Tag Archives: United States of America

Reason To Celebrate: Civil Rights Act Finally Includes Gay People

More than fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the historic Civil Rights Act, promising equality for Americans. Well, most Americans. Title VII of the act prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of race, sex, color, religion and national origin – what about members of the LGBT community? On this matter, the Civil Rights Act was deafeningly silent, and has remained that way for decades.

However, federal judge Cathy Bissoon recently ruled that the Civil Rights Act should include sexual orientation.

Judge Bissoon sided with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOS) in stating that because “sex” is currently included in the Civil Rights Act, “sexuality” falls under sex and merits inclusion as well.

Writes Bissoon, “There is no more obvious form of sex stereotyping than making a determination that a person should conform to heterosexuality.”

She goes on to say that if an employer judges a person because of his or her romantic partner, then the employer is enforcing stereotypes about “proper” male and female roles within a relationship. Enforcing gender roles is, of course, sexist.

Bissoon writes.

That someone can be subjected to a barrage of insults, humiliation, hostility and/or changes to the terms and conditions of their employment, based upon nothing more than the aggressor’s view of what it means to be a man or a woman, is exactly the evil Title VII was designed to eradicate.”

How did LGBT rights and the Civil Rights Act finally make it on this judge’s radar? A brave man named Dale Baxley decided to speak up.

Baxley worked for the Scott Medical Health Center until daily harassment drove him to leave his job. His supervisor called him homophobic slurs and asked him about the mechanics of gay sex. Imagine clocking into work just to have your boss greet you with, “Hey, f**cking f**got.”

Instead of putting his head between his legs and finding a new job, Baxley filed a lawsuit against the health center, contending that the supervisor’s hate speech was in violation of the Civil Rights Act. By siding with Baxley, Judge Bissoon has achieved a historic win for LGBT rights.

Well, let’s be honest, LGB rights. The “T” is still under fire in states such as North Carolina, where the HB2 bill declares that people must use the bathroom corresponding to the gender listed on his/her/their birth certificate. Across the country, court opinions are divided over whether the Civil Rights Act’s “sex” provision includes transgender people.

So what’s next for the Civil Rights Act? Because of the unprecedented ruling, legal experts are speculating that Baxley’s case may go all the way to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court sides with Judge Bissoon, this will be a groundbreaking move forward. Still, we should celebrate the current ruling while remembering that there’s still a lot of work to be done, especially when it comes to transgender rights.

Congratulations America, US Supreme Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage is Legal Nationwide

The Supreme Court has delivered a historic victory for gay rights, ruling 5 to 4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples.

Advocates have called the right for same-sex ‘the most pressing civil rights issue of modern times’, while critics said the courts had sent the country into uncharted territory by changing the traditional definition of marriage.

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Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion

Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right.”

He was joined in the ruling by the court’s liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

All four of the court’s most conservative members — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — dissented and each wrote a separate opinion, saying the court had usurped a power that belongs to the people.

It is unclear how soon marriage licences will be issued in states where gay unions were previously prohibited.

Before the ruling on Thursday, same-sex couples could marry in 37 states in addition to Washington DC.

Hundreds of people had camped out for hours awaiting the news, and when it was delivered a loud cheers erupted outside the court.

On social media, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton merely tweeted the word “proud” and the White House changed its Twitter avatar into the rainbow colours.

House and Senate Democrats Write Letter To Obama Asking For Executive Action Protecting LGBT People Overseas

Sixty-one House and Senate Democrats have asked President Obama to work to make sure federal funds aren’t being used to fund LGBT discrimination abroad.


The letter, led by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), reads.

We encourage you to continue efforts to ensure the human rights of all persons regardless of sex, gender identity, or sexual identity. We write to encourage you to take additional steps to ensure U.S. funds are not used to subsidize LGBT discrimination at home or abroad.”

They applauded Obama for his Executive Order last year, which protected LGBT government workers against discrimination, but asked him to do more.

The Executive Order does not apply to contractors hiring and doing business abroad. It does not apply to grantees. Moreover, the Executive Order does not prohibit those receiving U.S. funds from engaging in marketplace discrimination (e.g., refusal of goods and services) against LGBT customers or suppliers.”

The letter notes that LGBT people are often in “dire need” of the services that foreign aid provides.

We encourage you to make this an urgent, Administration-wide priority and coordinate across agencies to ensure a broad non-discrimination policy is implemented before the end of your Administration’s tenure. In doing so, this would ensure LGBT people have access to the full range of services offered by U.S.-funded programs and would guarantee our foreign aid dollars are aligned with the values of promoting the human rights of marginalized people globally.

To promote our fundamental values of equality, equity, and diversity, we cannot go half way at home and we certainly cannot halt the extension of these values at our border. Our nation has what I see as a major role in defending the innate rights of all human beings across the globe—including the LGBT community—to live, love, and prosper.

The Washington Blade reports that no Republican penned their names to the missive, nor did Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who’s gay, and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who’s bisexual, didn’t sign the letter.

Finally, Hillary Clinton Launches Presidential Campaign

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has formally entered the 2016 race for the White House in a bid to become the first woman US president.

Mrs Clinton ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 but lost to Barack Obama.

The overwhelming Democratic favourite, she had been expected to declare her candidacy for months.

In a video, Mrs Clinton declared:

I am running for president. Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favour of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion”

She launched her campaign website on Sunday, telling Americans she wanted to be their “champion”.


Her video features a variety of Americans talking about their preparations for the future including a gay couple who are to marry.

She is the first senior Democrat to announce her run, though a number of Republicans – including Jeb Bush and Rand Paul – have already done so.

Despite only announcing her campaign yesterday, Ms Clinton has been rumoured to be making a second run at the Presidency for years.

She was endorsed last month by pro-LGBT group Equality California – more than a year before the polls open in November 2016.

