LGBT and Allied Groups Call on Congress to Pass ENDA Now

April 21, 2010

More than 200 Organizations Demand Immediate Action

(Washington, DC, April 21) — Today, the nation’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations, along with allies in the faith, labor and civil rights communities, issued the following statement to members of the United States Congress:

“Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act NOW.”

Equality Federation, Toni Broaddus, Executive Director
Family Equality Council, Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), Lee Swislow, Executive Director
Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese, President
National Black Justice Coalition, Sharon J. Lettman, Executive Director/CEO
National Center for Lesbian Rights, Kate Kendell, Esq., Executive Director
National Center for Transgender Equality, Mara Keisling, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Stonewall Democrats, Michael Mitchell, Executive Director
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays National, Jody M. Huckaby, Executive Director
Pride at Work, AFL-CIO, Peggy Shorey, Executive Director
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, Selisse Berry, Founding Executive Director
Transgender Law Center, Masen Davis, Executive Director
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Terry Stone, Executive Director
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Shawn Gaylord, Director of Public Policy
A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI), Clayola Brown, President
Advocates for Youth, James Wagoner, President
African American Ministers in Action, Rev. Timothy McDonald, Chairman
AID Gwinnett, Larry M. Lehman, Executive Director
AIDS Action Council, William D. McColl, Political Director
Alabama Gender Alliance, J. D. Freeman, President
Alaska Together for Equality, Inc., Elias Rojas, Board President
Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, Debra Kolodny, Executive Director
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Gerald W. McEntee, President
American Federation Of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, President
American Humanist Association, Karen Frantz, Communication and Policy Director
Arizona Stonewall Democrats, Erica Keppler, Chair
Arizona Trans Alliance, Erica Keppler, Co-Chair
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), Amado Uno, Executive Director
Association of Flight Attendants – CWA, Patricia Friend, President
Atlanta Stonewall Democrats, Tim Cairl, President
Basic Rights Oregon, Jeana Frazzini, Executive Director
Baystate Stonewall Democrats, Claire Naughton, President
Bi Writers Association, Sheela Lambert, Founder
Bisexual Resource Center, Ellyn Ruthstrom, President
Black Pride Los Angeles, Milton Smith, Board President
California Council Of Churches/IMPACT, The Rev. Dr. Rick Schlosser, Executive Director
California Faith for Equality, Kerry Chaplin, Interfaith Organizing Director
Celtic Circle Church of US and Scotland, Rev. Lord Arteo MacAiken Sneath, Founding Elder Clergy/CEO
Central City AIDS Network, Inc, The Rainbow Center, Johnny Fambo, Executive Director
Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, Robert F. Rivera, President
Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), Karen J. See, President
COLAGE, Beth Teper, Executive Director
Colorado Stonewall Democrats, Karen Bachman, Vice-Chair
Communications Workers of America, Annie Hill, Executive Vice President
Community Alliance and Action Network, Tim Pierce, President
Community Health Awareness Council, Monique Kane, Executive Director
Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Rabbi
Consortium for Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, Debbie Bazarsky, Co-Chair
Coqsure, Cris Land, Founder and Administrator
DC Trans Coalition, Sadie-Ryanne Baker, Leadership Committee Co-Chair
Democratic Party of Oregon, Meredith Wood-Smith, Chair
Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), Paul Almeida, President
DignityUSA, Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director
Empire State Pride Agenda, Joe Tarver, Interim Executive Director
Equal Rights Washington, Joshua Friedes, Executive Director
Equality Alabama, Lori Stabler, Board Co-Chair
Equality Arizona, Mike Remedi, Co-Chair Board of Directors
Equality California, Geoff Kors, Executive Director
Equality Florida, Nadine Smith, Executive Director
Equality Hawaii, Paul Gracie, Co-Chair
Equality Illinois, Bernard Cherkasov, Esq., CEO
Equality Iowa, Sandy Vopalka, Founder
Equality Maine, Betsy Smith, Executive Director
Equality Maryland, Morgan Meneses-Sheets, Executive Director
Equality North Carolina, Ian Palmquist, Executive Director
Equality Ohio, Sue Doerfer, Executive Director
Equality South Dakota, Robert Doody, Chair
Equality Texas, Chuck Smith, Interim Executive Director
Equality Toledo Community Action, David Mann, President
Fair Housing of Marin, Nancy Kenyon, Executive Director
Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh, Peter Harvey, Executive Director
Fair Wisconsin, Katie Belanger, Executive Director
Fairness West Virginia, Stephen Skinner, President
Families United Against Hate (FUAH), Gabi Clayton, Board President
Female-To-Male International, Rabbi Levi Alter, President
Fight OUT Loud, Waymon Hudson, President
Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus, Michael Albetta, Caucus President
