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Labor Department Takes Final Step Towards Implementing LGBT Anti-Discrimination Executive Order: VIDEO

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The Labor Department yesterday announced that a new rule required to implement President Obama’s executive order banning workplace discrimination against LGBT government employees is now final, reports the Washington Blade.

Signing the executive order on July 21st, Obama said:

"It doesn't make much sense, but today in America, millions of our fellow citizens wake up and go to work with the awareness that they could lose their job, not because of anything they do or fail to do, but because of who they are -- lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.  And that's wrong. We're here to do what we can to make it right -- to bend that arc of justice just a little bit in a better direction."

6a00d8341c730253ef01a73defccdf970d-200wiAlthough the order was signed in July, the process wasn’t yet complete because the Labor Department and the Office of Management & Budget had to draft a rule to implement the measure.

Once this final rule is published, it will become effective 120 days later and apply to federal contracts entered into or modified on or after that date.

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in a statement:

“Americans believe in fairness and opportunity. No one should live in fear of being fired or passed over or discriminated against at work simply because of who they are or who they love.

"Laws prohibiting workplace discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity are long overdue, and we’re taking a big step forward today to fix that.”

Patricia Shiu, head of the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which is responsible for enforcing the order, said:

“We are building on the work of presidents and members of Congress from both parties who have expanded opportunities for America’s workers.

"This rule will extend protections to millions of workers who are employed by or seek jobs with federal contractors and subcontractors, ensuring that sexual orientation and gender identity are never used as justification for workplace discrimination by those that profit from taxpayer dollars.”

The Labor Department has published Frequently Asked Questions for the final rule, known as EO 13672 Final Rule.

A group of about 140 religious leaders and advocates for religious freedom had petitioned the president for an exemption for faith-based groups.

Watch President Obama announce the executive order a White House reception celebrating LGBT Pride Month, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Labor Department Takes Final Step Towards Implementing LGBT Anti-Discrimination Executive Order: VIDEO" »


Arrests Follow Homophobic Attack Against Two Men for Singing Songs from the Musical 'Wicked' - VIDEO

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A man and a woman have been arrested following the vicious homophobic assault last month on two gay men in Manchester, England, reports the Lancashire Evening Post.

The November 1st attack started because the victims - 25-year-old Jean-Claude “Jo” Manseau and 19-year-old Jake Heaton - were singing songs from the musical Wicked.

During the attack, up to 20 people punched and kicked Manseau unconscious. 6a00d8341c730253ef01bb07a4b8af970d-200wi

Police have confirmed that a 20-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man are in custody and being questioned on suspicion of a homophobically-aggravated assault.

Detective Constable Tim Greenwood said:

"We are still appealing for people to come forward with information and I would urge anyone who witnessed the attack to speak to police.

"The victim was attacked in a busy place and someone may have seen something and have some key information that could help our investigation."

Manseau has said the attack “destroyed every bit of confidence I have...I don’t know when I’ll feel safe to go into Manchester again. My face is going to be scarred for life. That has upset me.”

A lesbian and gay choir staged a mass singalong on the tram network in Manchester last month to show support for Manseau and his friend Jake Heaton.

Watch a video of the singalong, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Arrests Follow Homophobic Attack Against Two Men for Singing Songs from the Musical 'Wicked' - VIDEO" »


Transgender Protections Added to Toledo Hate Crime Laws After Brutal Assault On Transgender Woman

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Toledo City Council voted 12-0 today to approve House Bill 300; a bill that expands upon Ohio's current hate crime laws to include crimes committed against people because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or disabilities reports The Toledo Blade. The push for the new legislation comes a month after the brutal mid-day assault on notable Ohio transgender activist Candice Rose Milligan that left her with severe injuries including a broken jaw. Milligan, who still has her jaw wired shut from the attack, praised the council's decision in a public address yesterday.

Picture 15Toledo Councilman Jack Ford and three other council members are also credited for their adamant backing of the bill, which only received one hearing on the floor at the time of Milligan's attack. Milligan faced her attacker, 20-year-old Christopher Temple, in court on Nov. 20. Temple is charged with robbery to inflict, attempt to inflict, or threaten serious physical harm on another. David Crafts, the executive director of Equality Toledo, praised Toledo police's handling of the case thus far.