Clinton has proved popular with the LGBT community – being named ‘Ally of the Year’ by users of hook-up app Grindr in 2014.

The former First Lady announced her support for equal marriage back in 2013 – and has consistently shown her support for LGBT issues.

In 2011, Clinton gave a groundbreaking speech to a United Nations summit in Geneva on LGBT rights.

In her Geneva speech, Clinton said:

Some seem to believe it is a western phenomenon and therefore people outside the west have grounds to reject it. Well, in reality gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world. They are all ages, all races, all faiths, they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes. Whether we know it, whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends and our neighbours. Being gay is not a western invention, it is a human reality.”


Top 10 Stupidest Anti Gay Laws in the USA

Even though same-sex marriage is now legal, the majority of US still has other discrimination laws against LGBT.

Most states do not have nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people in the workplace, public accommodations, or housing, which means you can be sacked for being gay, or refused to rent a home. Many schools across the country still lack enumerated policies that protect LGBT students from bullying and discrimination. Some states go so far as to have “no promo homo” laws in place, which forbid teachers in public schools from even mentioning homosexuality, at least in a positive light.

There is still along way to go LGBT civil rights in the USA.

Watch: 10 Stupidest Anti Gay Laws

Image source – Spc. Sabryna Schlagetter, left, kisses her wife, Cheyenne Schlagetter, after returning home to Fort Carson with about 135 members of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Friday, November 14, 2014. Sabryna and Cheyenne married on Valentines Day in New Mexico nine-months ago, before Sabryna deployed to Afghanistan. Photo by Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette. Click to enlarge.

8 States Where Same-Sex Marriage Has Passed, Are Now Among Those Urging the U.S. Supreme Court to Uphold Same-Sex Marriage Bans

Eight states where same-sex couples can marry are among 15 states urging the Supreme Court to uphold gay marriage bans and leave the matter to voters and lawmakers.

The 15 states are telling the justices in a brief filed Thursday that the court would do “incalculable damage to our civic life” if it decides that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry everywhere in the United States.

The states say they should be free to decide the issue for themselves.

Those seeking a nationwide decree in favour of same-sex marriage “urge the court to declare that the Constitution compels all 50 states to adopt this new form of marriage that did not exist in a single state 12 years ago. The court should decline that invitation,” the states wrote.

Plaintiffs from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee are asking the court to declare that the Constitution forbids states from denying same-sex couples the right to marry. The justices are scheduled to hear arguments on April 28.

Same-sex couples can marry in 37 states as a result of court decree, voter approval or legislative action.

The eight states on Thursday’s legal filing where gay and lesbian couples can marry after courts struck down bans on gay marriage are: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah and West Virginia.

Seven other states where same-sex marriage remains illegal also joined the brief. They are: Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas.

Sad Fact – Most American States Still Discriminate Against LGBT People

In 37 states plus Washington, D.C. – same-sex couples have the freedom to marry once and for all.

However, the majority of US states do not have nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people in the workplace, public accommodations, or housing. Which means you can be sacked for being gay, refused to rent a home, and discriminated against because of your sexuality.


Many schools across the country still lack enumerated policies that protect LGBT students from bullying and discrimination.

Some states go so far as to have “no promo homo” laws in place, which forbid teachers in public schools from even mentioning homosexuality, at least in a positive light.


71% in the US live in a state where marriage equality exists, but if you watch the video below, it’s clear that LGBT civil rights battles are far from over.

Hillary Clinton Tweets Against Indiana’s New Anti-Gay Law: “We Shouldn’t Discriminate Against People Because of Who They Love”

Likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, last night weighed in on Indiana’s RFRA law, which GOP Governor Mike Pence yesterday morning signed into law.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows organisations, including businesses and churches, to refuse service to anyone on religious grounds. Nineteen other states have similar laws, and many others have proposals making their way through the legislature.

Pence said in a statement Thursday…

“Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith. The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.”

The bill received national attention, but Pence signed it with little fanfare in a ceremony closed to the public and the press.


Texas Attorney General Argues Lesbian Couple’s Marriage Is Void

The Attorney General of the US state of Texas has attempted to void the marriage of a lesbian couple, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, who were married in Austin last week.

“The rogue actions of Travis County judges do not withstand the scrutiny of law. The same-sex marriage license issued is not valid because it conflicts with the Texas Constitution and state law — the license is therefore void ab initio…

Activist judges don’t change Texas law and we will continue to aggressively defend the laws of our state.”

Attorney General Ken Paxton

Attorney General Ken Paxton moved quickly after the couple married, appealing the Texas Supreme Court, which quickly blocked other couples from marrying in the state by issuing a stay. Even new Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also reaffirmed his support for Texas’ constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that voters overwhelmingly approved in 2005.


The women were granted a one-time license after the women argued that being legally married would ensure inheritance and allow the couple to make medical decisions for each other should one of them become critically ill.

Goodfriend, has ovarian cancer, and the state district judge raised the “severity and uncertainty” of her condition in granting the women permission to marry.

The couple’s attorney, Chuck Herring, is now arguing that the marriage was not void, saying:

“The case is over. The marriage is over and done. Our clients are married and very happy.”

The state of Texas’ same-sex marriage ban was found unconstitutional last year, but the judge issuing the ruling stayed it, in order to facilitate a state appeal.

Courts in Indiana made a similar exception for a lesbian couple in April because one of the women was dying of cancer and wanted her partner’s name on her death certificate. A federal appeals court overturned Indiana’s ban in September.

Shortly after news of the marriage spread online, Travis County officials said two other same-sex couples inquired about marriage licenses. By then, Paxton’s office was already preparing its emergency filing with the state Supreme Court.

Texas Supreme Court Halts All Same-Sex Marriages After One Couple Marries

Two days ago a county judge struck down a same-sex marriage ban in Texas. This morning, based on that ruling, another state judge ordered a Texas county clerk to issue a marriage license to one same-sex couple, which she did.

