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National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Withdraws Support for ENDA

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said Tuesday that it is dropping support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) over its religious exemption.

CareyWrites NGLTF in a press release:

The decision comes as broad religious exemptions, such as the one in ENDA, are creating gaping legal loopholes to discriminate in federal, state and local legislation.

"The morning after the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling, we all woke up in a changed and intensified landscape of broad religious exemptions being used as an excuse to discriminate. We are deeply concerned that ENDA's broad exemption will be used as a similar license to discriminate across the country. We are concerned that these types of legal loopholes could negatively impact other issues affecting LGBT people and their families including marriage, access to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention and access to other reproductive health services. As one of the lead advocates on this bill for 20 years, we do not take this move lightly but we do take it unequivocally – we now oppose this version of ENDA because of its too-broad religious exemption. We cannot be complicit in writing such exemptions into federal law," said Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund.

Carey is urging support for treating LGBT people similarly as other protected classes under federal non-discrimination law, with a reasonable religious accommodation.

"The campaign to create broad religious exemptions for employment protections repeats a pattern we’ve seen before in methodically undermining voting rights, women's access to reproductive health and affirmative action. It is time for fair minded people to block this momentum, rather than help speed it into law. We need new federal non-discrimination legislation that contains a reasonable religious accommodation. LGBT people should have the same protections as those contained in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Legal equality is federal law."

"The truth is that those who seek to deny full equality are succeeding by using religion to create a quasi-moral, completely legal mechanism to discriminate. We can’t let them succeed. We can’t let them ignore the vast majority of people — and millions of people of faith — who think that discrimination is completely immoral and should be completely illegal," said Carey.


LGBT Orgs to NYC: Override Bloomberg's Veto to Ban NYPD Profiling

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In a joint press release issued today, more then 30 national and New York-area LGBT organizations issued a call to the New York City Council urging a vote to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg's veto of the Community Safety Act.  

The proposed act, approved by the council less than a day after the Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, is composed of two bills, one of which would prohibit police from any profilng based on a host of possible criteria, including sexual orientation, gender identity and HIV status.  The other bill would create an independent inspector's office that would monitor police policy, conduct investigations and suggest changes that could be made to the department.

Mayor Bloomberg vetoed the act last week, releasing two three-page letter explaining his opposition to both bills, which he called "dangerous and irresponsible," according to the New York Times. 

The council has 30 days during which to hold a veto override.  In the first votes on the Community Safety Act, the independent inspector bill comfortably cleared a veto-proof two-thirds threshold; the profiling bill received exactly the number of council members required.  As Gothamist mused, Bloomberg's veto is seen by some as a delaying tactic to pick off council members and push the bills below the veto-proof margin.

In their statement, which focused specifically on the profiling bill, the organizations today specifically noted the long history of profiling against the LGBT community:

"From Stonewall to stop and frisk, LGBTQ people - and particularly LGBTQ people of color, LGBTQ youth, and transgender and gender nonconforming people - have long been targets of profiling and other forms of discriminatory policing."

Joining the national organizations who signed the statement--among them the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLAAD--were a significant number of New York-specific groups, such as the Ali Forney Center, Gay Mens' Health Crisis, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of New York and the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

You can read the organizations' statement in full AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "LGBT Orgs to NYC: Override Bloomberg's Veto to Ban NYPD Profiling" »


Obama Addresses 3,000 LGBT Advocates in Video Message: WATCH

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President Obama addressed the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s 25th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change in a video message this afternoon. The conference is being held this week in Atlanta for 3,000 LGBT rights advocates.