Florida Together, Ted Howard, Executive Director
FORGE, Michael Munson, Executive Director
Forum For Equality, SarahJane Brady, Managing Director
Forward Montana, Matt Singer, CEO
Freedom to Marry, Evan Wolfson, Executive Director
FTM International Albuquerque, NM Chapter, Adrien Lawyer, Leader
FTM International Atlanta, GA Chapter, BT, Leader
FTM International Bay Area, CA AFLOAT-SOFFA Chapter, Genie Moore, Leader
FTM International North Texas Chapter, Clay Rieber, Leader
FTM International Ohio Chapter, Jake Nash, Leader
FTM International Sacramento, CA Chapter, Marty Diaz, Leader
FTM International San Buenaventura, CA Chapter, Seth Mwansa, Leader
FTMI International San Diego, CA Chapter, Connor Maddocks, Leader
Garden State Equality, Steven Goldstein, Chair and CEO
Gay And Lesbian Labor Activist Network
Gay & Lesbian Medical Association, Rebecca Allison, MD, President
Gay City Health Project, Fred Swanson, Executive Director
Gay Grassroots of Northwest Florida, Doug Landreth, Founder
Gay Liberation Network, Andy Thayer, Co-Founder
Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools, Cindy Crane, Executive Director
Gays and Lesbians United Against Discrimination, Caleb Laieski, Executive Director
Gay-Straight Alliance Network, Carolyn Laub, Executive Director
Greater Seattle Business Association GSBA, Louise Chernin, Executive Director
Gender Justice LA, Latrice Johnson, Executive Director
Gender Rights Advocacy Association of NJ, Barbra Casbar Siperstein, Director
Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner, Senior Pastor
Georgia Equality, Jeff Graham, Executive Director
Georgia Rural Urban Summit, Larry Pellegrini, Executive Director
Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Jeffrey D. Richardson, President
GetEQUAL, Kip Williams, Co-Founder
GLBT Bar Association of Washington, Cynthia Buhr, President
Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, San Francisco, David Waggoner, Co-President
H.E.R.O., Meg Sneed, Co-founder
Holy Sprit Ecumenical Church – Largo, FL, Rev Steven M. Rosczewski, Pastor
Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Inc, Scott W. Gehl, Executive Director
Human Rights Campaign of Vanderbilt University, Luis Munoz, President
Immigration Equality, Julie Kruse, Policy Director
Ingersoll Gender Center, Marsha Botzer, Co-President
Integrity USA, John Clinton Bradley, Acting Executive Director
Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality, The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, Co-Chair
International Court Council, Coco LaChine, President
International Federation of Black Prides, Inc, Earl Fowlkes, President/CEO
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, AFL-CIO, James A. Williams, General President
Jacksonville Now, Jeremy Gould, CEO
Jefferson County, Colorado, Democratic Party, GLBT Caucus, David Reaser, Chair
Jewish Family & Career Services – The Rainbow Center in Atlanta, Gary Miller, CEO
Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, Inc, Tracee McDaniel, Executive Director
Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center, Antonio David Garcia, Executive Director
Kentucky Fairness Alliance, Travis Myles, Chairperson
Keshet, Idit Klein, Executive Director
KnoxBoyz of East Tennessee, BEAR A-M Rodgers, Founding Executive Director
KnoxGirlz of East Tennessee, Deirdre Radcliffe, Executive Director
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Hector E. Sanchez, Executive Director
LaGender Inc, Dee Dee Chamblee, Executive Director
Lambda Legal, Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director
Lavender Caucus SEIU, Eastern Region, Tony Fernandes, President
Legal Aid Services of Broward County, Anthony J. Karrat, Esq., Executive Director
Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center, Joan M. Graff, President
Legal Voice, Lisa Stone, Executive Director
Lepoco Peace Center, Nancy Tate, Executive Director
Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens (LGBDQ), Bruce Friedman, President
Lesbian and Gay Family Building Project, Claudia E. Stallman, Project Director
LGBT Stonewall Caucus of the Democratic Party of Virginia, Roland Winston, Chairman
Long Island Housing Services, Michelle Santantonio, Executive Director
Love Makes a Family PAC, Martin L. Heft, Chairman
Lutherans Concerned/North America, Ross Murray, Interim Executive Director
Maine Transgender Network, Inc, Alex Roan, Executive Director
Massachusetts Lesbian & Gay Bar Association, David Eppley, Co-Chair
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Gunner Scott, Executive Director
Mautner Project: The National Lesbian Health Organization, Leslie J. Calman, Ph.D., Executive Director
MEGA Family Project, Kathy Kelly, Executive Director
Metropolitan Community Churches, The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator
Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, Inc., Jim McCarthy, President/CEO
Michigan AIDS Coalition, Detroit, Michigan, Craig Covey, Operating Officer
More Light Presbyterians, Michael J. Adee, Executive Director
NAACP, Hilary O. Shelton, Director NAACP Washington Bureau & Senior VP for Advocacy and Policy
National Caucus SEIU, Tom Barbera, President
National Coalition for LGBT Health, Rebecca Fox, Executive Director
National Council of Jewish Women, Nancy Ratzan, President
National Fair Housing Alliance, Shanna L. Smith, President and CEO
National Marriage Boycott, Laura Wadden, Executive Director