Suzanne Bryant and Sarah Goodfriend, together over thirty years, were married shortly afterwards.

Just hours later, the Texas State Supreme Court intervened and ruled that no other same-sex couple may marry.

Newly-elected Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, filed for an emergency stay with the Supreme Court immediately after the couple married.

Paxton wrote

“A stay is necessary to make clear to all county clerks that Texas marriage law remains enforceable until there has been final appellate resolution.”

The couple, who have adopted two children together, are hopeful their marriage will not be annulled by the Court.

“If they want to come in and try to nullify this, they will. But we have a valid marriage license, and I don’t think they can.”

First Openly Bisexual US Governor Takes Charge In Oregon

In the wake of former Oregonian governor John Kitzhaber resigning from office, Kate Brown will become the first openly bisexual governor.

Kate Brown, is currently Oregon’s secretary of state. She is set to replace Democratic governor John Kitzhaber, and become the U.S.’s first openly bisexual governor.

Governor Kitzhaber is stepping down from office in the midst of an ethics scandal about his fiancee working as a consultant for the state.

Brown has been the Secretary of State for Oregon since 2008. She lives in Portland with her husband and two step-children. Before becoming Secretary of State, she worked for years in the state legislature and was known for supporting LGBT issues and finance reform.

She wrote an essay about her bisexual identity for the anthology, Out and Elected in the USA, which documented LGBT politicians from 1974-2004. In her essay she describes her “very public coming out as a bisexual,” when The Oregonian published reports about her sexuality. She said that moment meant, “I had to face the inevitable and let those around me know.”

In a blog post, Alexandra Bolles, a leader in GLAAD, an advocacy group for LGBT issues in the media, wrote,

“As an openly bisexual woman and advocate for LGBT equality, Brown is bringing visibility to the bi community like never before … As an established politician, she (like first openly LGBT Senator Tammy Baldwin) is modeling the heights that LGBT woman can reach in shaping the nation’s culture.”

Alexandra Bolles

GLAAD: Despite Gay Marriage Gains, LGBT Acceptance Still Remains The Biggest Challenge

Despite a surge in gay marriage wins across America, acceptance of the LGBT community still needs much more work to ensure the safety and acceptance of LGBT Americans in their communities, workplaces, and families.

According to a new Accelerating Acceptance survey released by GLAAD, one-third of respondents were uncomfortable attending a same-sex wedding (34 percent), seeing a gay couple hold hands (36 percent) or learning their doctor is LGBT (31 percent). Harris Poll conducted the online survey in 2014 of 4,000 Americans who indicted they were heterosexual.

“Closing the gap to full acceptance of LGBT people will not come from legislation or judicial decisions alone, but from a deeper understanding and empathy from Americans themselves. Accelerating acceptance will require the help of not just LGBT people, but also their allies – everyday Americans who feel strongly and take an active role to make sure that their LGBT friends and family are fully accepted members of society.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO and President of GLAAD

Marriage and Same-Sex Relationships

While a majority of the public supports equal marriage protections, there remain large numbers of straight, non-transgender adults that still have a significant degree of discomfort surrounding actual weddings for same-sex couples.  One-third (34%) say they would be uncomfortable attending the wedding of a same-sex couple, with 22% saying they would feel very uncomfortable. A substantially larger group (43%) responds they would be uncomfortable bringing a child to the wedding of a same-sex couple.

Beyond weddings for same-sex couples, the survey reveals that many are still uncomfortable simply seeing and interacting with same-sex couples.  A third of non-LGBT Americans (36%) say that just seeing a same-sex couple holding hands makes them uncomfortable.

The survey also evidenced resistance to LGBT parents by other parents in their community.  Many straight, non-transgender parents say they would be uncomfortable with their child playing at a home with an LGBT parent – 40% for a transgender parent, 29% for a gay dad and 28% for a lesbian mom.

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A fifth to nearly a third of non-LGBT Americans are uncomfortable with common situations involving LGBT people.  These range from simple things like having an LGBT person move in next door to more personal situations such as learning that a family member is LGBT.

Acceptance of the transgender community faces more resistance than does acceptance of the rest of the LGBT community.  Most notably, a majority of non-LGBT Americans (59%) say they would be uncomfortable if they learned their child was dating a transgender person.  More than a quarter (31%) say this would make them “very uncomfortable.”

Being on a sports team with a transgender person still makes large numbers of non-LGBT Americans uncomfortable.  Roughly equal numbers report discomfort with being on the same team as a transgender woman (32%) and a transgender man (31%).  These numbers are higher than the reports of discomfort with being on a sports team with a gay man (26%) or lesbian (20%).

Further demonstrating the importance of cultivating more allies, those who know LGBT people display substantially lower levels of discomfort –30% are uncomfortable seeing a same-sex couple hold hands among those who have LGBT family members, while that number drops to 25% among those with an LGBT coworker and 17% among those with a close LGBT friend.  On the flip side, almost half (47%) of those who don’t know any LGBT people say seeing a same-sex couple holding hands makes them uncomfortable.  Clearly, a connection exists between familiarity and acceptance.

Take a Look at the Latest Marriage Equality Map of the United States

According to several polls released in 2013, a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage. Responses to Gallup’s survey on the matter suggested that most Americans would actually support a nationwide ruling in favour of same-sex marriage.

However, although the United States repealed DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act), a law that restricted benefits for married same-sex couples across the country, it’s unlikely that a law in favour of same-sex marriage would ever be instated. Instead, same-sex marriage is being decided on a state by state basis.

Some states have been forced to bring same-sex marriage into law due to court rulings that laws against same-sex marriages are unconstitutional, while rulings in other states have been left to public vote, meaning that the rights of same-sex citizens are often dictated by local bias, intolerance and political leanings. Though, a majority of states in the country do now allow same-sex marriages to take place and now we have an updated map showing marriage equality across the U.S.

