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Thursday Speed Read: Title IX, Rea Carey, Asylum Seeking, Ohio, Colorado, Maryland

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

PROTECTION FOR NON-CONFORMING:

EducationThe U.S. Department of Education (ED) on Tuesday released guidelines to clarify for schools receiving federal aid that Title IX of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against sex discrimination “extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.” The DOE’s guidance makes clear that its Office of Civil Rights “accepts such complaints for investigation.” The guidance requires school officials to “investigate and resolve allegations of sexual violence regarding LGBT students using the same procedures and standards that it uses in all complaints involving sexual violence.” National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey called it a “giant leap forward” toward “staggering rates of discrimination” against students who are transgender or non-conforming to gender role expectations.

NGLTF LEADER ARRESTED AT RALLY: Carey

NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey was one of 27 people arrested for blocking an intersection on Capitol Hill Wednesday in a protest against the refusal of the Republican-led U.S. House to take up an immigration reform bill. The Fair Immigration Reform Movement organized the protest. NGLTF estimates that more than 250,000 of the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants are LGBT.

FOCUS ON ASYLUM:

Immigration Equality held a press conference in front of the White House Tuesday afternoon to urge President Obama to provide relief to LGBT people seeking asylum in the United States. The group says it has more than 300 clients in need of asylum. According to the organization’s website, persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status can be a basis for the Bureau of Immigration Appeals to grant asylum.

OhioNEW OHIO LAWSUIT:

Ohio civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein has filed another lawsuit in federal court in Cincinnati seeking to strike down that state’s ban against issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The lawsuit filed Wednesday, Gibson v. Himes, is being brought on behalf of six same-sex couples. Earlier this month, another Gerhardstein lawsuit won a ruling from a federal district court judge in Cincinnati to recognize the out-of-state marriages of four same-sex couples and put the names of both parents on the birth certificates of their children. That case is now on appeal to the Sixth Circuit.

ColoradoCOLORADO POLLS RISING?

A poll by Quinnipiac University of 1,298 registered voters this month found a whopping 61 percent support allowing same-sex couples to marry. Last December, Public Policy Polling surveyed 928 Colorado voters and found only 48 percent said they would support allowing same-sex couples to marry. The December poll, however, gave voters a choice of allowing gays to marry or have civil unions. Thirty-two percent were OK with civil unions. In terms of voters opposed, 18 percent said that in December there should be “no” legal recognition of same-sex relationships, 32 percent said they “oppose” allowing them to marry.

MarylandMARYLAND BALLOT BATTLE BREWING:

A Republican-led group announced Tuesday that it will seek a referendum this November on a bill passed by the Maryland legislature to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. The governor has not yet signed the bill, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, but is expected to. The group, MDPetitions.com, is referring to the measure as “The Bathroom Bill,” a moniker frequently used by opponents of gender equality to stir fears that the non-discrimination law will enable men to enter women’s restrooms to harass or attack them.” The group must first collect 55,736 signatures by June 30, including one-third of those by May 31.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Colorado Military Vets Speak Out For Marriage Equality In New PSA - VIDEO

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Why Marriage Matters Colorado — a new effort organized by the LGBT PAC One Colorado, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, and the national marriage equality group Freedom to Marry — just released their first advertisement. It features active and retired military servicemembers discussing why they support equal rights for one of their gay troopmates.

The video’s description reads:

Three military veterans who, together with their friend, U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant T. Ashley Metcalf — who is still actively serving his country — represent 45 years of military service. Sgt. Metcalf is gay, and his band of brothers — former Army Staff Sgt. Izzy Abbass, retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Dennis Mont'Ros, and former Marine Sgt. Will Glenn — talk about the importance of the freedom to marry for everyone.

Colorado currently has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Why Marriage Matters Colorado says, “We can win marriage either by amending the constitution by a vote of the people or by winning in the courts. Both paths are being pursued simultaneously. Whatever our path, it’s important to have this public conversation about why marriage matters to us all.”

Watch the video AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "Colorado Military Vets Speak Out For Marriage Equality In New PSA - VIDEO" »


Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman Becomes Seventh House Republican To Support ENDA

As the battle to get an Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) signed into law wages on, Politico reports that Colorado representative Mike Coffman has signed on to become the seventh GOP co-sponsor of the legislation in the House of Representatives:

CoffmanThat Coffman is one of the first Republicans coming out in support of ENDA is no surprise, and it highlights another step in his political evolution. The Colorado Republican has reversed positions on immigration and abortion in recent months as he tries to fend off an challenge from Democrat Andrew Romanoff in Colorado’s competitive sixth district.

“I see this legislation as the workplace equivalent of the Golden Rule — do unto others, as you would have them do unto you,” Coffman said in a statement to POLITICO. “In the workplace, in 2014, we should judge employees the way we would want to be judged — based on our qualifications, our contributions and by our character, period.”

ENDA cleared the Senate last year and now must be passed by the House of Representatives before being sent to the President for his signature or veto.

