07/09/2013The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee is set to consider the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) tomorrow, July 10. While the bill already has the support of senate Democrats, LGBT activists today set their sights on GOP senators who have previously expressed support for LGBT rights, such as marriage equality or the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".
The group Freedom to Work targeted Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), a GOP member of the committee who previously voted for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". The group enlisted the help of LGBT activist Dan Gurley to assist with their efforts. Gurley believed that Sen. Burr's background as a former business owner should have allowed him to better understand the benefits of legislation like ENDA:
“There’s a lot of transition still taking place in our economy here, but the growth areas, many of them are the creative fields of employment and white-collar growth...We strongly feel, and believes that there’s evidence to prove that having non-discrimination laws in place would serve as an important recruitment tool for business, and that’s why it’s an important thing to do for North Carolina and the country.”
Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, also noted that many prominent North Carolina companies have already adopted non-discrimination policies.
“It’s long past time for our politicians to follow the good example set by companies with a strong North Carolina presence ranging from American Eagle Outfitters to BP gasoline to Coca-Cola, all of which have endorsed the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act.”
Unfortunately, in a statement released late today to the Washington Blade, Burr announced that he will be opposing ENDA:
“Like most Americans, I strongly oppose and condemn unjust discrimination,” Burr said. “It is my hope that our society can be tolerant of different people and ideas. That said, whenever we consider new legislation we must always consider the interplay of new laws with existing rights. I am concerned that the ENDA bill would go beyond our existing laws protecting individuals’ employment rights and would impose new burdens and legal uncertainties regarding the exercise of religious liberties. Therefore, I plan to oppose the bill.”
Meanwhile, in Ohio, GetEQUAL scheduled a news conference today with hopes of grabbing the attention of Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). Towleroad readers may recognize Portman as the senator who came out in support of marriage equality after learning that his son is gay. GetEQUAL's press conference plans to appeal to those sentiments by showcasing the stories of two mothers, both of whom have children who have suffered at the hands of workplace discrimination. Heather Cronk, managing director for the group, had this to say:
“We’re calling on Senator Portman to ‘evolve’ on workplace discrimination in the same way that he ‘evolved’ on marriage equality — by seeing this issue as one of fundamental fairness and equal opportunity.”
Jeffrey Sadosky, a spokesperson for Sen. Portman, did release a prior statement last month, which was less than committal.
“Sen. Portman is strongly opposed to discrimination and is looking at proposals to address it,” Sadosky said. “He is concerned about excessive reliance on litigation as a tool for social change, and will continue to review the most recent version of ENDA.”
Since the bill is co-sponsored by all 12 Democratic members of the The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, it is expected to be advanced. If so, the legislation faces an uphill battle, especially in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
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FRANCISCO LIRIANO: Now that's a catch.
3-D PRINTING: Liquid metal at room temperature.
ELIOT SPITZER: On his past sins and future plans.
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Three counties issue nearly half of all Iowa's gay marriage licenses: "Polk County, Iowa's largest county, has issued 1,186 same-sex marriage licenses from 2009-11. That's the highest of Iowa's 99 counties. Per capita, that's about 28 licenses per 10,000 people, which ranks eight out of 99 counties. "
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Ernst & Young's new branding issue: "A Google image search of 'EY' brings up photos of young male models clad in low-cut briefs, right alongside the Ernst & Young logo and some exterior shots of the company’s offices."
UK AIDS charity: Very few men are 'bug chasers': “We are aware of a tiny minority of people who meet online to discuss bug chasing as a sexual a fantasy, but the reality is that very few will act on this in the real world. We recommend that gay and bisexual men protect themselves against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections by using condoms.”
Victory Fund, David Bohnett Foundation send LGBT leaders to Harvard.
Morrissey fights foie gras with payout: "Morrissey has donated £10,000 paid by Channel 4 for the unauthorised use of a Smiths song to fund a campaign attacking Fortnum & Mason for selling foie gras. Channel 4 failed to ask Morrissey's permission to use the Smiths song Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want when promoting the Gordon Ramsay's Christmas Cookalong Live show in 2011. The broadcaster is understood to have paid £10,000 to Morrissey in recognition of its error, and he has donated the money to the animal rights charity People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta)."
