September 15, 2010
by Sara Lipka | Chronicle for Higher Education
Whether they are students, staff members, professors, or administrators, people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender report significant harassment at their colleges and discomfort with the overall campus climates, according to a new national report.
September 14, 2010
by Daniel Redman, Esq., NCLR Elder Law Project Fellow
A recent report out of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows that many more American seniors are impoverished than the Federal Poverty Guidelines suggest. “This new…data shows that the cost of living for California seniors far outpaces the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPL) in every county in California.”
For LGBT elders, the true numbers are even worse. According to a SAGE and MAP Project report, “LGBT older adults as a group are poorer and less financially secure than American elders as a whole.” Older lesbian couples suffer poverty at double the rate of straight couples. Federal agencies don’t recognize our relationships and – as a result – treat LGBT people differently for Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare, harming many low-income same-sex couples.
It’s time for the federal government not only to update its yardstick for measuring poverty but also to stop discriminating in a way that pushes so many LGBT people into it.
For more information on how LGBT elders can protect themselves, click here for links to our publications.
September 14, 2010
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, today marks the culmination of 10 years of pioneering research documenting the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students with the release of The 2009 National School Climate Survey.
The 2009 survey of 7,261 middle and high school students found that at school nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school in the past year and nearly two-thirds felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation. Nearly a third of LGBT students skipped at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns.
September 13, 2010
Last Thursday, a federal district court declared the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy unconstitutional, saying it violates both the First and Fifth Amendments. While we celebrate this victory, we know the fight is not over. Join NCLR, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and our allies in making sure that our Senate leaders continue their fight to end this discriminatory policy.
Congress returns to Washington, D.C. this week, and the full Senate has its first opportunity in 17 years to do away with DADT when it votes on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains provisions that would allow for repeal of this law.
Call your senators at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to make the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell a top priority for the week of September 20th. Ask them to urge their joint leadership (Senators Reid and McConnell) to schedule this vote.
A full Senate floor vote is one of the last major legislative hurdles that stands in the way of the repeal. Unfortunately, Senator John McCain has been a vocal opponent of repeal from the start. He has indicated that he, along with other repeal foes, will pull out all the stops in coming weeks—from attempting to strike repeal language from the NDAA to offering weakening amendments, or threatening to filibuster the entire defense budget. We cannot let this happen.
Together we can make it clear to the Senate that repealing DADT should be a top priority this month. Together we can end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
September 10, 2010
from the Advocate
A new survey finds that while 99% of U.S. same-sex couples participated in this year’s Census, one in seven won’t be identified as such in its findings.
The results come from the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law.
September 9, 2010
Today, a federal district court judge in the Central District of California held that the federal government’s policy of barring lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from serving openly in the military violates the United States Constitution. In a sweeping decision, Judge Virginia Phillips ruled that the government’s policy—popularly known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell—is unconstitutional on its face, and must be struck down. The decision details the voluminous evidence presented by the plaintiffs about the harm caused by the government’s policy. The court held that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell violates the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members without advancing any important government interest. The court held that the law also violates lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members’ First Amendment rights because it forces them to be silent about the most basic information about their identities, family relationships, and daily activities, and prevents them from seeking protection from harassment and discrimination. The case was brought by the Log Cabin Republicans on behalf of its members and included testimony from a number of service members affected by the policy.
The decision will not take effect immediately. Judge Phillips asked the plaintiffs to submit a proposed judgment, including a permanent injunction against enforcement of the law, by September 16, 2010. If upheld on appeal, the decision would prevent the federal government from enforcing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell against any service member.
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:
“Today’s decision by Judge Phillips—following other recent decisions striking down California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act–is another landmark victory for LGBT Americans. Once again, those who seek to defend discriminatory government policies failed to present a shred of evidence to justify laws that are based entirely on prejudice and fear. After considering the overwhelming evidence presented by the plaintiffs, Judge Phillips held that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell inflicts severe harm on lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members who put their lives on the line to protect and serve our country, while undermining our national security by requiring the discharge of loyal, qualified, and highly trained personnel. This decision puts another nail in the coffin of official government discrimination based on sexual orientation. It is past time for our country to include LGBT Americans as equal citizens, and today’s ruling is a major milestone toward realizing that goal. We congratulate and thank the Log Cabin Republicans for bringing this historic case.”
September 8, 2010
by Ed Brayton | Michigan Messenger
Earlier this year a group of plaintiffs from Michigan, represented by the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center, filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, passed in 2009, violated their religious freedom and freedom of speech rights. The judge dismissed the case this week.
September 8, 2010
by Carlos A. Ball | Huffington Post
Although it is not frequently acknowledged, bathrooms have been contested civil rights sites for several decades now. The civil rights movement during the 1950s fought to end the prevailing practice in some parts of the country of prohibiting African Americans from using so-called “white” bathrooms.
September 2, 2010
by Jarrett Barrios | Boston Globe
It was the embarrassingly rich carbohydrates shown in the preview — the scene of Julia Roberts dining on delectable pasta in Italy — that seduced me into seeing “Eat, Pray, Love.’’ Surely, I thought, this will be the escape I need after a long week, the latest in what has been an emotional year.
September 1, 2010
Calling all NCLR champions in Oregon and southern Washington: NCLR and Kate are coming to town next week!
2010 has been quite a year for LGBT rights! NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell will be in PDX for a joint benefit party with Basic Rights Oregon. We’ll be joined by BRO Executive Director Jeana Frazzini and hope you can join us for a fun and intimate evening to catch up with NCLR and BRO. Come find out more about our current work and what lies ahead in the fight for our LGBT civil and human rights.
A Social for Social Justice: Benefit Party with NCLR and BRO
Saturday, September 11, 2010
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
At the home and garden of
LeAnn Locher & Adela Rios
North Portland, Oregon
(Address provided upon RSVP)
Suggested donation: $50, payable at the door. As always, any gift amount greatly appreciated; no one turned away for lack of funds.
To RSVP, please contact Dena Zaldúa-Hilkene at firstname.lastname@example.org (include “NCLR Portland Event” in the subject line) or call 415.365.1303.