National Organization for Women – Alabama, Shirley Ann Rawls, President
National Student Genderblind Campaign, David Norton, Executive Director
New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, Mo Baxley, Executive Director
New Mexico GLBTQ Centers, David Stocum, Executive Director
New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA), Pauline Park, Chair
New York Transgender Rights Organization (NYTRO), Joann Prinzivalli, Executive Director
New York Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC), Gregory Varnum, Executive Director
Northwest PA Trans Group, Joanne Lynn Benjamin, Founder
Office & Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), Nancy Wohlforth, Secretary-Treasurer Emerita
One Colorado, Lea Ann Purvis, Interim Executive Director
Our Family Coalition, Judy Appel, Executive Director
Out4Immigration, Amos Lim, Founding Board Member
OutFront Minnesota, Amy Johnson, Executive Director
Outlet Program, Eileen Ross, Director
Outright Vermont, Melissa Murray, Executive Director
PA Diversity Network, Liz Bradbury, Executive Director
Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Rand Hoch, President and Founder
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender Individuals of Jacksonville, FL, Frieda Saraga, President
People For the American Way, Michael B. Keegan, President
Perpetual Transition, Casey Lanham, Co-Founder
PFLAG-Vero Beach, Carl Burns, Treasurer
Pikes Peak Gay & Lesbian Community Center, Ryan Acker, Executive Director
Pride At Work, Martin Luther King County WA Chapter, Mike Andrews, Secretary-Treasurer, Chapter Lead
Pride Tampa Bay, R. Zeke Fread, Executive Director
PROMO (Missouri), A. J. Bockelman, Executive Director
Religious Institute, The Reverend Debra W. Haffner, Executive Director
Respect Resource Group, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Randy Kammer, Executive Sponsor
Rockway Institute, a unit of the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Francisco campus, Robert-Jay Green, Executive Director
Room for All (Reformed Church in America), Rev. Robert D. Williams, Founding Co-President
RU12? Community Center and Vermont TransAction, Kara DeLeonardis, MSW, LICSW, Executive Director
S. U. R. E. Foundation, Dr. Mekah Gordon Ph.D., Founder/CEO
Safe Schools Coalition, Kyle Rapinan, Co-chair
San Francisco LGBT Community Center, Rebecca Rolfe, Executive Director
Santa Cruz County Task Force for LGBTIQ Youth, Stuart Rosenstein, Chair
SEIU 509 Lavender Caucus, Tom Barbera, President
Service Employees International Union, Anna Burger, International Secretary Treasurer
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), Joseph DiNorcia Jr., President and CEO
SOFFAs of East Tennessee Transgenders, Valerie Knight, Executive Director
South Bay Transmen, Lance Moore, Organizer
South Carolina Equality, B. Dean Pierce, Chair, Board of Directors
Stonewall Democratic Club of New York, Joseph G. Hagelmann, III, President
Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada, Derek Washington, Chair
Stonewall Democrats of Volusia & Flagler, Larry Glinzman, President
Stonewall Democrats of Pasco County, Jocelyn A. Dickman, President
Sunshine Social Services, Inc/SunServe, Mark Adler, MPH, Executive Director
Tennessee Equality Project, H.G. Stovall, Board President
Tennessee Equality Project Foundation, Randy Cox, President/Chair
Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, Marisa Richmond, Ph.D., President
Tennessee Vals, Vickie Davis, Chair Woman
The American Institute of Bisexuality, Denise Penn MSW, Director
The Center (Des Moines, Iowa), Sandy Vopalka, Administrator
The Center for HIV Law and Policy, Catherine Hanssens, Executive Director
The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS), Bernard Schlager, Ph.D., Executive Director
The Crystal Club, Barbie Rogers, President
The Family Tree LGBT Community Center, Jim Van Riper, Co-Chair
The Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation, Hebrew Union Collage-Jewish Institute of Religion, Dr. Joel Kushner, Director
The Pride Center at Equality Park, Paul Hyman, Executive Director
Trans/Giving Arts Showcase, Kalil Cohen, Lead Organizer
Trans-Action Initiative of Bard College, Kira Gilman, Club Head
TransActive Education & Advocacy, Jenn Burleton, Executive Director
Transgender at Work, Mary Ann Horton, Chair
Transgender Education Network of Texas, Lisa Scheps, Executive Director
Transgender Equality Rights Initiative (TERI), Jacqui Charvet, Co-Administrator
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Michael Silverman, Executive Director
TransOhio, Shane Morgan, Founder & Chair
Triangle Community Center, Norwalk, CT, Christopher J. Spiegelman, Board President
Triangle Foundation/Michigan Equality, Alicia Skillman, Executive Director
Tucson GLBT Chamber of Commerce, Sheldon Fishman, President
UNITE HERE International Union, John Wilhelm, President
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries, Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister
Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry, CA, Rev. Lindi Ramsden, Executive Director
Vermont Freedom to Marry Action Committee, Beth Robinson, Chair
Washington Gender Alliance, Rory Gould, President
Western Mass Pride at Work, David James, President
WKJCE TLGB Radio, Alanna Maneer, Co Founder
Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER), Mary E. Hunt, Executive Director
YouthPride, Inc, Terence McPhaul, Executive Director


