by Lisa Leff | Associated Press
A group of lawmakers wants to give gay servicemembers the ability to testify before Congress without fearing they’ll be discharged under the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
A bill that would grant immunity from the policy was introduced in the House on Wednesday. It would prohibit retaliatory personnel actions against those who reveal their sexual orientations during congressional hearings.
NCLR has been on the front lines, fighting for an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) for years. We’ve proudly worked side by side with civil rights organizations, grassroots activists, and committed individuals like you who have called Congress to put the pressure on to ensure workplace equality. We are so close to making ENDA law, but we must continue the fight to make it so. We must keep our momentum going and continue to demand results from our elected officials.
Call your elected officials at (202) 224-3121 and ask them to step up. No more delays! Our community can’t afford to wait on workplace equality. If you’ve already called, call again. Demand answers and demand action!
We all must push to pass ENDA. Please make sure your friends and family know that the unfair practice of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is still legal in most of the country. Let them know that they can help make sure that it stops. Urge them to call their representatives and senators.
It’s time that we all stand up for the rights we deserve and the equality we need. Please call today.
Pride Agenda Executive Director Reacts to Today’s Vote on Marriage Equality in the New York State Senate
Moments ago, the Pride Agenda released the following statement from Executive Director Alan Van Capelle:
“While we are disappointed by today’s vote, we are pleased that the issue of marriage equality at last was debated in the New York State Senate. We had long called for a public debate on this matter so we could determine who was truly on our side.
It is a step forward for our democratic process in New York that a debate and vote have now occurred. Now we know where we stand, and where we need to concentrate our efforts in the future.
We are incredibly thankful to those who have stood with us and will continue to stand with us as our community presses forward to win marriage equality. In this regard:
We thank Governor Paterson for his unstinting support;
We thank each of the Senators who pushed for a vote and stood with us when it was time to be counted;
We also thank the members of the New York State Assembly—led by Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell—who have three times now voted for marriage equality by increasingly bipartisan majorities; and
We thank our many allies in the labor, faith and the business communities for their support and willingness to speak out.
To the tens of thousands of LGBT New Yorkers who have worked hard for equality, and to those who may for the very first time have become politically involved due to this fight, our message is as follows:
Our fight continues. Marriage equality is coming to New York. Time clearly is on our side and you can be sure that we will never stop working until we win.
To those Senators who do not yet see our families as deserving the same protections as other families in New York, our message is simple:
We are more committed than ever to this fight. We will redouble our efforts in your district to ensure that our voice is heard. We know our cause is just. We know that a growing majority of New Yorkers believes in the same values of fairness and equality that we do. If you cannot support us, we will find candidates for public office who do, and we will work through the democratic system to affect needed change.”
Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and longtime advocate of marriage equality and LGBT rights, issued the following statement:
“I am extremely disappointed by today’s vote against marriage equality in the New York State Senate. But we must remind ourselves that this is just one battle in a longstanding struggle, and our resolve should only be strengthened. We will ultimately be vindicated in our march toward marriage equality, and those who stood on the wrong side of history will one day regret it. Today’s vote was truly historic in that it actually happened at all in a national climate where marriage equality and LGBT rights are, more often than not, taking a back seat to other issues. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to put this issue on our state’s agenda – Majority Leader John Sampson, Senator Tom Duane, the Empire State Pride Agenda, Gill Action, and many others.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights Disappointed in New York Senate Vote Rejecting Marriage for Same-Sex CouplesDecember 2, 2009
Today, in a 38-24 vote, the New York State Senate failed to pass a bill which would have extended the right to marry to same-sex couples.
As Lisa Keen of Keen News Service reported in the Bay Area Reporter, Senator Bill Perkins, an African American Democrat from Harlem, addressed the bill’s openly gay sponsor, Tom Duane (D-Manhattan), by saying “Thank you, brother.” Then he turned to the galley where marriage equality supporters sat watching the debate and said, “Thank you, movement—thank you for your vigilance and your push to get us where we are today.” Regardless of the outcome of the vote, said Perkins, change is coming “and I can see Dr. Martin Luther King smiling down on us today—recognizing that his sacrifice was not in vain.”
Statement from Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights:
“The vote today in the New York Senate is a heartbreaker. To see justice denied yet again is crushing. But we cannot be down for long. The lessons of every human rights movement teach us that setbacks and dark days are always the risk in fighting for equality and justice. We applaud the courage of Senator Tom Duane, sponsor of the bill and of the 24 Senators who stood for equality, fairness, and love. Their names will be remembered and so will their votes. The time is long past for those who reject our basic dignity and value to do so without consequence. The votes of those who affirmed our equality and humanity will be vindicated, of that we can be certain.”
from Christine C. Quinn, Speaker, New York City Council
This is it. The Marriage Equality Act is being debated on the floor of the New York State Senate. (You can watch it live here.)
We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, and it’s my hope that a majority of our senators in Albany will make the right decision and cast their votes for marriage equality.
Right now, I’m in Albany after having met with senators on both sides of the fence – and I can report that our leaders in the Senate are working very hard to get the votes. Governor David Paterson, Senator Tom Duane, Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell and every one of our allies in Albany deserve our appreciation for getting us this far.
We need to keep pushing, though. Please call or write your state senator and urge them to vote for this bill. You can find contact information for your NY state senator here.
It’s my hope that marriage equality will soon be looked back upon as a great accomplishment that all New Yorkers achieved together.