GLBT History Month: Rachel Maddow

October 16, 2009

Rachel MaddowRachel Maddow is a television host, radio personality and political commentator. She is the first out lesbian to anchor a prime-time show.

To find out more about GLBT History Month and watch a tribute to Rachel Maddow and other GLBT icons, please visit

Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club Will Honor NCLR Immigration Project Director Noemi Calonje

October 16, 2009

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) today announced that the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club will honor NCLR Immigration Project Director Noemi Calonje with their Legal Services Award, which is presented to individuals who build and protect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community. Noemi Calonje will be presented with the award at the Club’s annual awards ceremony on Wednesday, October 21 at 6:00 pm at the Infusion Lounge in San Francisco.

“Noemi is a fierce advocate for the rights of LGBT immigrants, some of the most invisible members of our community,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “Only a handful of years ago, the U.S. immigration authorities had never granted asylum based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Noemi’s careful and meticulous work on behalf of our clients helped to change that. These victories are some of NCLR’s proudest moments—not only because each asylum case won strengthens sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes within immigration law—but even more importantly, because they often mean a person’s life has been saved.”

We are so proud of Noemi and would like for you to join us at the 2009 Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club Fall Awards Ceremony to celebrate.

Click here for more information on the ceremony and about other honorees.

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Domestic Partnership Bill Called Smart Business Move for Government

October 16, 2009

by Chris Johnson | Washington Blade

Photo by Michael Key

John Berry photo by Michael Key

A Senate bill that would extend domestic partner benefits to LGBT federal workers was touted as a way to make the federal government more competitive with the private sector during a congressional hearing Thursday.

The Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee heard testimony on the Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act, which would make the same-sex partners of federal employees eligible for the same benefits as the spouses of straight workers.

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Gay Marriage Advocates Re-Launch Voter Education Campaign

October 16, 2009

by Torey Van Oot | Sacramento Bee

A coalition led by gay-rights group Equality California announced today plans to invest more than $15 million in an educational campaign to build support for same-sex marriage.

The three-year effort, Let California Ring, will partner paid advertising with a grassroots community outreach campaign with the goal of “(enabling) hundreds of thousands of Californians to learn first-hand why marriage matters so much to same-sex couples.”

“The idea is to have television, radio and other means of delivering a message, combined with on-the-ground field work so there’s a a groundbeat of information and discussion of the issue,” said. Equality California Marriage Director Marc Solomon. “The more people talk about the issue and get to know gay couples either on TV or in person, the more they come our way.”

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White House Talks DADT With Lieberman

October 16, 2009

by Kelly Eleveld | The Advocate

Shortly after President Barack Obama pledged Saturday to end “don’t ask, don’t tell” during a speech to the Human Rights Campaign, the Administration’s highest-ranking LGBT official said the White House is speaking with certain senators about strategies for repealing the policy — specifically Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“On ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ this administration is talking directly to the Hill — we are in direct discussions with Senator Lieberman,” John Berry, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, told The Advocate following the president’s remarks.

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Joint Statement Responding to the Denial of Marriage to an Interracial Couple in Louisiana

October 16, 2009

Washington, D.C, Oct. 16, 2009 — The following statement was issued today by a coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality advocates in response to the refusal by a Louisiana justice of the peace to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple in the southeastern part of the state.  Keith Bardwell, a justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, refused to marry Beth Humphrey, who is white, and Terence McKay, who is black, because they are an interracial couple.

The statement may be attributed to the individuals and organizations listed below:

“That anyone would refuse to marry a loving, committed couple on the basis of race is unconscionable. That the person doing so is an official of the state responsible for upholding justice is outrageous and unacceptable.”

“We condemn this ugly act in the strongest possible terms and join the NAACP in denouncing this display of racism. It is wrong for loving couples who want to make a life-long marriage commitment to be denied that right because of someone else’s prejudice.”

Kyle Bailey, Interim Executive Director, National Stonewall Democrats
Jarrett Barrios, President, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
Toni Broaddus, Executive Director, Equality Federation
Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director, Lambda Legal
Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director, Family Equality Council
Jody Huckaby, Executive Director, PFLAG National (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality
Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Sharon J. Lettman, Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition
Joe Solmonese, President, Human Rights Campaign
Lee Swislow, Executive Director, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders
Evan Wolfson, Executive Director, Freedom to Marry

Fairness for All

October 16, 2009

Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Some Salt Lake City residents have been evicted from or denied rental housing because they are gay. Some have lost jobs or have been passed over for promotions because of their sexual orientation or because they are transgender. Such discrimination is widespread enough to warrant government intervention.

Those are some of the findings outlined in a Salt Lake City Human Rights Commission report that prompted Mayor Ralph Becker and his staff to draft an ordinance prohibiting housing and employment discrimination based on sexual preference or gender identity. There’s a need, Becker rightly points out, since neither federal nor state law designates gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people as a protected class.

So, when employers or landlords unfairly discriminate on that basis, there is no recourse for their victims.

Federal law already makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race, national origin, pregnancy, religion, color or disability. And there is growing momentum in Congress to add gay and transgender people to that list.

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