The full list of states that allow for same-sex marriage are as follows: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

And, it’s not a state but the District of Columbia (Washington D.C) also allows for same-sex marriage. Overall it means that over 70% of American citizens reside in places where same-sex marriage can take place.

Not that there aren’t still ways to go though, as that map shows. In Missouri, the ban on same-sex marriages was repealed but Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster appealed. He didn’t request a stay and so while St. Louis, St. Louis County, and Jackson County are providing same-sex marriage licenses, other counties are awaiting the outcome of the appeal.

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In Texas meanwhile, it looks incredibly likely that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will repeal the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. In retaliation, a bill has been introduced by Rep. Cecil Bell (R) that sees that government employees in the state “may not recognize, grant, or enforce a same-sex marriage license” and they risk losing their salary, pension and benefits if they do so.

So, other than a few politicians souring things, it looks very likely that we’ll be posting about same-sex marriage coming to other states in the U.S very soon indeed.

Hatred Has Consequences: Gambia Stripped of Special Trade Status Over Anti-Gay Law

Gambia will no longer be allowed to benefit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act due to its anti-gay laws, as the US boots them from Trade Program.

The country had previously been afforded special benefits due to its status, under the African Growth and Opportunity Act of 2000, which allowed it to export goods worth $37 million each year to the US without paying duty.

However, theWhite House announced that Gambia would be removed from the scheme, after President Yahya Jammeh signed a law punishing homosexuality with life imprisonment.

“The US Trade Representative (USTR) has been monitoring the human rights situation in The Gambia for the past few years, with deepening concerns about the lack of progress with respect to human rights, rule of law, political pluralism, and the right to due process. 

In addition, in October, Gambian President Jammeh signed into law legislation that further restricts the rights of LGBT individuals, including life imprisonment for so-called ‘aggravated homosexuality’. Reports have surfaced of arrests, detention, and torture of individuals because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Ned Price, White House Spokesperson

In response to the announcement, Human Rights Campaign spokesperson said…

“This decision is an important first step in sending a clear signal to President Yayha Jammeh and his associates about their human rights record, and they cannot be allowed to trample on the rights of LGBT Gambians.

The United States government should not move forward with business as usual with The Gambia when LGBT people are harassed, imprisoned, tortured, or even killed because of who they are. More can and should be done to hold Jammeh and his associates directly accountable for violating the basic human rights of LGBT Gambians and attacking them for pure political gain.”

Jean Freedberg

ENDA Fails to Pass; Equality Act Hopes to Increase LGBT Protections in the US

Currently, 35 states in the United States of America allow for same-sex marriage. This means that a majority of the states in the country allow people to enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples.

However, this may not offer many peace of mind to the LGBT folk still being discriminated against across the country. Specifically, in 29 states (16 of which allow same-sex marriage) it is still legal for someone to be fired for being gay or because of their gender identity.

ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) hoped to fix this but after years of trying to push the bill into law, it has finally been killed. Some US politicians hope to replace it with the better ‘Equality Act’ instead.

ENDA was finally gutted and thrown out after a vote in the House Rules Committee that went against it 7-3. Such a vote, whilst unfortunate, is unsurprising as the bill had plenty of opponents who criticised it when it wanted to prevent discrimination against LGB people in the workplace and again when it was amended to include trans* folk too.

Not all hope is lost though as the aforementioned Equality Act is looking to be a bigger, better and more comprehensive version of ENDA. It will do this by including protections across the country not just in the workplace but in “public accommodations, housing, jury service, and financial transactions for LGBT Americans” too.

Sen.Jeff Merkley (the main driver of ENDA in the Senate) released the following statement to TIME:

“It can’t be right that people are thrown out of their rental housing because of their LGBT status or can be denied entry to a movie theater or to a restaurant. That simply is wrong and we need to take on this broader agenda.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Mark Takano did unfortunately point out that the Equality Act is unlikely to pass soon either as Congress is still controlled by the conservative (and generally less progressive) Republican Party. However, Takano also stressed how important it is to fight anti-LGBT discrimination so I wouldn’t expect he or his pro-LGBT colleagues to give up on this soon.

Know Your Employment Rights: Julia’s Story

In light of the story we ran on Monday, we felt it was important to provide people with some further information on employment rights within the United Staes.

Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV; through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

For more than three decades, workplace equality has been a top priority for Lambda Legal.

“Workplace concerns remain the number one topic for our Legal Help Desk calls. While a growing number of employers and state and local governments have enacted policies and laws to address discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and HIV status, we have no federal statute banning discrimination, and almost half of all LGBT workers go to work every day without explicit state-level sexual orientation and gender identity anti-discrimination laws.”

Please take a closer look at their website, the information their is so useful – Know Your Rights


Did You Know You Can Still Be Fired for BeingGay in 29 States in the USA?


“Love is love”. It’s a common tagline used when it comes to the LGBTQ rights movement that aims to suggest that no matter who you are or who you love, that is ok and you should not be held back because of it. Excusing the fact that “love is love” is not trans* inclusive (trans* men and women can be heterosexual after all), it also fails to acknowledge other, deep-rooted problems that LGBTQ people face today.

Love is love is generally used as an argument for marriage equality, which, whilst being an important part of the LGBTQ movement, is not the be all and end all of it. Many people would argue that issues such as homeless LGBTQ youth or the health, safety and general wellbeing of LGBTQ people is a much more pressing concern.

But the people arguing that marriage equality should play second fiddle to other problems that LGBTQ people face will have a massive struggle on their hands moving forward. Looking at the United States’ politics; while some states bring marriage equality bills into law, a good many do not have any protections for LGBTQ employees in the workplace.

