Tag Archives: equal rights

Michigan LGBT Rights Ballot Initiative Falls Short Of Signatures Needed

Michigan LGBT Rights Ballot Initiative Falls Short Of Signatures Needed

The Michigan elections bureau has determined that Fair and Equal Michigan gathered nearly 299,000 signatures, short of the roughly 340,000 needed for a ballot drive to prohibit discrimination against LGBT Michiganders according to a report released Thursday. 

Election staffers ruled many ineligible because the signers were not registered voters or there were address, date or others errors. The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers will meet Tuesday to consider a recommendation to not certify the initiative.

“The Bureau of Elections threw out thousands of signatures that are valid and we will fight for every valid signature so no voters are disenfranchised,” said Josh Hovey, spokesman for Fair and Equal Michigan.

Michigan is one of 27 states without LGBT housing, employment. and accommodation protections.

In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a landmark federal civil rights law protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from employment discrimination but did not cover the other main tenets in the LGBT discrimination issues facing American’s

For the 40 years the Equality Act or some version of it has been introduced into Congress and it still has not passed that would add LGBT protections to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Our community needs to focus on getting the Equality Act passed once and for all because once that happens many of the other minor issues we keep getting hung up on will dissipate also.

White House Announces Support of Amending The Civil Rights Act To Include LGBT Protections

White House Rainbow

 

The White House announced on Tuesday its endorsement of legislation that would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity via The Equality Act.

The Washington Post reports:

Speaking to reporters, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the administration “has been reviewing for several weeks” the bill. “It is now clear that the administration strongly supports the equality act,” he said, adding it would advance the civil rights of “millions of Americans.”

Earnest added the White House would “work to ensure that the legislative process produces something that balances “the bedrock principles of civil rights with the religious liberty that we hold dear in this country.” Although there is little chance that this Congress will approve the legislation — which was introduced in July by Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Cory Booker (N.J.) — President Obama’s support elevates to greater prominence the question of whether lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans need greater legal safeguards.

And while the majority of the community and its leading organizations support the Equality Act fully, he once LGBT equality grassroots group GetEQUAL led by Heather Cronk and Angela Peoples is asking the LGBT movement to focus on race and transexual issues instead and not support amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo also states that his group does not support the legislation.

While as for now as long as the Republican party holds the House and senate hostage it’s little more than a gesture but it does put something on the table and give us something to work towards.

 

 

Houston Texans Owner Bob McNair TAKES BACK His $10K Donation To Anti-LGBT Rights Campaign – BOOYAH!

 

houston Texans

 

After a week of intense pressure, ridicule, and complaints the owner of the Houston Texan’s football team Bob McNair  is rescinding a $10,000 contribution he made to Campaign of Houston, the anti-gay group that is trying to overturn the city’s the anti-LGBT discrimination law otherwise know as HERO in an upcoming voter referendum.

Houston Chronicle:

Texans owner Bob McNair is rescinding a $10,000 contribution he made to Campaign of Houston after being involved in a controversy surrounding opposition to HERO, the city’s equal rights ordinance. McNair released a lengthy statement Friday where he said unauthorized statements attributed to his beliefs were distributed that were never discussed with him, saying he won’t tolerate any personal or professional discrimination.

McNair’s full statement:

“I recently made a personal contribution to Campaign for Houston because my thorough review of the HERO ordinance led me to believe that a thoughtful rewrite would provide a better ordinance that would provide strong non-discrimination protections for all Houstonians, which I would support, and would be less divisive of our city.

“It was on these principles that I made my personal contribution to Campaign for Houston. To my great dismay, Campaign for Houston made numerous unauthorized statements about my opposition to HERO in print, broadcast and social media – including attributing certain statements of belief to me. Their actions and statements were never discussed with nor approved by me. Therefore I instructed the Campaign to return my contribution.

“I do not believe in or tolerate personal or professional discrimination of any kind. I also believe that we Houstonians should have an ordinance that unites our community and provides a bold statement of non-discrimination. I encourage all Houstonians to vote on November 3. Robert F. Kennedy once said, ‘Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work together to change a small portion of events, and in the total of those acts will be written the history of our generation.’”