ACLU Complaint Takes On “Decoy” Prom For Mississippi Lesbian Student New Information Revealed In Constance McMillen Case

April 21, 2010

The American Civil Liberties Union filed legal papers today in federal court on behalf of lesbian high school student Constance McMillen regarding a cruel plan to put on a “decoy” prom for her while the rest of her classmates were at a private prom 30 miles away.  The amended complaint alleges that the district’s violation of the free speech rights of McMillen, an 18-year-old high school senior who sued her school for canceling the prom rather than let her attend with her girlfriend, have repeatedly caused McMillen to be humiliated and harassed.

“I really hoped that prom night would make all that I’ve been through worth it, then April 2 came and those hopes went out the window,” said McMillen. “All I ever wanted was to go to my school prom with my classmates and my date, like anyone else, and instead I was the target of a mean, nasty joke.”

On March 23, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi issued a preliminary ruling in McMillen’s case that school officials violated McMillen’s First Amendment rights when it canceled the high school prom rather than let McMillen attend with her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo. The court stopped short of ordering Itawamba Agricultural High School (IAHS) to put the school prom back on the calendar relying on assurances that an alternative “private” prom being planned by parents would be open to all students, including McMillen.

However, according to legal papers, at a meeting with school officials, parents then decided to cancel that private prom without notifying McMillen because they did not want to allow McMillen to attend, instead organizing a “decoy” prom for McMillen and her date and still another prom for the rest of the class. McMillen and her date then attended the event the school had told her was “the prom for juniors and seniors” on April 2, where they found only seven other students attending. Principal Trae Wiygul and several school staff members were supervising that event while most of McMillen’s classmates were at the other prom in Evergreen, Mississippi.

“Constance is a very brave young woman, and she has suffered tremendously because of the animosity and hate she’s felt coming from her classmates and her community which the school’s actions have encouraged,” said Kristy Bennett, Legal Director of the ACLU of Mississippi. “Even after a federal court found that the school violated her constitutional rights, an 18-year-old girl has been made the scapegoat and an outsider in the town where she’s lived all her life. For the school to subject Constance to this type of hostility is simply inexcusable.”

Today’s amended complaint contains new details about events that have taken place since the ACLU first filed McMillen’s case on March 11, including about the way her classmates have treated her. Most of McMillen’s classmates no longer speak to her, and some have posted Facebook messages saying they wish she were dead and sent her such text messages as, “I don’t know why you come to this school because no one likes your gay ass anyways.”  In response to the court’s March 23 order, the complaint also adds a request for compensatory damages for an amount to be determined later at trial.

“After the court ruled that IAHS acted illegally when it canceled the prom, we hoped that Constance would be able to attend the private prom without further incident,” said Christine P. Sun, Senior Counsel with the ACLU national LGBT Project, who represents McMillen along with the ACLU of Mississippi. “But instead there was a malicious plan to further ostracize and humiliate her.  It is hard to conceive of adults behaving in such a cruel way.”

McMillen is represented by Bennett and Sun, as well as by Norman C. Simon, Joshua Glick, and Jason Moff of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, and Alysson Mills of New Orleans.

The case name is Constance McMillen v. Itawamba County School District, et al. Additional information is available at http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/fulton-ms-prom-discrimination. There is also a Facebook group for people who want to support McMillen, “Let Constance Bring Her Girlfriend to the Prom,” at www.facebook.com/pages/Let-Constance-Take-Her-Girlfriend-to-Prom/357686784817.


Gay couples, Others Could Adopt under Rep. Juan LaFonta’s Proposed Changes

April 21, 2010

by Bill Barrow | The Times-Picayune

Rep. Juan LaFonta, D-New Orleans, is proposing to expand Louisiana adoption laws with language to recognize as parents both persons in a gay couple.

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