Action Alert: Support Fair Housing and Employment in Ohio Today!

June 26, 2009

Our colleagues at Equality Ohio have been lobbying relentlessly for HB 176—the Equal Housing and Employment Act, and it may come up for a vote next week. This bill would make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT residents in housing and would prohibit people from being fired based solely on their sexual orientation in the state of Ohio.

We need you to take action now and tell your legislators to vote YES on HB 176.

Those opposed to equality are already contacting the legislature. In fact, our opponents are flooding the phone lines by a 2:1 margin. We need to show legislators that Ohioans support equal treatment before the law without regards to sexual orientation.

Please contact your legislator on behalf of equality today! And, after sending an email, please call your legislator so they can hear from you directly. Find your legislator and then call them to urge them to support HB 176.

Equality is possible with your support.

In solidarity,

Action Alert: Pass the Federal Hate Crimes Bill!

June 25, 2009

The Federal Hate Crimes Bill, also known as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act / Matthew Shepard Act is currently before the US Senate and we need you to act NOW to help pass this crucial piece of legislation.

The Federal Hate Crimes Bill would give the federal government the power to investigate and prosecute hate crimes—crimes committed against an individual based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Federal legislation is a crucial tool for protecting the LGBT community against hate-motivated crimes by giving the federal government jurisdiction over these crimes where the current law is inadequate. It also sends a clear message that hate-motivated crimes are taken seriously by our government.

The Federal Hate Crimes bill has been passed nine times in Congress but has failed to be enacted. The legislation was reintroduced this session and passed the House on April 29, 249-175. Now the bill is pending before the Senate.

We need a united Congress to stand up and pass this piece of legislation to send a clear and unequivocal message that hate violence is NOT an American value.

We need you contact your Senators NOW and urge them to support the Federal Hate Crimes Bill.

Find your Senator here or you can call the capitol switchboard and have them connect you with your Senators at 202.224.3121. Tell them to support the Federal Hate Crimes Bill!

Thank you for all that you do.

In solidarity,

House Leaders Plot Gay Rights Agenda

June 25, 2009

by Jennifer Bendery and Shira Toeplitz | Roll Call Staff

House Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis met privately on Wednesday to discuss strategies for advancing LGBT issues such as ENDA and ending DADT in the 111th Congress.

After five months of virtual inaction on the gay rights agenda, House Democratic leaders on Wednesday met privately to chart out a strategy for advancing the constituency group’s priorities in the 111th Congress.

Headlining the meeting was Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who with her leadership team and the three openly gay Members of Congress — Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) — sought to map out a way forward on several key gay rights bills.

Holder Tells Congress New Hate Crime Law Needed

June 25, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder urged Congress Thursday to pass a new hate crimes law which would allow the federal government to prosecute cases of violence based on sexual orientation, gender or disability.

Holder, who testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, cited the recent killing of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The alleged assailant is a white supremacist.

“One has to look at the unfortunate history of our nation. There are groups that have been singled out, that have been targets of violence,” the attorney general said. “We have to face and confront that reality.”

Listen to Kate Today on KQED’s “Forum”

June 25, 2009

I’d like to extend a special invitation to you to tune in this morning to KQED 88.5 FM or online from 10-11:00 a.m. and listen to my live interview on “Forum.” I’ll join host Michael Krasny in studio to talk about the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and what lays ahead for the LGBT movement.

Forty years ago on June 28, 1969, our community fought back against government-sponsored persecution. LGBT patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village neighborhood rebelled against a police raid and became a defining moment in our movement.

They refused to be silent. They refused to be ashamed of living their lives out loud.

We are experiencing a similar moment in history as our community and our issues are taking the national stage. Our opposition is fierce and well-funded, but we will not stand down.
I’ll be discussing our history, our present, and our future, so I hope you’ll tune in and listen to my interview on “Forum.”


Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

June 24, 2009

by Lawrence J. Korb, Sean Duggan, Laura Conley | Center for American Progress

The law commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” or DADT, has resulted in the discharge of more than 13,000 patriotic and highly qualified men and women since its enactment more than 16 years ago. At least 1,000 of these 13,000 have held “critical occupations,” such as interpreters and engineers. Moreover, approximately 4,000 service members leave the service voluntarily per year because of this policy.

A clear and comprehensive road map for repealing DADT and implementing an alternative, non-discriminatory policy already exists. This report provides a realistic outline for repealing DADT and opening our armed forces to the many qualified men and women who have been excluded under that law. These steps include:

1. Signing an Executive Order banning further military separations based on DADT and sending a legislative proposal on DADT repeal to Congress.
2. Forming a presidential panel on how to implement the repeal.
3. Repealing DADT in Congress and changing the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, or UCMS.
4. Changing other necessary military guidelines to conform to the new policy.
5. Following-up to ensure that the armed forces implement the policy changes.

Read more and download the full report here.

New Protections for Transgender Federal Workers

June 24, 2009

by Jim Rutenberg | The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Lawyers for President Obama are quietly drafting first-of-their kind guidelines barring workplace discrimination against transgender federal employees, officials said Tuesday.

read more