Many thanks to Ex-NFL football player and straight ally Chris Kluwe for publicly calling this asshole out.  And lets also hope that the NFL itself put some behind the scense pressure on McNair

Nike, Google, General Mills and More Get On Board With The Equality Act

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More and more major businesses are hopping on-board the Equality Act Express!  

The Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act  to include civil rights protections to all LGBT American citizens.

STATEMENT BY NIKE – “At NIKE, we are committed to diversity and inclusion, and we strive to treat our employees equally. We believe that diversity drives innovation and allows us to attract and retain world class talent. We need fair and equitable laws that prevent discrimination, and NIKE supports the Equality Act introduced by Senator Merkley and his colleagues in Congress. This is another important step in the fight for equality.””

STATEMENT BY GOOGLE — “Diverse perspectives, ideas, and cultures lead to the creation of better products and services and ideas. And it’s the right thing to do. That’s why we support protections for LGBT individuals as outlined in the Equality Act.”

STATEMENT BY FACEBOOK — “We are open and vocal supporters of equality. Ensuring fairness in the workplace is a fundamental principle at Facebook and we support legal protections for LGBT Americans as outlined in the Equality Act.”

STATEMENT BY GENERAL MILLS — “At General Mills we have a long history of supporting LGBT equality and the time has come in this country for full, federal equality for the LGBT community. Ensuring fairness in our workplaces and communities is both the right thing to do and simply good business.”

STATEMENT BY AMERICAN AIRLINES — “We at American Airlines are proud of our long history of supporting LGBT equality. Now is the time for full equality for the LGBT community in the United States. Ensuring fairness in our workplaces and communities is both the right thing to do and simply good business.

STATEMENT BY GOOGLE — “Diverse perspectives, ideas, and cultures lead to the creation of better products and services and ideas. And it’s the right thing to do. That’s why we support protections for LGBT individuals as outlined in the Equality Act.”

While the legislation has very little chance of passing while the GOP holds control of both the House and Senate with elections around the corner it passage could be possible in as little as 4 years.

Meanwhile the misdirected activist group GetEQUAL still stands against the bill.  

You’d think if any group would understand the meaning of “separate is not equal” it would be GetEQUAL. 

#GetEQUALGetAClue

 

 

The Coalition of African American Pastors: “President Obama is a disgrace” For Mentioning Gay Rights At Selma March

Selma Obama March

The Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) is incensed that President Obama mentioned President Barack Obama compared the civil rights movement to that gay Americans fighting for equality last Saturday in  “Ask your gay friend if it’s easier to be out and proud in America now than it was 30 years ago,” Obama said at the 50th Anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March.

“President Obama is a disgrace to the black community,” said. Rev. William Owens of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP). “He is rewriting history. We didn’t suffer and die for gay marriage. We marched for opportunity, equality, justice, freedom from oppression. We are the true heirs of the civil rights movement. We have a new movement to reclaim the ‘real’ civil rights movement.”

“The LGBT community hijacked our movement, a movement they know nothing about,” Owens asserted. “President Obama is delusional to compare our struggle with the struggle for marriage equality. Gays have not had fire hoses or dogs unleashed at them. They have not been hung from trees or denied basic human rights.”

“President Obama didn’t march,” Owens continued. “He has benefited from those of us who did march, but for President Obama to say we marched so that gays would have the right to marry today, is a disgrace and a lie.”

CAAP has launched a new initiative called RISE, a grassroots network that unites “people of every race, creed, culture, and background,” to focus on defending faith, family, and justice.  Or in other words RISE unites “hateful homophobes of  every race, creed, culture, and background,” to focus on denying gay people their god given rights under the law.

HRC Will NOT Help Defend Embattled Plano, TX Equal Rights Ordinance Over Transgender Restroom Exemption

Trans bathroom

 

According to a report from The Texas Observer the Human Rights Campaign says it’s probably not going to help defend the embattled  Equal Rights Ordinance. ordinance recently passed in Plano, TX because according to HRC it’s transphobic citing that an exemption that would bar trans individuals from using restrooms, according to their gender identity but would provide protections for them and LGBT citizens in the area of housing and employment discrimination.

