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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 Will Sign LGBT Employment Executive Order

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

President Barack ObamaPresident Obama will finally sign an executive order requiring that all companies who contract with the federal government must not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Think Progress reports:

The order, expected to be finalized in the coming weeks, is an extension of orders previously issued by past presidents — most recently Johnson — similarly banning employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin among all contractors and subcontractors who do over $10,000 in business with the government in any one year. The protections will reach over one million LGBT workers across the country, making it the single largest expansion of LGBT workplace protections in our country’s history. There continue to be 29 states that offer no employment protections on the basis of sexual orientation and 32 with no protections based on gender identity, but many LGBT workers in those states will now have workplace protections for the first time ever.

A new HRC poll shows that 63% favor a law protecting the LGBT community in the workplace.

LGBT Weekly reports:

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) today released new public opinion research that conclusively demonstrates strong public support for federal non-discrimination workplace protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers. A national survey of 1,200 registered voters conducted June 6-10, 2014 by TargetPoint Consulting found that 63 percent of those surveyed favor a federal law that protects gay and transgender people from employment discrimination while only 25 percent oppose it. Enthusiasm for this is especially strong among supporters: 42 percent strongly favor it, while only 16 percent strongly oppose.

And Senator Orrin Hatch has the gall to ask the President to put conditions on his order, after helping to block the passage of ENDA for how many years?

The Washington Blade reports:

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is calling for the executive order that President Obama is poised to sign barring LGBT discrimination among federal contractors to include a religious exemption along the lines of the pending Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Hatch made the comments via a statement to the Washington Blade in response to a request to comment on the directive, which the White House on Monday announced President Obama intends to sign. “While the specifics of this executive order are not yet clear, I believe it must include the same religious protections that are included in the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act that passed the Senate,” Hatch said.

OMG, the balls it must take to stand up and say that with a straight face (pun intended).

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USA, Idaho: Gay Rights Activists Arrested

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Idaho43 gay rights activists from the Add the 4 Words movement were arrested in the Idaho legislature yesterday.

The Dallas Voice reports:

Police arrested dozens of gay rights activists Monday after a protest that blocked entrances to the Idaho Senate chambers for more than two hours. Idaho State Police said they took 43 people into custody on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing after demonstrators stood shoulder to shoulder and prevented lawmakers from getting past. Former state Sen. Nicole LeFavour, the Idaho Legislature’s first openly gay lawmaker and an organizer of the protest, was among those arrested. Ahead of the demonstration, she had said the group would block the entrances until lawmakers agreed to take up a bill adding anti-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people or until protesters were removed by authorities.

What do the protesters want? Edge Boston reports:

The demonstrators wore black-and-white “Add the Words Idaho” T-shirts and covered their mouths with their hands, a symbolic gesture intended to call attention to a bill that would add four words – sexual orientation and gender identity -to Idaho law banning discrimination in employment, housing and business services. Hill, R-Rexburg, and other Idaho Republicans have blocked passage of such a proposal for eight years, and they have declined to give a hearing to such a plan this year.

And this is happening in Idaho! Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if I’m dreaming…

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USA, Virginia: Governor Terry McAuliffe Signs Executive Order Protecting LGBT Employees

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffeAs his first official act after becoming governor, Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order restoring protections for LGBT employees of been stripped by previous Governor Bob McDonnell.

Joe.My.God reports:

McAuliffe: “My administration is committed to keeping Virginia open and welcoming to all who call our Commonwealth home. Executive Order Number 1 sets the tone for an administration that will not accept discrimination in any form, and one that will work tirelessly to ensure all Virginians have equal opportunity in the workplace, no matter their backgrounds, race, religion, or whom they love.” The Washington Blade notes that today’s order includes gender identity and expression for the first time. Let’s hope Eugene Delgaudio’s head was exploding during his protest today.

Could marriage equality come to Virginia this year? Yes, it’s a long shot through the legislature, but there’s also that lawsuit…

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Brazil: Human Rights Committee Stomps on Human Rights of Gays and Lesbians

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Brazil - Google Maps

from Google Maps

Brazil has made a mockery of its human rights commission, by putting in the hands of a right-wing pastor.

