For Clay and Harold, and the Promise of Equality

April 19, 2010

By now you probably have heard about NCLR’s latest case, a heartbreaking story about Clay Greene and Harold Scull, an elderly gay couple in Sonoma County, CA, who were kept apart when Harold was hospitalized in 2008. During the last weeks of Harold’s life, the county terminated Harold and Clay’s lease, removed Clay from his home, and confined him to a nursing home against his will. The county also auctioned off all of their belongings. Clay grieved alone, away from his home, and stripped of all his possessions.

Clay is now represented by dedicated attorneys, including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who are committed to seeking justice for Clay.

Join us and our friends at GetEqual in sending a letter to President Obama, asking him to fulfill the American promise of “liberty and justice for all.” The time has passed for us to be expected to watch our community endure such ongoing inhumanity.

Last Thursday, President Obama issued a directive to the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a rule that would prevent hospitals from denying visitation privileges to same-sex partners. This was a step toward fairness and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans, but it falls short of his promises to fight for equality in marriage, the military, and employment.

As we push this week for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), which bans openly gay and lesbian people from serving in the military, and for the passage of ENDA, which would protect LGBT people in the workplace, Harold and Clay’s story reminds us that there are no fractions of equality. President Obama’s memorandum last week is simply not enough. We expect and deserve to see real and sustained leadership on behalf of the full dignity and humanity of every member of our community.

Ask the President to call on Congress to act NOW to repeal DOMA and DADT and to pass ENDA, and ask your friends and family to do the same.

In Solidarity,

Kate Kendell, Esq.,
Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights

Robin McGehee, Kip Williams, and the GetEQUAL crew


Speak Out for Truly Comprehensive Immigration Reform

April 8, 2010

In the coming weeks and months, Congress is expected to turn its attention to crafting comprehensive immigration reform legislation, and we are closer than ever before to ensuring LGBT families are a part of that effort. NCLR is proud to be working with sister and ally organizations, including our friends at Immigration Equality, for a bill that helps everyone, including LGBT immigrants and their families.

Now, we need your help to pass an LGBT-inclusive bill!

We are working round-the-clock to make our voices heard, in every Congressional district, and this is your opportunity to be part of this historic effort. Meetings with elected leaders are an excellent opportunity to ask your Representatives in person for their support of the Uniting American Families Act (H.R. 1024) and its inclusion in comprehensive immigration reform.

Immigration Equality is looking for spokes-couples and individuals who have been directly impacted by this issue to be part of local, upcoming meetings with Members of Congress. These critically important, in-district meetings are the best way to encourage your lawmaker to support UAFA and to speak out, with other LGBT families facing discrimination under our current immigration laws, for a truly comprehensive reform bill.

If you have a story about obstacles you’ve faced under current immigration laws, please contact Prabhat Gautam with Immigration Equality, at pgautam@immigrationequality.org. Identify yourself as an NCLR supporter who would like to share your story with elected leaders.

No reform is truly comprehensive unless it includes LGBT immigrants and their families, too. With your help, we can ensure no one is left behind as we work to end discriminatory immigration laws.

In Solidarity,


Statewide GENDA Call-In Day—Act Now!

March 9, 2010

Last week, the New York State Assembly passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). The only remaining obstacle to the bill becoming law is the New York State Senate. Join NCLR and Empire State Pride Agenda in making sure that the Senate votes to end discrimination against transgender New Yorkers.

Here’s what you can do to make sure that we pass GENDA this year:

•    Call Sen. Tom Duane and your State Senator’s office today! You can find your State Senator’s Albany phone number here. After letting them know the urgent need for GENDA, call Senator Tom Duane at (518) 455-2451, and ask him to support GENDA and bring it to the floor for a vote.

•    After your call, please report your results to our partners at the Empire State Pride Agenda at prideagenda@prideagenda.org, and let them know which senators you called and what response your received. Your feedback will help us pass GENDA in 2010.

•    Phone bank for GENDA this Thursday. If you have time to spare, you can make a huge difference. Go to the Empire State Pride Agenda offices this Thursday, March 11th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Contact Joanna at 212.627.0305 x103 or at jsolmonsohn@prideagenda.org for more information.

78% of New York voters already support GENDA, and it’s about time that the Senate listens and ends discrimination against transgender New Yorkers. We’re at a crucial moment, and with your help, we can make sure to pass GENDA now.

In Solidarity,


Get Trained and Help End Florida’s Ban on LGBT Adoption

March 9, 2010

Next week, March 20 and 21, our colleagues at the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation are hosting two free training events in Ft. Lauderdale and Naples to provide you with the basic skills and training to help end Florida’s ban on LGBT adoption by changing the hearts and minds of your friends, neighbors, and communities.

It will take all of us to bring an end to this ban and bring hope and forever families to children in Florida’s foster care system. Please register to help end Florida’s discriminatory adoption ban today.

Campaign Trainings

Overturn Florida’s Adoption Ban Training in Ft. Lauderdale

WHEN: Saturday, March 20, 2010
from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

WHERE:
Hagen Park
2020 Wilton Drive
Wilton Manors, FL 33305

Register now. Space is limited. For more information, contact training@aclufl.org.

PARTNERS: NCLR, GLAAD, SAVE Dade, Equality Florida, Family Equality Council, and ACLU of Florida Broward Chapter.

Overturn Florida’s Adoption Ban Training in Naples

WHEN: Sunday, March 21, 2010
from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

WHERE:
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greater Naples
Thomas Hall
6340 Napa Woods Way
Naples, FL 34116

Register now. Space is limited. For more information, contact training@aclufl.org.

PARTNERS: NCLR, ACLU-Florida, GLAAD, SAVE Dade, Family Equality Council, Planned Parenthood of Collier County, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greater Naples, Florida Equality Council, and PFLAG Naples Chapter.


March in D.C. and Tell Congress to Pass UAFA Now!

March 8, 2010

On Sunday, March 21st, thousands will march in Washington for March for America, to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform. Please join NCLR and Immigration Equality and send a message that comprehensive reform must include LGBT families too!

Current immigration policy unfairly discriminates against LGBT binational couples by not allowing U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor foreign-born partners for immigration. We must call on Congress for the swift passage of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), proposed legislation that would provide LGBT couples with the same immigration benefits as different-sex couples.

Sign up here to join us in the march and put a stop to the unnecessary and heartbreaking separation of our families. Join us on the day of the march at the World War II memorial at 11:30 a.m. Immigration Equality staffers will be on hand to distribute signs, but please feel free to bring your own and share your stories. We will then walk together to the Lincoln Memorial, where tens of thousands of other immigration advocates will kick-off the march at 1:00 p.m.

More than 36,000 same-sex couples are facing separation, or are already forced to live separately, because of discriminatory immigration policies, and nearly half of those couples are also raising young children. March in Washington and demand UAFA. Together we can make sure to put an end to LGBT discrimination in immigration policy.

In Solidarity,




Protect the Illinois Human Rights Act!

March 1, 2010

Tomorrow at 3 p.m. CST, the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on a bill that would allow religious discrimination and roll back vital protections of the Illinois Human Rights Act.

Senate Bill 3447 proposes to make exceptions to the Human Rights Act, allowing certain employers and tax-exempt organizations to discriminate against Illinoisans on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion. We cannot let Senate Bill 3447 pass the Senate judiciary committee vote. Please join us and our colleagues at Equality Illinois in stopping this discriminatory bill and opposing legislation that would prevent hard-working Illinois citizens from even being considered for a job.

Contact a State Senator on the Judiciary Committee, especially if they represent your district. Call their Springfield office with the following message:

My name is _________ and I am calling as a voter and constituent from (your city), IL. I am asking you to vote NO on SB 3447 when it comes up for a vote tomorrow in the Judiciary Committee meeting. I do NOT want to take a step back and allow discrimination in the great state of Illinois. I would like a response via (email/phone number) so please have the Senator get back to me. Thank you for your time.

We must stand up for equality and justice for all. Together we must the pressure on and make sure that Senate Bill 3447 is stopped.

In Solidarity,


Give Children a Chance for a Loving Home: Stop HB 2148

February 19, 2010

In as early as next week, the Arizona legislature will vote on HB 2148. HB 2148 is a bill that would require the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) and adoption agencies to give primary consideration to placement of a child to a married people. Placement with an eligible single person or unmarried couple, will only be considered if a qualified married couple is not available.

Meanwhile, thousands of children under the care of Arizona’s DES are in desperate need of the love, hope, and help that non-married adoptive parents can provide. Please join us, and our colleagues at Equality Arizona, in stopping this discriminatory bill and making sure that a child’s need for security and love comes first and foremost when considering adoptive parents.

Email your elected official today and let them know that you oppose HB 2148. Urge them to vote no, because the best interests of each child should be the deciding factor in adoptions, without blanket rules that limit their chance for a loving home.

In Solidarity,


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