January 7, 2010
Obama administration adds gender identity protection for federal workers
Beginning in 2010, the Obama administration, through the Office of Personnel Management, has started to list gender identity among the classes protected by federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policies, according to the ACLU:
Although a long-standing federal law prohibits any federal employment decisions that are not based on merit and another law prohibits sex discrimination, the new EEO policy marks the first time that gender identity discrimination has been explicitly banned from the federal workplace. The policy is now on the federal government’s jobs Web site as a link from more than 20,000 current federal job listings. The American Civil Liberties Union praised the Obama administration for initiating the change in EEO policy and urged Congress to continue to work for further protections for LGBT Americans.“This new policy is a very significant development,” said Christopher Anders, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel. “The inclusion of gender identity in federal EEO policies is a very clear statement that the federal government will not discriminate based on gender identity. The Obama administration is demonstrating a strong commitment to an effective workforce by making clear that the federal government will not discriminate against transgender employees.”
The new EEO policy protects federal employees and applicants for federal employment, but federal legislation is still needed to protect millions of LGBT employees working for businesses and state and local governments. The House and Senate currently have versions of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) pending. ENDA, if passed, would be the first-ever federal ban on employment discrimination of LBGT Americans in the workplace.
GOP congressmen seek to block DC marriage equality
More than 30 Republican members of Congress, including House minority leader John Boehner, have filed an amicus brief in a case seeking to overturn Washington, DC's recently approved law granting equality for same-sex marriage, reports The Advocate.
RI governor vetoes gay funeral rights bill; legislature overrides
Rhode Island's Republican Gov. Donald Carcieri had vetoed a bill to allow for the legal recognition of non-married partners when it comes to funeral planning. The bill was introduced after the state medical examiner would not release the body of a gay man to his partner, despite multiple documents including wills. The legislature has now overridden the veto, reports Washington, DC's Metro Weekly. More coverage here, including links to the text of the bill and more background, from Jurist.
January 5, 2010
January Lesbigay Law Notes is available
The January issue of Professor Art Leonard's indispensable Lesbian/Gay Law Notes is now available here. In the lead story, a five-judge panel of the Supreme Court of Ireland, unanimously reversing a trial judge, ruled last month that a lesbian couple and their child do not constitute a legally recognized family in Ireland and that the gay man who had donated sperm used to conceive their child was entitled as a biological father to seek access to the child in the form of a visitation schedule.
January 4, 2010
Tallying the gains and losses for gay equality, 2000-2009
The Movement Advancement Project has compiled an incredibly valuable collection of statistics that documents the gains and losses for gay/lesbian equality between 2000 and 2009. Some highlights:
- States outlawing sexual orientation discrimination, up 83% from 12 to 22.
- States extending freedom to marry, up from 0 to 5.
- States blocking marriage equality through statewide vote, up 500%, from 5 to 31.
- Gay/straight alliance clubs in high schools, up 600%, from 700 to 4,700.
- Portion of public favoring gays to serve in the military, up 21%, from 62% to 75%.
- Cumulative discharges of gays from the military since 1993, up 93%, from 6,716 to 12,961.
American evangelicals tied to Uganda's proposed death-to-gays law
The New York Times has finally caught up with a story the indispensable Rachel Maddow was uncovering weeks ago: the links between American evangelicals and the politicians behind a proposed Ugandan law that includes harsh punishments, including the death penalty, aimed at gays.
The three prominent American anti-gay activists spoke at a recent conference in Uganda, according to the Times.
For three days, according to participants and audio recordings, thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, listened raptly to the Americans, who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”
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The three Americans who spoke at the conference — Scott Lively, a missionary who has written several books against homosexuality, including “7 Steps to Recruit-Proof Your Child”; Caleb Lee Brundidge, a self-described former gay man who leads “healing seminars”; and Don Schmierer, a board member of Exodus International, whose mission is “mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality” — are now trying to distance themselves from the bill.
January 3, 2010
Cousin marriage is 4x more legal in the US than same-sex marriage
The web site Gayvantage ponders the fact that while same-sex marriage currently is legal in five states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont), marriages between first cousins are legal in 21 states (Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia).