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President Obama to Sign LGBT Employment Executive Order Monday Without Religious Privilege

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

President Barack ObamaPresident Obama will sign the long-awaited executive order on monday, preventing federal contractors form discriminating against LGBT workers.

The Washington Blade reports:

President Obama is set on Monday to take executive action to prohibit discrimination against LGBT employees working for federal contractors and the federal government, the Washington Blade has learned. In a conference call with reporters on Friday, senior administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Obama plans to amend existing executive orders barring discrimination against workers to include protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Obama intends to amend Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, to add the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, Obama plans to amend Executive Order 11478, which prohibits discrimination in the federal civilian workplace — and was already amended by President Clinton to include sexual orientation — to include gender identity.

Although there will be no religious privileges included in the order. an older executive order still applies to some groups:

No further exemption for religious entities will be included in the executive order, but the update also won’t repeal President George W. Bush’s amendment to EO 11246, which allows religious-affiliated federal contractors to discriminate on the basis of religion, officials said. “You can use religion to only hire people who share your religion, but you can’t discriminate against somebody who is of your faith who happens to be LGBT, unless they fall within the ministerial exemption,” officials said.

It’s great that the President is doing this, but it’s both a sad commentary on the inability of congress (because of conservative stalling) to take any action on the matter for how many years now? And it could be reversed with the stroke of a pen by the next conservative President.

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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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South Dakota Restaurant Makes Employee Wear “Gaytard” Name Badge

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Gaytard name tagHeres one for all those folks who say there is no discrimination against gays and lesbians in the workplace.

Queerty reports:

Fast food restaurants are always looking for convenient ways to make your life easier, and a Taco John’s in South Dakota has come up with a remarkable new innovation. The Yankton restaurant made a 16-year-old employee named Tyler Brandt wear a nametag reading “Gaytard,” making it simple and convenient for consumers to identify Tyler as a retarded homosexual. Great idea! Tyler claims the manager forced him to endure lots of abuse, and didn’t want to jeopardize his job so he went along with it, miserably. Finally, after the nametag ordeal, he quit.

The manager is a disgusting excuse for a human being. But under South Dakota law, what he did was perfectly legal. Under US law too.

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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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USA, Florida: Equality Florida To Push for Marriage Equality By 2016

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Equality FloridaThis just in from Equality Florida:

“In the fight for LGBT equality, Florida leads among Southern states and has become the new frontline,” says Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s LGBT community. “The next three years are primed for huge breakthroughs in this battleground state that will ripple nationwide.”

Florida leads among southern states in support for marriage equality and workplace nondiscrimination.
More than 100 Florida municipalities have LGBT protections in place. More than half our state’s residents now live in places with nondiscrimination laws and nearly 70% of students go to schools with LGBT inclusive anti-bullying policies.

In Florida, 73% of people support adding LGBT people into nondiscrimination laws, and public support for the freedom to marry IN FLORIDA reached an all time high of 54%!

The election of two out gay state representatives has changed the tone in Tallahassee, where support for LGBT protections are at an all-time high.

For the first time, the “Families First” bill, which would allow domestic partnerships statewide, passed through its first committee with bipartisan support, and dozens of local policies have passed across Florida, even in traditionally hostile areas of the state.

The Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA), aimed at ending anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, launched with such bipartisan support that the bill would pass if leadership allows a vote.

Equality Florida has announced plans to keep this momentum going in 2014 and beyond. This includes stepping up efforts towards marriage equality, an end to discrimination in the workplace and working with local municipalities, one victory at a time, to build a solid foundation for statewide equality.

In communication to supporters, Equality Florida outlines three specific goals:

GOAL #1: FULL MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN FLORIDA IN THREE YEARS

It won’t be easy. It will take a fight like we’ve never seen before, but with a growing, bipartisan majority of Floridians on our side, we are gearing up to win. We have screened more than one thousand potential plaintiffs and are preparing to go to court to challenge Florida’s marriage ban.

And through our Get Engaged campaign, we are shifting public opinion so that if we do have to take a new constitutional amendment to the Florida ballot, we will have the support to win.

Just prior to the Supreme Court’s decision on DOMA, Equality Florida launched Get Engaged, a statewide call to action with the goal of securing full marriage equality in the state of Florida. In partnership with Freedom to Marry, the heart of the campaign is to engage Floridians in honest conversations about the harm inflicted on real families who are denied the freedom of marriage equality, including our friends, neighbors, family, politicians, celebrities and athletes; standing up and proclaiming their support for marriage equality.

GOAL #2: STATEWIDE EMPLOYMENT PROTECTION

No one should be fired from their job for being LGBT. Unfortunately, under state and federal law, that is still legal in Florida and 30 other states. Florida is poised to become the breakthrough state in the South.

We have the votes to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act that would ban discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, but it will take all of us and our growing coalition of business allies to push for a vote on the floor in the State Capitol.

Support for ending discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace has never been higher, as an overwhelming majority of the nation’s largest employers already offer these protections. Equality Florida has opened conversations with business leaders and with legislators throughout the state, playing a role in shaping policies as well as bipartisan support for the FCWA.

In 2010, Equality Florida formed Equality Means Business to spotlight major employers in Florida that have adopted comprehensive non-discrimination policies and have demonstrated their commitment to valuing, and proactively including, all employees. The organization’s goal is to improve Florida’s national and international reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place to live, work and visit. Equality Means Business supports and provides resources to Florida employers who understand that diversity brings the skills, perspective and other assets that are essential to attracting and retaining a competitive workforce.

GOAL #3: KEEP WINNING LOCALLY

Local victories are the foundation on which our statewide wins are built. Florida leads the South and has passed more than 100 local policies banning discrimination, providing domestic partner benefits and/or protecting LGBT students from bullying.

In 2014, we will continue our push for policies that provide immediate and vital benefits, even in the least hospitable areas of our state. To win Florida, we have to fight in every city, every county, every neighborhood, and in our State Capitol.

Throughout the state, Equality Florida’s staff, board members and volunteers have been actively involved in nearly every effort to pass LGBT equality legislation. Whether lobbying in Tallahassee, collecting signatures at events, facilitating anti-bullying measures or speaking at a commission meeting, Equality Florida will continue to step up efforts in every corner of the state until ALL Floridians have equal rights under the law.

Texas, USA: Dallas City Councilman Optimistic Marriage Equality, Employment Protection Resolutions Will Pass

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

TexasDallas City Councilman Scott Griggs says he wants to obtain signatures from eight or more council members — a majority — before he brings forward resolutions in support of marriage equality and statewide LGBT employment protections.

Only five signatures would be needed to place the resolutions on the agenda for a council vote, but Griggs said because it’s an important issue, “You want to know where you are going into it.”

Dallas Voice reported in December that seven of 15 council members have said they support the concept of the resolutions, which Griggs now hopes will pass sometime this spring.

Authored By John Wright – See the Full Story at the Dallas Voice

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VA: New GOP Attorney General Tries to Scrap Gay Protections at Universities

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Virginia’s public colleges and universities do not have the legal authority to protect gays against discrimination, the state’s attorney general has ruled. In a letter to the presidents and governing boards of the schools, Ken Cuccinelli said Thursday the institutions had “acted without proper authority” in adopting rules regarding sexual orientation. Such rules were “invalid,” he said, because the state legislature had repeatedly rejected attempts to incorporate into state law language that would protect homosexuals from discrimination.

The Republican official, who took office in January, advised the boards of each college “to take appropriate actions to bring their policies in conformance with the law and public policy of Virginia.”

Cuccinelli noted that sexual orientation is not among the protected classes listed in the Virginia Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, or disability.

Full Story from AHN

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