And, by a good many I mean ‘most of them’. There are 50 states in the United States of America and a whopping 29 of them have lacking anti-discrimination laws that allow LGBTQ to be fired solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Including Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and all the other usual suspects, even New York is listed as a state that fails in protecting its workers as it doesn’t protect against gender identity discrimination. And, somewhat ironically, Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and Indiana are all places that have made marriage equality legal this year but being gay in these states can get you fired.

As if this didn’t add fuel to the argument that marriage equality should not be billed as the most important part of the LGBTQ rights movement, a recent poll by The Huffington Post and YouGov suggested that a massive 69% of Americans think that firing someone for being gay is illegal, despite that clearly not being the case.

So who is doing something about it? It has actually been a talking point for over a decade. Since 1994, Congress has been pushing a bill called ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) that aims to make discrimination in the workplace illegal across the country, but although it has been put on the table many times, it has never succeeded. This is due in part to opposition to LGBTQ rights and because the bill has been amended to add in protections based on gender identity and not just for sexual orientation.

There continues to be hope for the bill but as of yesterday, ENDA seems even more unlikely to get through than before. Many Democratic politicians have spoken in favour of ENDA while many Republicans have spoken against it. Republicans now control the House and the Senate making ENDA’s passing before the next presidential election (in 2016) some sort of miracle.

Nonetheless we’ll cross our fingers and keep you posted.


Judge Overturns Missouri’s Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

A state judge overturned Missouri’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday in a ruling that immediately set off a rush among some same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison said in a written ruling that Missouri’s measure recognizing marriage only between a man and woman violates the due process and equal protection rights of the U.S. Constitution. The decision mirrored ones handed down recently in several other states.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster immediately appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court, saying the constitutional challenge “must be presented to and resolved” at that level. But he said that his office wouldn’t seek a stay of the order, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant stays after same-sex marriage decisions in Idaho and Alaska.

Koster previously chose not to appeal a ruling requiring Missouri to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

After hearing about Wednesday’s ruling, Kelley Harris, 35, and Kelly Barnard, 36, drove to St. Louis City Hall to apply for a marriage license. They called a photographer to record the event and planned to invite friends to attend an impromptu ceremony at a local park. The couple had held an unofficial wedding ceremony in 2003.

“We’ve already been living as a married couple – we have children, we have family – so it would be nice to have the legal backing,”

Kelley Harris

By 5 p.m., the city had issued marriage licenses to four lesbian couples, including Harris and Barnard. April Breeden and Crystal Peairs, both 38, held a brief ceremony on the marble steps of the City Hall rotunda after obtaining their license.

“Time is of the essence,” Peairs said. “We wanted to make sure we got it taken care of today.”

The city issued four marriage licenses to same-sex couples in June and then quit doing so, intentionally setting up a legal challenge to the state’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Assistant Attorney General Jeremiah Morgan argued during a September court hearing that 71 percent of Missourians had voted for the referendum and said that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly allowed states to define marriage.

St. Louis City Counselor Winston Calvert countered in court that the existing law treats same-sex couples as “second-class citizens.” He said an increasing number of states are allowing gay couples to wed, including most of the states surrounding Missouri.

“Obviously this is a long time coming for so many gay and lesbian couples in the state of Missouri and the city of St. Louis in particular.”

Winston Calvert

Terry Garrett-Yampolsky, an archivist in the St. Louis recorder of deeds office, was part of the initial group of same-sex couples to receive licenses a little more than three months ago. He watched the couples enter the city office Wednesday with a mixture of pride and exhilaration.

The decision may lead to same-sex marriage licenses being issued in other Missouri communities. Cheryl Dawson, the recorder of deeds for Greene County in southwest Missouri, said she received one phone inquiry about same-sex marriage licenses after the ruling. She said she told the caller that a state association hadn’t yet told her how to handle such requests.

An official with the Recorders’ Association of Missouri didn’t immediately return a phone call late Wednesday afternoon.

A federal court case in Kansas City also challenges Missouri’s gay marriage ban. Jackson County officials cited that case in a written statement late Wednesday noting that Burlison’s ruling “is limited to St. Louis city.”

The Missouri lawsuits mirror dozens of others across the country. The suits are based on the same arguments that led the U.S. Supreme Court last year to overturn part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that denied a range of tax, health and veterans benefits to legally married gay couples.

Gay marriage is legal in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Rachel Maddow Explains the Same-Sex #MarriageMomentum State to State

In this video Rachel Maddow Explains the Same-Sex #MarriageMomentum State to State  over the 36 hours. On Monday, same-sex couples could marry in 19 states across America, and by Tuesday evening that number jumped to 35.

Voting rights taking a beating ahead of midterm elections

Maddow explains the Supreme Court announcement in which it declined to hear any of the seven same-sex marriage cases presented, and the impact that had.

The MSNBC anchor goes on to talk about how America is moving forward on marriage rights, but backward on voting rights an important topic you won’t want to miss.

US Supreme Court Action Could Lead to #MarriageEquality in 11 More States

In a surprise development, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not accept for review any of the seven appeals from five states. The action means that the stays placed on lower court decisions in all five states – decisions that struck down bans on marriage for same-sex couples — are immediately lifted, making way for the lower courts to issue orders requiring the states to stop enforcing their bans.

The action also means that six other states in the same federal circuits as the five states which had appeals before the high court will have to abide by the federal appeals court rulings in those circuits. All three circuits –the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth—struck down the bans on marriage for same-sex couples.

That means that very soon, same-sex couples will be able to marry in 30 states plus the District of Columbia.

“We are thrilled the court is letting the Tenth Circuit victory stand. This is a huge step forward for Utah and the entire country. We are hopeful that the other cases pending across the country will also vindicate the freedom to marry, so that all couples, no matter where they travel or live, will be treated as equal citizens and have the same basic security and protections for their families that other Americans enjoy.”