Said Obama in the message:

"I’ve always said that the change we need in this country — real change — doesn’t come from Washington, it comes from folks like you. Change has always come from ordinary Americans who sit in or stand up or marched to demand it. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been a partner at the forefront of that movement for 40 years. ... With your help, we will continue the journey to perfect our union. The work will be hard, the road will be long, but I’m more confident than ever that we will reach a better future as long as Americans like you keep reaching for justice — and all of us keep marching together."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Obama Addresses 3,000 LGBT Advocates in Video Message: WATCH" »


HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan Announces New Policy Combating LGBT Housing Discrimination: VIDEO

Donovan

Speaking at NGLTF's Creating Change conference over the weekend in Baltimore, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that a new policy proposed last year combating LGBT housing discrimination is to be published and finalized this week and go into effect in 30 days.

MetroWeekly reported, over the weekend:

"Today, I am proud to announce a new equal access to housing rule that says clearly and unequivocally that LGBT indivduals and couples have the right to live where they choose," he told the audience, which rose to its feet with applause.

Donovan detailed that the rule, saying that it includes a new equal access provision that prohibits discrimination in HUD-backed housing programs. It also, he said, guarantees that LGBT individuals are eligible for HUD's public housing programs and states that discrimination is prohibited on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in all Federal Housing Administration-backed loans -- which Donovan said constituted 40 percent of all loans for Americans who bought a home last year.

Donovan's speech is now online. He's introduced by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive director, Rea Carey.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Additionally, Carey's State of the Gay and Lesbian Movement address can be found here.

Continue reading "HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan Announces New Policy Combating LGBT Housing Discrimination: VIDEO" »


Maryland First Lady Katie O'Malley Apologizes for Labeling Marriage Equality Opponents 'Cowards'

Maryland's First Lady Katie O'Malley apologized today for remarks she made at NGLTF's 24th annual Creating change Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality on Thursday night.

KatieomalleyO'Malley was speaking about the marriage equality bill that failed to pass in Maryland last year, reportedly veering from prepared remarks to lash out at lawmakers who voted against it:

"There were some cowards that prevented it from passing."

Today, O'Malley said she "let my feelings get the better of me":

“I deeply respect that there are strongly held and differing views on marriage equality in Maryland but hope that our state’s elected officials will come together to fairly address this important issue for our families and children."


NGLTF Endorses National Equality March on Washington DC

The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force has endorsed the National Equality March set to take place on October 10th and 11th in Washington D.C.

Equalitymarch The group released a statement:

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a leader in building grassroots lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) political power, endorses the National Equality March, which will be held in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 10-11. Thousands of people from across the country will march and rally in front of the U.S. Capitol demanding equal protection under the law for LGBT people and their families in all 50 states. At the march, the Task Force will engage new activists, support fair-minded clergy and other people of faith, and mobilize volunteer activists to return home engaged and energized.

"For the past 30 years, LGBT people and our allies have come together in Washington to be inspired, to engage in political action, and to go home geared up to create change. The National Equality March will bring together those of us who have never marched, those who want to renew their passion for action, and those who demand their voices be heard. When we mobilize for LGBT equality, for racial and economic justice, for a transformed society, and to make our love and lives visible, the Task Force is there. The Task Force will be there at the march to support the voices of new activists, LGBT people and our allies who push and push for the end to hatred, discrimination and unjust laws," says National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey.

As part of its commitment to support march participants in fighting for local, state and federal change, the Task Force will:

  • Utilize technology to connect people to concrete actions they can take on the local, state and national levels.
  • Lend its faith organizing expertise in helping to plan an interfaith worship service.
  • Work to connect state equality organizations and community centers with march participants the Task Force identifies from their states so they can further engage them to be active at home.
  • Engage march participants in ballot campaigns under way in Maine, Washington state and Kalamazoo, Mich.
  • Engage and support new activists in honing their talents and grassroots skills after the weekend of the march.

Consistent with the march goal of seeking equality in all 50 states, the Task Force will maintain its longstanding commitment to provide organizers, expertise and money for key ballot measure fights under way in Maine, Washington state and Kalamazoo, Mich. The Task Force will reach out to march participants from these states to channel their energy to create change back home.

Earlier this week, we published a list of 140 LGBT leaders and allies who have put their names behind this march, which will call for equal protection in all matters governed by law in all 50 states.


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