Group Petitions to Expand 1964 Civil Rights Act to Include LGBT

The petition is accompanied by statements of support from Liz Abzug, national public affairs consultant and civil rights lawyer and urban studies professor at Barnard College–Columbia University, U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Sharon Kleinbaum, senior rabbi at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in New York City, U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Melissa Sklarz, the director of New York Trans Rights Organization (NYTRO), Barbra “Babs” Casbar Siperstein, the director the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of N.J. (GRAANJ), U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), The Rev. Dr. Mel White, Founder, Soulforce and author of Stranger at the Gate: To be Gay and Christian in America., Mandy Carter, an African-American lesbian activist and consultant. Co-Founder of the National Black Justice Coalition.


RESPONSES FROM PROMINENT LEADERS petition drive seeks to expand the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include LGBT Americans. It has sparked positive responses from prominent elected and LGBT leadership:

“Discrimination against LGBT Americans is the last legally and socially accepted form of discrimination in this country. This is an abomination and cannot continue. We will never be a fully democratic, fully humane, fully just nation of laws until all of our citizens—whether gay, straight, transgendered, black, white, Asian or otherwise—are granted full civil rights and equality before the law.”

—U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D–N.Y.).

“Extending the enforcement powers of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to cover LGBT Americans is absolutely the strongest and most fundamental way to protect our civil rights—this is so long overdue! My mother, former Congresswoman Bella Abzug (D-N.Y.), was the first person to introduce a bill (The Equality Rights Act) in Congress to do this, way back in 1974,” Abzug continued. “It is simple: We must demand and finally achieve this expansion to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 now!”

—Liz Abzug, national public affairs consultant and civil rights lawyer and urban studies professor at Barnard Colleg–Columbia University

“Dr. Martin Luther King once declared the ‘fierce urgency of now,’ which this president has invoked throughout his campaign and his administration has reclaimed again and again, But lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans continue to face discrimination under the law. The urgency IS now. This is not an issue of states deciding for themselves.  This issue is for equality and justice for all Americans, including those of us who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.”

—Sharon Kleinbaum, senior rabbi at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in New York City

“I am proud to support the effort to expand federal civil rights law to include sexual orientation as a protected category in areas such as housing and public accommodations. Equal rights do not stop at the workplace door, and it is high time that the principle of equality was extended to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender persons in every aspect of our society and our laws.”

—U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.)

“We would like to thank the Civil Rights Project and the The Power for this moment. Transgender identity is not covered in court by sexual orientation, not in 1974 and not today.  Trans people lose case after case as lawyers easily prove that changing gender identity is different than being gay and not protected. Simple additional language to the Civil Rights Bill can ensure that all Americans are legally protected in America, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

—Melissa Sklarz, the director of New York Trans Rights Organization (NYTRO)

“I congratulate for their efforts in expanding the Civil Rights Act to include all LGBT people. In 2007 we saw our community come together to fight against the divisive actions of some in the Beltway. We can work together, we can do more! The seeds for a new paradigm were planted and  now focusing on this Act, while we make sure to take care of the matters at hand, extends our reach and our goals for true, meaningful, and comprehensive equality!”

—Barbra “Babs” Casbar Siperstein, the director the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of N.J. (GRAANJ)

“It’s time to extend every basic right and freedom to each and every member of America’s LGBT community. In 2009, it is unconscionable that gay and lesbian couples are held back from pursuing all of their dreams. The direction that our history is moving in is clear – it’s time our policies caught up with it. I look forward to the day when New York and all states accept this basic principle of fairness, and I pledge my commitment to getting it done, and that’s why I’m proud to support this petition.”

—U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand


  1. Jon Winkleman says

    I’m one of the folks working on this project.

    No legislation has been drafted YET. That’s the point. We need to tell Congress loudly and clearly that anything less than full civil rights is not equal and the only way towards real equality is to expand the Civil Rights Act to include “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.”

    The petition strives to tell Congress that the bill to expand protections to include us must be written with no delays and no excuses.


  2. says

    This has to be a classic example of a group of people being too fucking stupid for their own good. Surely, this comment will be deleted because I will show you just how BRAIN DEAD this idiot idea is.

    First off, Today, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is referred to by Black People in the Civil Rights Movement as “The White Female Civil Rights Act of 1964″ because, in practice, before a racist / Republican packed federal court system, Only White Women calming sex discrimination stand a snowball’s chance in hell of prevailing in a discrimination lawsuit filed to a racist federal court system under Title VII (The Civil Rights Act of 1964).

    Second, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is actually far INFERIOR to Reconstruction Era Civil Rights laws under Title 42 Sections 1981 and 1985. Under Title VII, you can only get back pay (if by some chance you could get a racist federal judge to rule in your favor). You can’t get punitive and compensatory damages under Title VII but you can under Title 42 Section 1981.

    The proof that Title 42 Section 1981 is superior to The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the fact that The Republican Packed US Supreme Court tried to gut Title 42 Section 1981 as soon as they had a majority on the Supreme Court. Congress had to pass a subequent Civil Rights Act in the 1990’s to REVERSE the Supreme Court’s Attempt to gut Title 42 Section 1981.

    Title 42 Section 1981 simply says that Blacks have the same right to contract as Whites. Someone Jewish successfully argued that the founding Fathers viewed Jews AS A RACE and therefore that Title 42 Section 1981 could be used by Jews to combat discrimination in the workplace.

    I don’t know, maybe it’s me, maybe getting a law that racist federal judges have destroyed to apply to Gays DOES make some kind of fucking sense on some planet somewhere

  3. says


    Title VII / The Civil Rights Act of 1964 PREVENTs people complaining about discriminaton from going directly to court. Under Title VII, you must first file a Complaint with the fucking Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”).

    When asked why the EEOC was only filing lawsuits on behalf of White Females claiming sex discrimination and on behalf of old White Male Law Partners who were complaining about age discrimination, the EEOC said:

    “Because those people are the people filing complaints before the EEOC”.

    What does the above tell you about the EEOC? In fact, the Supreme Court’s attempt to gut Title 42 Section 1981 had a whole lot to do with ( 1 ) compensatory and punitive damages being available under 1981; and ( 2 ) the fact that a person charging discrimination COULD GO DIRECTLY TO COURT under Title 42 Section 1981 WITHOUT first giving the EEOC the chance to destroy their changes of winning in court.

  4. says

    I found this in about two seconds on Google, i.e., a resolution to ammend Title 42 Section 1981 to include Gays.

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 packed a lot of “mind share” at a critical time in American history. However, Title 42 Section 1981 was already on the books and far superior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Problem with 1981 was that a historically racist federal court system IGNORED Title 42 Section 1981 rendering it useless as a tool to combact racial discrimination (in the same way that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been rendered useless to most people filing racial discrimination claims in federal court).

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