Shannon Minter, Legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights

The announcement does not legally affect the remaining 20 states, but it could give courts in those other states and circuits some pause before upholding similar bans in those states and circuits. Some experts say they expect the Supreme Court will almost certainly take up an appeal should a federal appeals court rule such bans to be constitutional.

Prominent constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe of Harvard University, who argued against bans on sodomy in the 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick case, said he thought there was only a 50-50 chance the court would have granted one of the existing appeals.

“As soon as a solid split emerges, I fully expect the Court to grant cert. I’d watch the Sixth Circuit if I were you.”

Laurence Tribe, Harvard University

A three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit heard oral arguments August 6 in six marriage equality lawsuits from four states: Kentucky,Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. The panel has yet to issue its opinion, but questions from two of the three judges during the argument gave repeated voice to various justifications for the bans.

Missouri Stepping Closer to Lift on Same-Sex Marriage Ban

A judge struck down part of Missouri’s gay marriage ban for the first time by ordering the state to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states, saying state laws banning the unions single out gay couples “for no logical reason.”

The order means such couples will be eligible to sign up for a wide range of tax, health insurance, veterans and other benefits now afforded to opposite-sex married couples. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, who has defended the state’s ban on gay marriage, said his office was reviewing the ruling.

The decision comes in a lawsuit filed by 10 same-sex couples who legally married outside the state, including Arlene Zarembka and Zuleyma Tang-Martinez. The St. Louis couple, who married in Canada, said Friday’s ruling could boost their household income, and they plan to apply Monday for Zarembka to receive Social Security benefits as Tang-Martinez’s spouse.

“To me, it’s a real validation by the judge of our relationship and our commitment to each other.”


Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs sided with the couples, who argue that their rights to equal protection and due process are being violated by Missouri’s ban on gay marriage. Youngs said the couples deserve the same recognition as opposite-sex couples who married in other states.

Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs wrote…

“The undisputed facts before the Court show that, to the extent these laws prohibit plaintiffs’ legally contracted marriages from other states being recognized here, they are wholly irrational, do not rest upon any reasonable basis, and are purely arbitrary. All they do is treat one segment of the population – gay men and lesbians – differently than their same-sex counterparts, for no logical reason.”

The lawsuit before Youngs only challenges Missouri’s refusal to recognize marriages legally performed outside the state, not laws that bar same-sex couples from getting married in Missouri.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is helping the couples, noted the ruling was a first in the state.

“We’re gratified that the court recognized that married same-sex couples and their families are no different than other couples, and that the Constitution requires them to be treated equally. This is not the first court to reach this conclusion, but it is the first court to do so in Missouri, so it’s a tremendous day for our state.”

Tony Rothert

Rothert also said the ruling means that thousands of Missouri couples can now qualify for spousal government benefits and, on a smaller level, change their last names to match their spouse’s on their Missouri driver’s license.

The case is among at least three challenging Missouri’s ban: There is a federal challenge in Kansas City, and a St. Louis case focuses on city officials who issued marriage licenses to four same-sex couples to trigger a legal test of the ban.

The lawsuits are based on the same arguments that led the U.S. Supreme Court last year to overturn part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that denied a tax, health and other benefits to legally married gay couples.

In Missouri, Youngs said he expects the state Supreme Court to “provide the last word on all of the important legal issues presented by this case.”

Same-sex marriage is now legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The ACLU has cases pending against 13 other states with such bans, including five cases currently before federal appeals courts.

Freedom to Marry Launches National TV Ad – #ItsTime

Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide in the United States.

“We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.”

Freedom to Marry

Riding a remarkable wave of 40 rulings across the country affirming marriage for gay couples, Freedom to Marry released “It’s Time,” a national TV ad highlighting the tangible harms to same-sex couples still discriminated against in many states. The Supreme Court officially begins its new term Monday, with marriage cases from Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin under consideration.

“The ad underscores the human costs of prolonging marriage discrimination,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. “Every day of denial is a day of real and needless injury, indignity, and injustice for too many families across the country — and time matters. America is ready for the freedom to marry, 40 lower court rulings have affirmed the freedom to marry, even opponents are saying it’s time to bring the country to national resolution — and it is, indeed, time.”

The thirty-second ad aired on Sunday morning’s network news shows in the Washington, D.C. market and on cable news this week.


North Carolina’s Support for Same-Sex Marriage Increases, Issue Could Go to Vote

It’s been well documented on this site that support for same-sex marriage in the United States is on the up. Is it an unfortunate thing that there were people who didn’t support same-sex couples’ basic human rights in the first place? Absolutely. Is it wonderful that people have finally corrected their mistakes and done a tolerant 180?

Again, it is and it’s having a huge impact on the state of the USA. Also noted, the United States Supreme Court is preparing to hear a number of same-sex marriage lawsuits that will force the issue into legality whether voters like it or not but, according to stats out of North Carolina, the state’s residents don’t want the issue to go to court but with increased popularity for same-sex marriage they are prepared to take it to a vote.

Not that the sources are 100% reliable though. One survey institution, Elon University noted that 45% of voters are in favour of marriage equality in the state while 43% are against. However, their stats have seen significant, somewhat questionable movement as in March, 2014 they put support between 40 and 51 percent. That’s a pretty quick time during which to narrow the statistics down (they even said those for same-sex marriage were at 41-46% as recently as June of this year) leading to some questionable reliability, but at least the results are consistently above the 40% mark.

Meanwhile, research group American Insights further clued us in on North Carolina citizens’ feelings on marriage equality, stating that “North Carolina registered voters … believe that they, not courts, should decide the issue” and just 26% would like the issue pushed through to the courts. It’s important to note that AI are led by GOP (the conservative wing of US politics) and so there’s a clear anti same-sex marriage bias there – they even refer to marriage equality as “redefining marriage” and call opposite sex couples “traditional marriages” which is telling. But nonetheless, it is again clear that those in North Carolina want some sort of ruling.

This all comes after the state’s Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that he wouldn’t uphold the same-sex marriage ban that was overwhelmingly voted into law (61% against same-sex marriage and 38% for) back in 2012. The American Civil Liberties Union even sued the state calling the ban ‘unconstitutional’. Big movements, big words and big decisions are all on hand here, so we’ll keep you updated on what’s going on.

Thirty Two US States Ask Supreme Court to Settle The Gay Marriage Issue Once and For All

Thirty-two states that either allow gay marriage or have banned it asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to settle the issue once and for all.

Fifteen states that allow gay marriage, led by Massachusetts, filed a brief asking the justices to take up three cases from Virginia, Utah and Oklahoma and overturn bans. And 17 other states, led by Colorado, that have banned the practice asked the court to hear cases from Utah and Oklahoma to clear up a “morass” of lawsuits, but didn’t urge the court to rule one way or another.

The filing came as a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana are unconstitutional. The unanimous decision Thursday criticized the justifications both states gave, several times singling out the argument that marriage between a man and a woman is tradition. There are, the court noted, good and bad traditions.

The experience of Massachusetts – the first state to legalize gay marriage – shows that allowing same-sex couples to wed has only benefited families and strengthened the institution of marriage, said Attorney General Martha Coakley.

“Laws that bar same-sex couples from marrying are discriminatory and unconstitutiona. The time has come for this critical issue to be resolved.”

Martha Coakley, Attorney General

Massachusetts was joined by California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.

Colorado’s brief argued that the definition of marriage faces legal challenges only the Supreme Court can resolve, and that without a Supreme Court decision, states defending bans could be liable for huge legal bills from future lawsuits if they are overturned. It was written by Daniel D. Domenico, the state’s solicitor general, and Michael Lee Francisco, assistant solicitor general.

Colorado was joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

These are the cases addressed in the briefs:

  • In Virginia, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in July that the state’s voter-approved ban is unconstitutional. The state has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which hasn’t said whether it will accept the case. But the high court granted a request on Aug. 20 from a county clerk to delay implementation of the ruling, which would have allowed same-sex couples to marry beginning the next day.
  • In Oklahoma, an appeals court tossed the state’s ban in July but put its ruling on hold pending an appeal, meaning same-sex couples can’t marry in Oklahoma for now. Attorneys representing the Tulsa County court clerk – who refused to issue a marriage license for a lesbian couple there – asked the Supreme Court this month to hear the case.
  • In Utah, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled this summer that Utah must allow gay couples to marry, though it put the ruling on hold pending an appeal. The state has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the state’s ban.

Judges Blast Indiana and Wisconsin Marriage Bans

Federal appeals judges bristled on Tuesday at arguments defending gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin, with one Republican appointee comparing them to now-defunct laws that once outlawed weddings between blacks and whites.

As the legal skirmish in the United States over same-sex marriage shifted to the three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, more than 200 people lined up hours before to ensure they got a seat at the much-anticipated hearing.

While judges often play devil’s advocate during oral arguments, the panel’s often-blistering questions for the defenders of the same-sex marriage bans could be a signal the laws may be in trouble – at least at this step in the legal process.

Richard Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, hit the backers of the ban the hardest. He balked when Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson repeatedly pointed to “tradition” as the underlying justification for barring gay marriage.

“It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry – a tradition that got swept away,” the 75-year-old judge said. Prohibition of same sex marriage, Posner said, derives from “a tradition of hate … and savage discrimination” of homosexuals.

Attorneys general in both states asked the appellate court to permanently restore the bans, which were ruled unconstitutional in June. Its ruling could affect hundreds of couples who married after lower courts tossed the bans and before those rulings were stayed pending the Chicago appeal.

Gay marriage is legal in 19 states as well as the District of Columbia, and advocates have won more than 20 court victories around the country since the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages last year.

The Supreme Court has yet to take up a case, but Utah and Oklahoma’s cases were appealed to the high court and Virginia’s attorney general also has asked the justices to weigh in. Appeals court rulings are pending for Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, while appellate court hearings are scheduled next month for Hawaii, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and is expected soon in Texas.

Posner, who has a reputation for making lawyers before him squirm, cut off Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher, just moments into his presentation and frequently chided him to answer his questions.

At one point, Posner ran through a list of psychological strains the children of unmarried same-sex couples suffered, including having to struggle to grasp why their schoolmates’ parents were married and theirs weren’t.

“What horrible stuff,” Posner said. What benefit to society in barring gay marriage, he asked, outweighs that kind of harm to children?

“All this is a reflection of biology,” Fisher answered. “Men and women make babies, same-sex couples do not… we have to have a mechanism to regulate that, and marriage is that mechanism.”

Samuelson echoed that, telling the hearing that regulating marriage – including by encouraging men and women to marry – was part of a concerted Wisconsin policy to reduce numbers of children born out of wedlock.

“I assume you know how that has been working out in practice?” Judge David Hamilton responded, citing figures that births to single women from 1990 to 2009 rose 53 percent in Wisconsin and 68 percent in Indiana.

While the judges seemed to push defenders of the bans the hardest, they also pressed the side arguing for gay marriage to say just where they themselves would draw the line about who could and couldn’t marry.

Would they argue in favor of polygamy on similar grounds, by pointing to the emotional toll on children in families with multiple mothers or fathers, asked Judge David Hamilton, a President Barack Obama appointee.

“If you have two people, it’s going to look like a marriage,” said Kenneth Falk of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. “If you have three or four, it doesn’t. … There’s no slippery slope.”

Among those following the arguments in court was plaintiff Ruth Morrison, a retired Indianapolis Fire Department battalion chief. She said that because Indiana won’t recognize the woman she married in another state as her wife, she wouldn’t be able to pass on pension and other benefits if she dies.

