Florida court throws out case of lesbian banned from seeing dying partner

From PinkNews:langbehnpond

A lesbian who was banned by a hospital from visiting her dying partner has had her case thrown out of court.

Janice Langbehn sued Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for not allowing her to see Lisa Pond, 39, her partner of 17 years.

Pond suffered a fatal brain aneurysm on February 18th, 2007. Langbehn says a social worker would not let her see her partner, who died alone the next day.

The couple, who had three adopted children, were on holiday on a gay-friendly Caribbean cruise when Pond became ill.

Langbehn and her children were not allowed to be with Pond in her final hours and hospital officials allegedly told Langbehn she was in an anti-gay city and state.

After waiting eight hours, she was eventually allowed to see Pond for five minutes as a priest performed the last rites.

Langbehn and gay charity Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit against Jackson Memorial Hospital but this was thrown out of court this week.

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that the case should be dismissed because the hospital had no obligation to allow visitors to see patients.

It also ruled that there was no obligation to provide patients’ families, healthcare surrogates, or visitors with access to patients in their trauma unit.

The court has given the Langbehn-Pond family until October 16th to review the ruling and consider all legal options.

Beth Littrell, staff attorney in Lambda Legal’s Southern Regional Office in Atlanta, said: “The court’s decision paints a tragically stark picture of how vulnerable same-sex couples and their families really are during times of crisis.

“We hope that because of Janice’s courage to seek justice for her family in this case that more people better understand the costs of anti-gay discrimination. This should never happen to anyone.”


New United Nations General Assembly President calls homosexuality ‘unnacceptable’

From PinkNews:unpresident

The newly-installed president of the United Nations General Assembly, Ali Abdussalam Treki, has said that homosexuality is “not really acceptable”.

Treki, who is the Libyan secretary of African Union Affairs, opened the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly Friday with a press conference.

One question concerned the UN resolution which calls for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality.

In reply, Treki said: “That matter is very sensitive, very touchy. As a Muslim, I am not in favour of it . . . it is not accepted by the majority of countries. My opinion is not in favour of this matter at all. I think it’s not really acceptable by our religion, our tradition.

“It is not acceptable in the majority of the world. And there are some countries that allow that, thinking it is a kind of democracy . . . I think it is not,” he added.

The ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs committee, Florida’s Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, told On Top Magazine: “The anti-gay bigotry spewed by this Qaddafi shill demonstrates once again that the UN has been hijacked by advocates of hate and intolerance.”

Austin, Texas Considering Resolution to Protect LGBT Employees

GayTexasFlagThe City Council of Austin, Texas is taking greater steps to promote equality by considering a resolution to favor those companies that support workplace equality!

From the Austin Business Journal:

The Austin City Council may take up a resolution this week that would ratchet up protections for gay, lesbian and transgendered employees of companies that contract with the city and give added consideration to businesses seeking loans or incentives from the city that offer domestic partner benefits.

The resolution under consideration adds to an ordinance the city passed in 1992 prohibiting all city contractors from discriminating against prospective and existing employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The new measure would mandate that all contractors with the city provide an actual copy of their employment non-discrimination agreement. Noncompliance would result in the termination of the contract and could hinder the company’s ability to secure future work with the city, a draft of the resolution states.

The resolution also calls for the city manager to amend all economic loan programs and incentives, including the city’s Business Retention and Enhancement Program and others, encouraging companies seeking incentives to provide domestic partner benefits and have non-discrimination policies.

The measure is being sponsored by Council members Laura Morrison and Bill Spelman.

In a letter to council members, Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce President Chad Peevy encouraged approval of the measure. “The passing of this resolution will send a clear message to the greater community that Austin is a supportive and inclusive environment for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender,” he wrote.

Though legislation known as the Employee Non-Discrimination Act is being pushed in Congress, there are currently no laws at the federal or state level protecting employees from workplace discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The city of Austin already offers domestic partner benefits to all of its employees. Austin voters approved that measure, which required a change to the city charter, in 2006.

Obama to NAACP: “Our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights”

From President Obama’s address to the NAACP’s Centennial Convention:

“The first thing we need to do is make real the words of your charter and eradicate prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination among citizens of the United States. I understand there may be a temptation among some to think that discrimination is no longer a problem in 2009. And I believe that overall, there probably has never been less discrimination in America than there is today. But make no mistake: the pain of discrimination is still felt in America. By African-American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and a different gender. By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country. By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion simply because they kneel down to pray to their God. By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights. On the 45th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, discrimination must not stand. Not on account of color or gender; how you worship or who you love. Prejudice has no place in the United States of America.

Gays Detained After Kiss Outside Utah Mormon Temple

According to The Salt Lake Tribune:
A gay couple says they were detained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints security guards after one man kissed another on the cheek Thursday on Main Street Plaza.

‘They targeted us,’ said Matt Aune, 28.

‘We weren’t doing anything inappropriate or illegal, or anything most people would consider inappropriate for any other couple.'”
Just like all civil rights struggles, the more progress we make, the more our foes will push back.  The Mormons targeted this couple because they were gay…
Homophobia, as with any other prejudice, is mere ignorance.

Read the full story from The Salt Lake Tribune.

Hello world! And to all second class citizens and their allies, welcome.

The term second class citizen is often used to describe a person who is systematically discriminated gainst within a state, despite their nominal status as a citizen or legal resident there, and instead of being protected by the law, the law disregards a second-class citizen.

In America, LGBT citizens are treated as second class citizens.  There are 1138 rights that heterosexual Americans enjoy that are denied to homosexuals.  There are no federal hate crime laws or protections from discrimination for gay citizens.  They are not allowed to serve openly in the military.  There is a federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.  They cannot file joint tax returns.  And in most states they may be denied seeing their sick/dying partner in the hospital, participating in their partner’s medical decisions, or adopting children.

There is no place in America for inequalities under the law, especially in 2009.  If history has taught us anything, it’s that all human beings deserve equal rights and protection under the law.  History has shamed America before, and it will shame America again.  We are witnessing history in the making right now, and we are a part of the change and a part of the progress.

One day your grandkids will read in their history book of the gay rights struggle and they will ask you, did people really believe gay people didn’t deserve equal rights?  What was wrong with those people?ß

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