Gay Star News reports:

Brazil’s Congressional Commission on Human Rights and Minorities (CCHRM) has approved an amendment that would protect ‘priests [from] being penalized if they refuse to carry out marriages, baptisms and other ceremonies between homosexuals or their children.’ If adopted by lawmakers the measure would allow churches to exclude those who ‘violate its values, doctrines and beliefs,’ potentially shutting them out of their faith communities. Brazil’s right-wing Social Christian Party has managed to dominate the CCHRM and in March used their numbers to elect racist and homophobic pastor and lawmaker Marco Feliciano to head the commission, allowing them to produce these kinds of amendments.

So the commission that supposed to be protecting the rights of minorities is instead using the powers of the law to go after the same groups, in the name of Christianity. Nice.

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USA: 52% Support Workplace Discrimination Protections for LGBT People

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

titleAbout the same number of folks in the US support protecting the LGBT community in the workplace as now support marriage equality, according to a new poll. Pink News reports:

The poll, released by the Huffington Post and YouGov, found that 52% of Americans said they favoured laws prohibiting the discrimination whilst 35% said they were opposed to the idea. Younger respondents, and Democrats were more likely than older people and Republicans to support laws protecting against discrimination. 63% of Democrats supported such laws, compared to 28% against, and Republicans were more likely to be opposed, with 47% in favour compared to 39% against.

This number’s surprising to me – usually folks are much more likely to support laws regarding protection from workplace and housing discrimination for gays and lesbians than they are to support marriage equality. Any thoughts on this?

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Delaware, USA: Transgender Rights Bill Signed by Governor

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

DelawareDelaware just passed and signed into law new protections for its transgender citizens. Joe.My.God reports:

This afternoon Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed a transgender rights bill into law hours after it was approved by the state Senate. The Washington Blade reports: Delaware Gov. Jack Markell on Wednesday signed a bill that will add gender identity and expression to his state’s anti-discrimination and hate crimes laws. “Discrimination on basis of gender identity is inherently wrong,” he said. “Legislation to prohibit it is inherently right.” The state Senate by an 11-9 vote margin earlier in the day approved an amended version of Senate Bill 97 that passed in the Delaware House of Representatives on Tuesday.

It’s a good reminder, as we wait in the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decisions, that there’s still a lot of work to do on other issues of importance to the LGBT community. And they don’t need to be mutually exclusive.

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North Dakota, USA: Grand Forks Adds Protection for LGBT Employees

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

North DakotaGrand Forks, North Dakota, just became the first city in this conservative state to protect its LGBT employees. LGBTQ Nation reports:

Grand Forks has become the first city in North Dakota to protect city employees and city job applicants from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The City Council voted Monday night to add the protection to local law. The measure shares the intent of an anti-discrimination bill that failed in the state Legislature earlier this year. “This is simply a matter of assuring liberty and justice for all,” Councilman Bret Weber said.

More cracks in the dam, as our friend Arturo says…

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Ohio, USA: Bill to Prohibit LGBT Discrimination Introduced in House

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

OhioAs things get moving on the effort to repeal Ohio’s ban on gay marriage, lawmakers are considering another gay-friendly measure. On Top Magazine reports:

A bill which seeks to prohibit housing and workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was introduced in the Ohio House and Senate on Friday. The Equal Housing and Employment Act is sponsored in the Senate by Senators Frank LaRose, a Republican from Akron, and Michael Skindell, a Democrat from Lakewood. A companion bill in the Ohio House is sponsored by Representatives Ross McGregor, a Republican from Springfield, and Nickie Antonio, a Democrat from Lakewood. Antonio was first elected in 2010, making her the House’s first openly lesbian member.

79% of Ohio voters favor such protections for the LGBT community.

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West Virginia, USA: LGBT Protections Bill Falters

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

West VirginiaAs marriage equality moves forward in other places, West Virginia can’t seem to pass even simple protections for the LGBT community. LGBTQ Nation reports:

Delegate Stephen Skinner told colleagues that he asked the chairman of a committee assigned to the bill not to take it up ahead of a Friday procedural deadline. The Jefferson County Democrat cited concerns that the measure’s proposed exemption for religious organizations would be amended so broadly as to make it meaningless. “I believe that the wisest course of action today is to delay the battle in the House for another day,” said Skinner, West Virginia’s first openly gay legislator, in a floor speech.

It’s sad that so many in our community lack even basic protections.

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