State Appeal in Marriage Equality Case

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Pennsylvania mapA federal judge in Pennsylvania rejected the state’s attempt to take the way his jurisdiction in the case, based on an old, old, old Minnesota marriage equality case from 1972.

Edge Boston reports:

U.S. District Judge John Jones on Tuesday rejected the state’s argument that his court lacks the power to hear the case, and suggested that the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would agree with him. Jones says there’ve been “substantial and far-reaching” developments in how courts treat equal protection and due process rights since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1972 decision that it lacked the jurisdiction to decide whether a Minnesota law banning same-sex marriages violated the Constitution.

Good for him for rejecting this transparent attempt to nix the lawsuit. The case will get its day in court on June 9.

Perhaps trying to burnish his anti-gay image, Governor Tom Corbett came out today in favor of some protections for LGBT citizens in the state.

Joe.My.God reports:

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who so far had been no friend to the gay community, has backed a bill that would protect LGBT residents from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. Corbett, who has previously staked out conservative positions on social issues, told The Inquirer that he was “coming out in support” of the bill after learning that federal law does not cover discrimination in the state.

Small steps.

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USA, Texas: LGBT Equality Resolution May Be Back

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Dallas City Hall

Dallas City Hall – Apple Maps

After dying a quiet death several months ago, a resolution in support of job nondiscrimination and marriage equality may be getting a new life.

The Dallas Voice reports:

Councilman Scott Griggs, the resolution’s author, said this week he plans to bring it before a committee in coming months. Committee meetings begin next week. It’s been nearly three months since a showdown at City Hall between LGBT advocates and council members who opposed the resolution after it failed to make it onto the June 12 agenda. This was after former Councilwoman Delia Jasso pulled her support from a memo, which meant the council was no longer required to consider the item… Griggs has rewritten the resolution to include the landmark rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court in two marriage equality cases in late June. He said he’s sent the draft to Councilman Adam Medrano, who chairs the LGBT Task Force, to get the group’s input on the language.

It shouldn’t be so difficult to get a non-binding resolution passed. But this is Texas, after all.

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Why I Still Can’t Marry My Girlfriend

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Jasmyne A. CannickLast week the Supreme Court of the United States of America cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in the state of California. Unfortunately, for my girlfriend and I, we still can’t get married.

Even though we’re both natives of California and call the Golden State home, I am in Los Angeles while she lives 2,400 miles away in Whittier, Alaska after giving up all hope of ever finding a job here.

My girlfriend is of African-American and Latino descent and fluent in three languages–English, Spanish, and American Sign Language–but past criminal convictions make it practically impossible for her to find a job in California. For a time she would work sporadically after failing to check the box indicating that she’d been convicted of a felony crime, but in the end after companies completed their background check, she’d always be dismissed for failing to do so. I finally told her to just be truthful, but the job offers stopped altogether. No one was willing to give her a chance to prove that she had changed.

Authored By Jasmyne A. Cannick – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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Pennsylvania, USA: Two Bills Introduced to Protect LGBT Citizens

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

you tube bigMore than a hundred lawmakers in pennsylvania have gotten behind a bill to protect LGBT citizens from discrimination. Towleroad.com reports:

A broad group of state lawmakers today introduced bills HB 300/SB300, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression statewide in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations. And they cited a record high level of support for the measures. “These identical proposals have a common goal — to end, once and for all, the last vestige of legal discrimination in Pennsylvania based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,” said state Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Squirrel Hill), a co-sponsor of HB300 with Republican state Rep. Chris Ross, and sponsor of the bill in previous years.

The bill apparently has some bipartisan support, although it’s hard to say what its chances are in the GOP controlled and gerrymandered state legislature.

Louisiana, USA: GOP Rep Wants to Legalize Employment Discrimination Against Gays

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Louisiana Representative Ala SeabaughAs the rest of the country moves toward inclusion for the LGBT community, Louisiana is moving backwards. Joe.My.God reports:

Two weeks ago Louisiana GOP state Rep. Alan Seabaugh filed a bill that would effectively ban employment discrimination lawsuits filed on the basis of sexual orientation. Equality Louisiana writes on their website: HB 402 by Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport) would require that any employment discrimination lawsuits filed for reasons other than a very short list of protected categories be automatically dismissed and considered “frivolous.”

Not surprisingly, Louisiana is dead-last in support for marriage equality, at just 31%. In DC, it’s twice that.

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USA: EEOC Rules Gender Identity Covered by Title VII

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

USA: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Rules Gender Identity Covered by Title VIIAn employer who discriminates against an employee or applicant on the basis of the person’s gender identity is violating the prohibition on sex discrimination contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to an opinion issued on April 20 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The opinion, experts say, could dramatically alter the legal landscape for transgender workers across the nation.

The opinion came in a decision delivered on Monday, April 23, to lawyers for Mia Macy, a transgender woman who claims she was denied employment with the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) after the agency learned of her transition. It also comes on the heels of a growing number of federal appellate and trial courts deciding that gender-identity discrimination constitutes sex discrimination, whether based on Title VII or the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

The EEOC decision, issued without objection by the five-member, bipartisan commission, will apply to all EEOC enforcement and litigation activities at the commission and in its 53 field offices throughout the country. It also will be binding on all federal agencies and departments.

Full Story from Metro Weekly

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US: The Advocate Offers new Interactive Equality Guide to Employment Protections

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Use this map to find out if your state offers protections against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. While there’s no federal law against firing a person for being LGBT, 21 states and Washington, D.C., prohibit sexual orientation discrimination, while 15 of these, plus D.C., also cover gender identity.

If you unfortunately work for a hostile employer and live in a place that leaves you vulnerable to discrimination, there’s still some legal recourse. Kate Kendell, executive director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, says, “Even though there’s no employment nondiscrimination law based on sexual orientation or gender identity, Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964] has been found through past cases to prohibit discrimination that is grounded in gender stereotypes, for example, a woman who is not sufficiently feminine.”

Full Story from The Advocate

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