HRC’s Cathryn Oakley told the Observer:

“The language in Plano is very problematic and in terms of investing a lot of resources in an ordinance that has a lot of problems, it’s difficult to see why that’s necessarily the best use of resources. If we had been consulted in the drafting of this bill, we would have withdrawn our support, and given that, it’s hard to justify defending it as valid. ..

“I think the story coming out of Plano is about a city that really wanted to do the right thing, and I wish that this had unfolded differently, because I think that there were good intentions, but things fell apart. I think incremental process is important, I think municipal work is incredibly important, but incremental doesn’t mean leaving part of the community behind. That’s not an acceptable version of incremental.”

This week, opponents of the ordinance turned in over 7,000 signatures on petitions to repeal it — more than double the number needed to put it on the ballot.  Equality Texas a local LGBT group say they’ll defend the ordinance without HRC’s help despite the “bathroom exemption”  because  it is a step in the right direction.

The bathroom issue will always be touchy for many hetro-normative people.  Is HRC making the right decision not helping to fight for this EO that would help all LGBT citizens in Plano, Texas from being discriminated against for housing and employment because the trans community would not be able to use the restrooms of their current gender status?

Supreme Court Makes Ruling On DOMA/Prop 8 Later Today: Stay Tuned

Gay-Wedding-Rings

Today could be one of the biggest days in LGBT history with a decision could change our way of lives for the better. Or the Supreme Court could make it that much harder on the progress we’ve made to enforce equality. Or both cases (more particularly DOMA) could be sent back because of rules and statutes surrounding the case resulting in no progress at all leaving us exactly were we are right now.

There is a somewhat pessimistic view on what the possible outcomes could be after the Supreme Court Justices dismantled a key component in the Voting Right Act (VRA) that kept a system in check to help prevent discrimination at the voter polls due to race/ethnic minorities. Who is to say that the underhanded tactics of the religious, sanctimonious right somehow extend their oppression to other minority groups like the LGBT community that had a hand in reelecting President Obama.

Also last night in Texas we witnessed a paltry disintegration of rules and regulations set in place to govern and maintain order as the GOP ruthlessly and shamelessly broke the law so they could take away a woman’s right to choose an abortion. The bravery of State Senator Wendy Davis served as a beacon of hope and reason as she stood there implementing an over ten hour filibuster until she was unfairly silenced by her male, power hungry counterparts. But Texas GOP decided to push and bully until they called for an illegal vote that was later rescinded.

And here we are, the LGBT community at the epicenter pf the possibly the biggest court decision to affect a group of people since Loving vs Virginia. The climax and the precipice of change has been heavy because we know the impact the decisions nine justices will have on us. With the incredible events that have taken place politically over the past two days, to say tensions are at their apex is a great understatement. We are talking about the lives of millions of families that could be impacted on this decision. So the big political news of the past two days makes it harder for us to pinpoint what to expect. Still, some feel they have a pretty good idea of what to expect. ]

For instance, it’s expected that if Prop 8 is upheld then same sex couples from California will still not have the right to marry their significant other. this could also challenge the other twelve states that allow same sex marriage and give states the right to say marriage is only between a man and woman.  If it’s struck down then there’s several possibilities including civil unions, same sex marriage for California only or saying any ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional. And as I stated earlier the court could decide to not decide the case at all sending it back to a lower court to dispute.

As for DOMA, if the bill is upheld would prevent same sex couples from having the same federal benefits as straight couples. If it is struck down then allow same sex couples to have the same federal benefits as straight couples. It is important to note that the case could be thrown out because the Obama Administration was not the one to bring the case to court.

It is also theorized that today’s decisions could also have long term effects in other areas that affect the LGBT community. For example the progress (or lack thereof) in the case of the Employee Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) in congress that would protect LGBT men and women for being fired solely on the basis of their sexual orientation. A favorable decision for the LGBT community could mean we’d finally see more momentum in protecting our livelihood.

With all the tension and anticipation many have began to speculate what we’ll do after today’s decision. Some have mentioned both jokingly and seriously that they are ready to move up north to Canada in the event of an unfavorable decision for the LGBT community. While the rest of us (myself included) have vowed to make a stand against the tyranny of the GOP who are desperate to strip us of not only the rights we are being denied but also the freedoms we already have in place. We want to show the future generation of LGBT men and women that no matter the outcome, we must stand up for our rights no matter what.

We will keep you up to date on the historic decisions as they happen. Let’s hope the court sees that it is time to move this country forward to equality. Stay tuned

Microsoft’s Bill Gates Responds to Boy Scout Ban On Gay Members: “Lift the ban already”

Extraordinaire in all things software engineering  Bill Gates has a clear, concise statement for the Boy Scouts of America and their ban on LGBT members/volunteers. Gates has always been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights and felt the succinct message for the religious was to get with the times. Here’s more:

Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and one of the world’s richest men, has a message for the Boy Scouts of America: Lift the gay ban, already.

Speaking at Politico’s inaugural Playbook Cocktails interview series in Washington, D.C., Gates said he had enjoyed being a Scout. On stage with Politico D.C. bureau chief Mike Allen, Gates recalled learning “how to tie knots, how to weave baskets, how to hike long distances without complaining too much.”

When Allen turned the conversation to the organization’s ban on gay members and leaders, Gates said the policy “absolutely” needed to be scrapped.

“Why,” prodded Allen.

“Because it’s 2013,” Gates replied, prompting a spontaneous burst of boisterous applause from the audience.

ThinkProgress notes that Gates has shown his support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality measures in the past, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars toward the Washington state marriage equality campaign.

Let’s hope they start to listen to messages like this as they continue to debate on lifting the ban on LGBT members that will come up for vote among Boy Scout leaders sometime in May.

 

So..Tell Me What’s Wrong With This Marriage Equality Ad?

gay dumbasses

 

When I came out eight years ago, I felt that as time went on, I wanted to contribute more to the cause of equality by speaking out because as the old saying goes “if you’re not a part of the solution then you’re a part of the problem”. So I try to make an effort whenever possible, even if it’s a small donation to an LGBT organization or writing a blog about the problems and issues within our community. And I always try to encourage but not demand the same in others. I believe every voice has power, and as a result, an impact in everything we do.

Even if it’s something as simple as a retweet on twitter or liking and sharing a Facebook status, I feel like if it further advances someone else’s voice. The message becomes a little bit louder and I am more than happy to do so. Visibility is and has always been a key component to the success of our community. Any civil rights movement that has been successful in history is because they stood out and made their presence known. Social media allows us to be visible and more powerful in delivering our message of equality than ever before.

But, we need to recognize that there is a limit to how effective that can be as there is to everything else. Sometimes the message can be counter-intuitive, counterproductive, contradictory, and just plain wrong. An example of this kind of wrong is what I found when I came across this ad today by an organization called FCKH8. Today they tweeted out this image with the caption “Jesus’s reason for wanting you to support gay marriage”. When I saw this, I became livid. There are so many things wrong with this picture. But let’s break it down so you see why this is so disturbing.

The message by what I presume is an LGBT equality group for marriage equality and their message is to “Legalize Love”. Of course I support that, it’s what I talk and write about daily. The group calls on both straight and gay allies to join together to eliminate discrimination and hate. They have an array of t-shirts, hoodies, wristbands and pens to promote the cause. Hell, I even support the eye candy they use to promote their merchandise on their website. I support all of this because allies are a bridge that enables us to spread our message.

Even with the fact that many don’t support businesses or organizations like this because we don’t know where all the profit is going to, I don’t mind it. Because it gets the word out and makes us more visible in some form and what we as a community want. They even donated 25000 dollars to help promote awareness and equality in Tennessee, my home state that is still trying to pass a bill that would ban students in grade K through 8 from saying the word gay in school. So, naturally I support that as well. That is not where the issue lies here.

Now some of you may be looking at this ad right now saying “What’s wrong with it, this is in support of marriage equality” and if that’s all you see then you need to look again. Because this ad supports hate. It is saying that abortion is wrong. I don’t support hate, in any form. And this openly invites hate on a woman’s right to choose for herself and I will never, ever support such hypocritical, vulgar, and flat out asinine degradation of ANYONE and their right. You don’t “Fuck Hate” by hating on another group. Ever.

Maybe the reason that I’m so upset is because I’ve seen such a vapid attempt like this before. Because of this belief by some leaders and activists within our community that fail to see the diversity that is in this community. It’s evident when you hear comments like “I can’t be racist, I’m gay” when you most certainly can be, despite how immeasurably ignorant a conclusion this is to invoke.  These two issues don’t even mirror because they are two completely different issues. However, both should be treated with the same respect. Your status as a gay man does not eliminate your ability to be prejudice.