“Now Indiana tells us our promises are only good if our spouses are of the opposite sex,” Morrison, wearing a fire department uniform, said during a rally ahead of the hearing Monday night.

A voter-approved constitutional amendment bans gay marriage in Wisconsin. State law prohibits it in Indiana. Neither state recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. The lawsuits that led to Tuesday’s hearing in Chicago contend that the bans violate the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.

Despite the seriousness of the hearing, there was some levity.

At one point, a visibly uncomfortable Samuelson struggled to offer a specific reason for how gay marriage bans benefit society. He then noted a yellow courtroom light was on signaling his allotted time was nearly up.

“It won’t save you,” Judge Ann Claire Williams, a Bill Clinton appointee, told him, prompting laughter in court.

Samuleson smiled, and said: “It was worth a try.”

Virginia’s Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down by Appeals Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled Monday that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The 2-1 ruling upheld a previous decision issued earlier this year by a Virginia district court, which struck down the state’s ban on gay marriages.

“Virginia has failed to advance a compelling state interest justifying its definition of marriage as between only a man and a woman. Virginia’s laws declining to recognize same-sex marriage infringe the fundamental right to marriage and are therefore unconstitutional.”

Reads the ruling

The circuit court also has jurisdiction over three other states with similar bans: North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia. As noted in the 4th Circuit’s ruling, the Southern District of West Virginia stayed a challenge to the state’s ban pending Monday’s ruling.

In the ruling, Judge Henry Floyd argued that personal opposition to same-sex unions is not a legitimate legal basis for banning gay marriage.

“We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable.However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws. … The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society.”

Judge Henry Floyd

As the Associated Press notes, the Virginia ruling is one of several gay marriage cases that may be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Kentucky Same-Sex Marriage Ban Struck Down By Federal Judge

The judicial system in the United States of America is a many layered, incredibly tricky thing. While Barack Obama told the Supreme Court (the highest court in the country that takes judicial precedence over every other court in America) not to uphold same-sex marriage bans, there has still been the case of dismantling each and every one of the existing anti-same-sex marriage laws that can be found across the country’s 50 states. Since knocking down the Defense of Marriage Act (the law that banned federal recognition of same-sex marriage) in n, 2013, the Supreme Court’s decision has helped district courts in Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and more to rule that their anti-same-sex marriage laws are in violation of the US constitution. The latest state to follow such a ruling is Kentucky, helping pave the way for an unprecedented wave of progressive law in the south.

The ruling in Kentucky follows U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn’s announcement in February of this year that Kentucky’s refusal to recognise the validity of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, although at the time Heyburn did not say anything pertaining to the state’s own ban on same-sex marriages. That has changed today though as the case of Love v. Beshear was brought to attention, with two same-sex couples filing a complaints against the fact that they couldn’t get married in the state. In Heyburn’s 19-page ruling for the case, he argued that same-sex marriage doesn’t damage the idea of heterosexual marriage in any way, shape or form, nor does it harm heterosexual people in general, leading him to say the following,

“Assuring equal protection for same-sex couples does not diminish the freedom of others to any degree. Thus, same-sex couples’ right to marry seems to be a uniquely ‘free’ constitutional right. Hopefully, even those opposed to or uncertain about same-sex marriage will see it that way in the future.”

Heyburn’s ruling is monumental, not least because Kentucky is a notoriously conservative state and so while it doesn’t necessarily mean that same-sex couples in the state can go ahead and started drafting up pre-nups and Kentucky’s Democratic governor, Steve Beshear has already announced plans to appeal the ruling Heyburn made in February, it’s still the first step on a hopefully long and illustrious ladder of progressive change.

Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Non-Discrimination Law Should Be Considered to Protect LGBT Citizens, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Says

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer recently made headlines after the Republican politician chose to veto a controversial senate bill called SB 1062 which would have given businesses in the state the legal right to refuse to provide service to LGBT people if it was against their religious beliefs. Her veto of the bill came after protests and outrage that the state could potentially bring a bill to law that would sanction anti-LGBT discrimination and several big profile businesses including Apple and American Airlines suggested that it would severely impact their ability to make money in the area. Following that firestorm, Brewer has now gone one step further, calling for the state’s legislators to consider extending the non-discrimination laws to protect LGBT Arizona residents.

Current Arizona legislation covers discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origins and disability but Brewer has now said in an interview that the lawmakers need to evaluate that.

“I do not believe in discrimination. We are in the United States of America and we have great privilege that is afforded to everyone.”

While any other viewpoints (one that would effectively condone discrimination) would just draw more controversy, she also questioned whether non-discrimination laws would actually be needed, as if to say that the issue of discrimination is less of an issue due to the changing, progressive views that many US citizens hold about LGBT people. “[Real problems of discrimination with a need for legislative change are] something we don’t see a lot of anymore, because of people’s changing patterns of discrimination” is what she told Capitol Media Services on Tuesday, also adding that “If it needs to be addressed, it needs to be debated in the Legislature,” and that they should “Let the representatives of the people who have been elected by the populace of the state of Arizona determine and get it up to the governor.”

As for her own views on an updated non-discrimination bill, Brewer explained that “I don’t know what would be in that bill or how they would write it. But I certainly would evaluate it and do what I thought was the right thing to do for the state” and arguably, faced with similar outcries to support legislation in favour of LGBT citizens she would perhaps be willing to support the improved bill. That would be in spite of the decision she made in 2009 to halt benefits to same-sex domestic partners of state and university employees (a decision that was overturned by the Supreme Court) and Rebecca Wininger, president of Equality Arizona even said that Brewer is responsible for the LGBT discrimination in the state that the Governor says she ‘does not see a lot of’. Nonetheless, Arizona is famously conservative so perhaps this will set the wheels in motion for a positive change in the state.

Source:Arizona Capitol Times,Buzzfeed