Said Craft:

"We know she was targeted based on her transgender status and her gender expression, and we have no question about that. We also know that Toledo Police have procedures they must follow in order to classify cases, and they are doing the best they can to make sure this is classified appropriately."

Temple, and two other men, attacked Milligan in broad daylight in Toledo last month, hurling homophobic and transphobic slurs and epithets toward her before slamming her onto the ground. Toledo police are still searching for Temple's two accomplices in the attack.


European Union Rules Asylum Seeker Tests For Homosexuality Unlawful

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The European Court of Justice (ECJ) today ruled that gay asylum seekers do not need to undergo a test to prove they are homosexual, reports Big News Network.

The ECJ had ruled last year that persecuted gay people from Africa have grounds for asylum.

Due to severe anti-gay laws in a number of African countries there has been an increase in the number of asylum seekers in the European Union (EU).

The decision came after three men failed in their attempts to seek asylum in the Netherlands after the Dutch court ruled they had not proved their sexuality.

The ECJ said determination of a refugee's sexuality must be in accord with EU law and cannot infringe on rights to privacy and dignity. The court added authorities can discuss sexual matters with asylum seekers but cannot ask about personal sexual practices or demand "medical tests" or recordings of sexual acts.

However, the court also found that although “the starting point in the process of assessment,” a mere declaration of homosexuality, is insufficient grounds for asylum.

In September, Egypt’s Forensic Medicine Authority found that nine men are “not homosexuals” after they had appeared in a recording of a “gay marriage”.


District Of Columbia Council Approves Bill Protecting LGBT Youth From Conversion Therapy

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The District of Columbia Council unanimously approved a bill today that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth from the unhealthy and discredited practice of conversion therapy reports the National Center For Lesbian RightsUpon the signing of the bill, Washington, D.C., will become the third jurisdiction-after California and New Jersey-to ban the deranged practice of conversion therapy that often leads to depression and suicide in its "patients." Samantha Ames, the NCLR staff attorney and coordinator of the #BornPerfect campaign at NCLR, commended the council's decision.

Said Ames:

"Today, the D.C. Council sent a powerful message to LGBT youth and their families that they are accepted, supported, and loved.

"The Council has used its authority to protect our most vulnerable youth from dangerous and discredited pseudoscience that tells them who they are is wrong, and reaffirmed the consensus of every major medical and mental health organization that all children are born perfect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity."

NCLR and the Human Rights Campaign collaborated on organizing a coalition that backed the bill, which was authored by Democratic Councilmember Mary M. Cheh. Several groups supported the Youth Mental Health Protection Act, including national LGBT and mental health organizations, youth advocates, religious faith leaders, civil rights organizations and reproductive justice groups. 

Support for the repeal of the practice is mounting as the United Nations Committee Against Torture called the dangerous therapy "troubling," when they convened last month, and questioned the U.S. Department of State representatives asking why the unviable treatment is still in practice. Even former practitioners of the therapy are condemning its use, including Exodus International co-founder Michael Bussee, who called the practice "Poison to the soul," along with eight other prominent ex-gay leaders. 


Anti-Gay Protesters Halt LGBT-Inclusive Seoul Human Rights Charter in South Korea

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Seoul, South Korea has scrapped a planned human rights charter offering protections for gay citizens following protests from anti-gay groups, reports Pink News.

The charter, which was proposed by the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) in August and was due to be enacted on December 10th to coincide with International Human Rights Day, included a clause that a person “has the right not to be discriminated against based on his or her sexual orientation or sexual identity.”

SeoulHowever, the last six public hearings on the charter were protested by anti-gay Christian groups.

Last Friday, almost half of the 180 citizen volunteers selected by the SMG to be a part of the enactment of the charter left a hearing in the city hall when they were told that the inclusion of the clause on gay rights would be decided by a vote.

While 60 of the remaining 73 volunteers voted in favor of the gay rights clause, the SMG said it was postponing the charter’s enactment as the citizen members had “failed to agree on the final copy of the charter successfully.”

In a statement, the SMG said:

“The charter of human rights for Seoul citizens is supposed to be a pact created and enacted by the citizens themselves.

“Unfortunately, working on this charter has been creating more social conflicts. We would like to take more time to listen to a variety of opinions from our citizens on this matter.”

In October, Seoul mayor Park Won-soon became the first mainstream South Korean politician to endorse gay marriage.




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