by Anne Kornblut | Washington Post
The White House on Tuesday unveiled the first formal national HIV/AIDS strategy, a plan that aims to reduce the number of new cases by 25 percent in the next five years, officials said.
Chai Feldblum is a brilliant lawyer, incredible advocate for the elderly, disabled and LGBT folks and is truly a remarkable human being. He appointment makes history and will help the EEOC fulfill its mission to provide justice and equal opportunity to all. Congratulations Chai!!
After facing months of Republican obstruction to administration nominees, President Obama announced his intent to recess appoint fifteen nominees to fill critical administration posts that have been left vacant, including key positions on the economic team and on boards that have been left with vacancies for months.
“The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disapprove of my nominees. But if, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis,” said President Barack Obama. “Most of the men and women whose appointments I am announcing today were approved by Senate committees months ago, yet still await a vote of the Senate. At a time of economic emergency, two top appointees to the Department of Treasury have been held up for nearly six months. I simply cannot allow partisan politics to stand in the way of the basic functioning of government.”
Following their appointment, these nominees will remain in the Senate for confirmation.
Chai R. Feldblum: Nominee for Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Chai Feldblum is a Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center where she has taught since 1991. She also founded the Law Center’s Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic, a program designed to train students to become legislative lawyers. Feldblum previously served as Legislative Counsel to the AIDS Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. In this role, she developed legislation, analyzed policy on various AIDS-related issues, and played a leading role in the drafting of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and, later as a law professor, in the passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. She has also worked on advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and has been a leading expert on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. As Co-Director of Workplace Flexibility 2010, Feldblum has worked to advance flexible workplaces in a manner that works for employees and employers. Feldblum clerked for Judge Frank Coffin and for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and B.A. from Barnard College.
by Brian Knowlton | New York Times
The Obama administration has inserted language into the federal jobs Web site explicitly banning employment discrimination based on gender identity.
The protection is expected to apply to the small transgender population — people who identify their gender differently from the information on their birth certificates — and it merely formalizes what had been increasingly unchallenged government practice over several years.
By Patty Machelor | Arizona Daily Star
But as one of the first transgender appointees to the federal government, Simpson, 48, said the fact she was “Mitch” before becoming Amanda is relevant if only to illustrate the need for greater equality.
Amanda Simpson, a member of the board of directors of the National Center for Transgender Equality, has been appointed Senior Technical Advisor to the Department of Commerce by President Obama, according to NCTE.
“I’m truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me. And at the same time, as one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others,” Simpson said in a statement released by NCTE today.
Obama is the first U.S. president to appoint openly transgender individuals to executive branch positions. Simpson is among more than 100 openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons appointed by Obama so far, many of whom participated in the LGBT community’s Presidential Appointments Project, which is coordinated by the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute.
According to NCTE:
Simpson brings considerable professional credentials to her new job. For thirty years, she has worked in the aerospace and defense industry, most recently serving as Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona. She holds degrees in physics, engineering and business administration along with an extensive flight background. She is a certified flight instructor and test pilot with 20 years of experience.
She has also been very active in political and community groups. She has served on the Board of Directors of two national organizations: Out & Equal and NCTE. In Arizona, she has been on the board of Wingspan, the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, the Southern Arizona ACLU and the Arizona Human Rights Fund (now Equality Arizona).
(San Francisco, California, December 18, 2009) — Today President Obama’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it will not provide equal health benefits to the spouse of federal employee Karen Golinski, defying a decision by Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski concluding that the benefits must be provided pursuant to the Court’s nondiscrimination policy. Karen Golinski is represented by Lambda Legal in this matter. The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) issued the following statement:
A statement from NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.
“Today’s decision fails our families and the legitimate expectations of our community. It is based on an overly expansive reading of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and an unnecessarily narrow view of the law on federal employee benefits. We call on the Obama Administration to end government-sanctioned discrimination against same-sex couples and their families and to do everything in the President’s power to ensure equal treatment under the law.
Respectfully, we say that President Obama must do more to lead on these issues. He should instruct his administration to stop offering offensive and ludicrous arguments defending DOMA, to stop interpreting DOMA as broadly as possible to block protections that families need, and to endorse the federal Respect for Marriage Act. The Respect for Marriage Act is federal legislation to repeal DOMA and ensure that married same-sex couples are treated equally under the law. While NCLR supports the federal Domestic Partners and Obligations Act, only ridding the country of DOMA once and for all will end this invidious discrimination.
Today’s decision stokes the growing criticism that the Administration is not delivering on the President’s promises to this nation’s LGBT families.”
by Kerry Eleveld | The Advocate
In its strongest statement yet, the Obama administration condemned a homophobic Ugandan bill that would carry a death sentence for acts of homosexuality in some cases.
“The president strongly opposes efforts, such as the draft law pending in Uganda, that would criminalize homosexuality and move against the tide of history,” read the White House statement that came late Friday in response to an inquiry from The Advocate.
Obama Adminstration to Ensure Inclusion of the LGBT Community in HUD Programs
Commission’s first-ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the renting and sale of housing
WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced a series of proposals to ensure that HUD’s core housing programs are open to all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The evidence is clear that some are denied the opportunity to make housing choices in our nation based on who they are and that must end,” said Donovan. “President Obama and I are determined that a qualified individual and family will not be denied housing choice based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The initiatives announced today will be a proposed rule that will provide the opportunity for public comment. The proposed rule will:
In addition to issuance of proposed rule, HUD will commission the first-ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the rental and sale of housing.
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.
by Ed O’Keefe | Washington Post
Remember when President Obama said he wanted to make working for the federal government “cool again”? The government’s chief human resources officer told lawmakers Thursday that they need to approve a bill that extends full benefits to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian federal employees to ensure that the government remains competitive with the private sector.
“Young people are looking at this as an indicator that says, do you have this, and if not, this is not a cool place to be,” Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry said at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.