Coffman joins fellow Republican Representatives Michael Grimm (N.Y.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), Richard Hanna (N.Y.), Charles Dent (Pa.), Jon Runyan (N.J.) and Chris Gibson (N.Y.) in sponsoring the bill. Eight house Democrats are currently not co-sponsoring the legislation: they are Reps. Dan Lipinksi (Ill.), Jim Costa (Calif.), John Barrow (Ga.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Pete Gallego (Texas), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Gene Green (Texas) and Nick Rahall (W.Va.). The bill still needs support from 16 more representatives to receive the required majority to pass in the House. However, even if the bill gained the necessary traction  among rank and file representatives, it would still need to be granted a vote on the House floor by Speaker of the House John Boehner, something Boehner has said he would not do in 2014. For that reason, many prominent political players, including the HRC and DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias, have expressed frustration at the White House’s refusal to consider an ENDA executive order.


Former GOP Senator Alan Simpson Pushes for Marriage Equality in New Nationwide Ad: VIDEO

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Former Senator Alan Simpson, a Republican from Wyoming, stars in a new ad from Freedom to Marry urging voters and lawmakers to "live and let live" and allow gays and lesbians to marry.

Says Simpson in the spot:

“I’m a Republican. The party’s basic core is, government out of your life and the right to be left alone. Whether you’re gay or lesbian or straight, if you love someone and you want to marry them, marry them. I've had a wonderful married life. Why shouldn't someone else have the joy of marriage? Live and let live."

The ad, backed with a six-figure buy, will be aired nationally on Fox, MSNBC and CNN and locally in Wyoming, Oklahoma and Colorado, according to Politico.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Former GOP Senator Alan Simpson Pushes for Marriage Equality in New Nationwide Ad: VIDEO" »


Friday Speed Read: Mississippi, Mozilla, Social Security, Colorado, Marriage Equality

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

BryantMISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR SIGNS:

Republican Governor Phil Bryant signed the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act Thursday, saying it “will protect the individual religious freedom of Mississippians of all faiths from government interference.” The ACLU says the law, though less problematic than in its original form, “could still open the door for someone who wants to use their religion to discriminate against others.” “We remain hopeful that courts throughout the state will reject any attempts to use religion to justify discrimination.” The law takes effect July 1.

EichMOZILLA APOLOGIZES WITH RESIGNATION:

The Mozilla software company that operates the Firefox browser issued an apology Thursday for failing to “move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started.” The controversy centered around Mozilla’s new CEO Brenden Eich, who gave a $1,000 contribution in support of Proposition 8 in California. Some staff and board members objected when Eich was named CEO on March 24, and that protest quickly spread to outsiders. The Mozilla statement issued yesterday said Eich “has chosen to step down from his role as CEO…. for Mozilla and our community.” GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis said, “Mozilla’s strong statement in favor of equality today reflects where corporate America is: inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all."

SOCIAL SECURITY STILL ROLLING: 

The Social Security Administration continued its rollout yesterday of new regulations affecting same-sex couples, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision last June to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. The Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that the SSA is now able to process requests “for certain eligible people in same-sex marriages” for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). For details, see HHS website.

ColoradoTHE PROFIT OF MARRIAGE:

The Williams Institute, an LGBT research think tank based at UCLA, released a report Thursday showing that the state of Colorado’s economy stands to gain millions from legalizing marriage for same-sex couples. The calculation is based on taking the Census data estimate of how many same-sex couples live in Colorado (12,424), anticipating half will want to marry within the first few years they are able to in the state, and presuming same-sex couples will spend less than one-fourth the $26,000 straight couples do on weddings in Colorado. These couples and their guests would spend an estimated $50 million during those first three years, supporting 436 jobs.

WHETHER TO MARRY:

A new book out by lawyer-activist Scott Squillace offers practical considerations for couples contemplating marriage. Much of the advice would apply whether the couples are straight or gay: such as how couples with disparate incomes might result in lower taxes while those where both earn high incomes might pay higher taxes if married. But for same-sex couples specifically, the book examines which federal agencies have limited marriage-related benefits for couples living in marriage equality states and which have yet to publish post-Windsor regulations regarding such matters. The self-published book is available through amazon.com.


Homophobic Ex-Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt Leads GOP Field in Colorado House Race

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Gordon Klingenschmitt, the former Navy chaplain who has made a career out of making outrageous anti-gay claims on his “Pray in Jesus Name” program, looks to be leading the GOP nomination in the race for Colorado’s heavily-Republican House District 15. 

At a county GOP assembly on Saturday, Klingenschmitt “won the favor of the delegates with 71 percent of the vote, preventing two other candidates nominated from hitting the 30 percent threshold.”

Another GOP candidate, however, had gathered the necessary signatures to appear on the ballot, indicating that a primary battle is expected. 

That candidate, Dave Williams, has his own laundry list of virulently anti-gay statements and actions, so it appears that regardless of the primary’s outcome, voters will likely be sending a homophobe to the capital come November. 

[via RightWingWatch]


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