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Man who led Minnesota marriage equality effort to join national battle: "New York-based Freedom to Marry raises funds and works on legal strategies for same-sex marriage drives nationwide. The group announced Tuesday that Richard Carlbom will be its new director of state campaigns." Freedom to Marry announces path to nationwide victory...
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UK B&B owner who turned away gay couple loses appeal: "Mr Black, 64, and Mr Morgan, 59, from Brampton near Huntingdon, had booked and paid a deposit for a double room at the Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Cookham. When they arrived, Mrs Wilkinson made it clear she was not prepared to allow them to share a double bed, and that she would not accommodate them. Ms Wilkinson, a Christian, said her religious beliefs dictated her decision."
You might not know it, but today is Kevin Keller day: Archie Comics's first gay character has teamed up with the It Gets Better project to speak out against the bullying of LGBT youth.
Kevin joined the Archie universe on September 1, 2010 as the strip's first gay character. The comics also included a storyline that featured Kevin joining the military (in his father's footsteps), being injured in Iraq and later marrying the doctor who helped him rehabilitate. In the face of pushback from the conservative group One Million Moms, Archie Comics CEO John Goldwater said, "Kevin Keller will forever be a part of Riverdale, and he will live a happy, long life free of prejudice, hate and narrow-minded people."
Check out a video of Archie's involvement with It Gets Better, featuring GLAAD award-winning author and illustrator Dan Parent.... AFTER THE JUMP...
Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois will file a motion for summary judgment and request a swift ruling in favor of the freedom to marry in Illinois, according to a press release sent out by the two groups:
Together, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois each filed lawsuits on May 30, 2012, representing a total of 25 same-sex couples from across the state of Illinois seeking the freedom to marry. Two days later, the Illinois Attorney General's office filed papers agreeing that barring same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional. The Cook County Clerk and State's Attorney also agree that the marriage ban is unconstitutional.
Wednesday's Motion for Summary Judgment will be supported by friend-of-the-court briefs on behalf of numerous organizations including the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund (MALDEF), The Chicago Bar Association, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, and The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law by attorneys Paul T. Fox, Gregory E. Ostfeld and James P. Madigan of Greenberg Traurig, LLP and on behalf of faith leaders across the state of Illinois, by attorneys Alexandra K. Block, Edward W. Feldman, and Nury A. Siekkinen of Miller Shakman & Beem, LLP, in support of marriage for same-sex couples.
ACLU, Lambda Legal, and 25 Couples Sue for Equal Marriage Rights in Illinois [tlrd]
In the wake of the momentous victories for marriage equality handed down by the Supreme Court, Lambda Legal has announced that it has already set its sights on a new target--Virginia. Greg Nevins, Supervising Senior Staff Attorney in the group's Southern Regional Office, had this to say:
"The end of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act opens a new chapter in our work to ensure same-sex couples and their families across the country are treated with dignity and respect...We know that many same-sex couple and their families have waited a long time and we are excited to announce that the campaign for the freedom to marry is coming south."
"We do not want a country so divided
by unfairness and discrimination. Same-sex couples are in loving, committed
relationships in every region of our nation and should be treated the same
way, whether they live in Maine or Virginia. This is one America."
A Washington Post poll recently revealed that a majority of Virginians support the freedom to marry, 56% versus only 33% who oppose. THe lawsuit is still in the planning stages, and will be filed by Lambda Legal as co-counsel to the ACLU and the ACLU of Virginia some time in the coming weeks. Virginia couples who have experienced any sort of discrimination, or who simply wish to participate in the campaign, are encouraged to fill out a survey at http://action.aclu.org/couples.
If successful, Virginia could potentially become the first state in the South to allow same-sex marriage. While success is by no means a guarantee, Lambda Legal has already scored victories for marriage equality in California and Iowa, and currently has lawsuits pending in Nevada, New Jersey, and Illinois.