Some would argue that this ad shows a glaring privilege that is often overlooked and not approached for discussion by this community. Because some say that the truth is gay Caucasian men still have some privilege. It’s not so much about the right to marry but in the ability for a Caucasian male, regardless of sexuality, is still granted the ability to make a cause more visible. Don’t believe that’s true? Well this is what ads like this suggest, and why it is so important to speak out about how irresponsible an impact they have. Because this is not the kind of message we want to send.

I don’t know if it’s the inexperience of youth, an extremely tasteless joke or just willful ignorance but it needs to stop. How insensitive is it not only degrade but also condemn the rights of women by using the same tactics enacted by extreme republicans declaring kit is God’s Will to get married? Why would you ever want to place the condemnation on another group this way? By involving a prophet depicting children that are in danger to abortion and being gay saves the world that awful notion. I don’t even understand why whoever created this ad felt that this would ever be okay to publicly damn women’s rights. It is incredulously hypocritical (and quite ironic) to use religious propaganda to promote any cause.

Not to mention that there are lesbians, transgendered, and bisexual women that exists within this community as well. This ad completely disregards them and their right to choose. You are openly condemning these women when ads like this are a representation of this movement. They are facing the same struggles for equality that we are fighting for every day. This goes to show what goes wrong in a civil rights movement when someone becomes so intent on what they want for their community and for themselves that they don’t think about how it will affect others. You know who this ad speaks to? Gay, Caucasian Males. It does not reflect any other bit of diversity than that.

This all goes back to what I’ve talked about numerous times here and here about one of the biggest issues that exist in the LGBT community. That those of us that are a dichotomy, or members of other disparaged communities, face other issues that are completely disregarded pushed aside, or ridiculed by the group that knows what that feels like. Or at the very least knows what it feels like to be treated this way. Race issues and women’s issues in this community too often are treated this way. The only way that this erroneous use of judgment ever changes is when we call it out and explain why it’s wrong.

I’m angry at how insensitive this is to the other members of this community. How this ad openly disparages the women in our community that are always a side note in our struggle for equality. Normally the figureheads in the public eye are all male, all Caucasian and do not even begin to show the diverse dynamics of this community. And it has got to stop. Now. You all should be raging about this. We cannot afford to alienate one right over another. Civil rights movements are not about throwing other groups under the bus to get what we want.  It is not always just about us. And we need to remember that.

Creator Of Spartacus: Blood And Sand Steven DeKnight Wards Off Homophobia On Twitter

DeKnight_Inked

I always try to find people that stand out and exemplify what an advocate for the LGBT community that don’t get enough recognition. And creator, writer of the STARZ hit Spartacus series Steven DeKnight is one of those people. He doesn’t do it as some in thing to do. He supports LGBT rights because like us, he knows that they are human rights. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel writer does an incredible job as a straight man illustrating gay men and women because he understands that we the same as everyone else.

DeKnight has dealt with relentless homophobia from so called fans of the series because of the fearless approach he takes in developing LGBT characters and their love lives. Most notably the homophobia comes as a result of the story of Agron And Nassir, two men that are high ranking generals in Spartacus’ rebellion against Rome. Some fans have been bold (or ignorant or both) to criticize how authentic the relationship is because of their love scenes as well as day to day interactions that every couple have each day.

DeKnight is quick to call out homophobia on twitter. Usually with a quick quip or flat out blunt honesty, he gets across that he is not a fan of bigotry or hate in any form. Even today he commented on an asinine tweet asking him to diminish the gay soldiers’ role on the hit tv drama. Here’s a few examples you can see on his twitter page:

deknight2

deknight1

 

He even takes the naysayers to task on Facebook, setting boisterous derelicts with nothing better to do than to disparage how two people should be able to express love to each other in whatever way they so choose:

It’s not hard to find examples of DeKnight’s honesty and compassion for equal rights. And that is what makes him an advocate and an ally to our community.  Thanks again Steven for all that you do. Gratitude.

..plus he’s worked with Joss Whedon so that makes him extra cool.