Still Second Class…


Maine rejected marriage equality today by voting yes on #1.

If only they knew how it feels…
Maybe things would be different…
If only they knew they made me cry…

I’m sorry, I just don’t have it in me to write much more…I really had hoped I wouldn’t end the night teary-eyed and feeling like I was second class.

Looking on the brighter side, Washington approved Ref#71, so we have everything but the title in Washington state.

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We Are One Step Closer To Not Being Second Class Citizens!


 

ObamaToday, President Barack Obama made good on his first promise to LGBTAmericans by signing the hate crimes legislation into law!

Today, we are one step closer to no longer being second class…

From an article entitled “President Barack Obama Signs Hate Crimes Legislation Into Law” at HRC.org:

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised President Barack Obama today for signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law.  The new law gives the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence where the perpetrator has selected the victim because of the person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.  The legislation was added as a provision to the FY 2010 National Defense Authorization Act earlier this Summer.  For a comprehensive retrospective and historical overview of hate crimes advocacy visit: www.hrc.org/loveconquershate.

“This law honors our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters whose lives were cut short because of hate,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.  “Today’s signing of the first major piece of civil rights legislation to protect LGBT Americans represents a historic milestone in the inevitable march towards equality.  Although this is a major step in fighting the scourge of hate violence, it is not the end of the road.  As a community, we will continue to dedicate ourselves to changing not only laws but also hearts and minds.  We know that hate crimes not only harm individuals, but they terrorize entire communities.  After more than a decade of advocacy, local police and sheriffs’ departments now have the full resources of the Justice Department available to them.”

“We applaud President Obama for signing this bill into law and thank the leadership and our allies in the House and Senate.   We also will always remember the tireless efforts of Senator Edward Kennedy on this issue.  Senator Kennedy once said that this legislation sends ‘a message about freedom and equality that will resonate around the world.’   This marks the first time that we as a nation have explicitly protected the LGBT community in the law.  And this law sends a loud message that perpetrators of hate violence against anyone will be brought to justice,” said Solmonese.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act honors the memory of Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming college student brutally murdered in an act of hate violence in 1998, and James Byrd, an African-American man who was dragged to death in Jasper, Texas, in 1998.

“We are incredibly grateful to Congress and the president for taking this step forward on behalf of hate crime victims and their families, especially given the continuing attacks on people simply for living their lives openly and honestly,” said Judy Shepard, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.  “But each of us can and must do much more to ensure true equality for all Americans.”

“We appreciate everyone who worked so hard on this bill.  My son was taken at such an early age and we hope this law will help prevent other families from going through what we experienced,” said Stella Byrd, mother of James Byrd.  “Even though we’re different colors and different sexual orientations or gender identities, God made us all and he loves us all.”

The new law also provides the Justice Department with the ability to aid state and local jurisdictions either by lending assistance or, where local authorities are unwilling or unable, by taking the lead in investigations and prosecutions of violent crime resulting in death or serious bodily injury that were motivated by bias. It also makes grants available to state and local communities to combat violent crimes committed by juveniles, train law enforcement officers, or to assist in state and local investigations and prosecutions of bias motivated crimes.

This legislation was first introduced in the 105th Congress.  There have been 14 total votes in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate to bring this historic legislation to the president’s desk.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Let’s keep this momentum going!  One day soon, we are no longer going to be Second Class Citizens!

October is GLBT History Month!


From Equality Forum:

In the 1990’s, teachers and community organizations determined that a month should be designated for GLBT history. They chose October because public schools are in session and traditions, such as National Coming Out Day, occur then.

GLBT History Month is endorsed by GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Education Association, and other national organizations. In 2006, Equality Forum assumed responsibility for GLBT History Month.

Celebrate Our Heritage

The GLBT community is the only community worldwide that does not learn its history at home, in public schools or in religious institutions. GLBT History Monthteaches our heritage, provides role models, builds community and makes the civil rights statement of our extraordinary national and international contributions.

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About Equality Forum:

Equality Forum is a national and international GLBT civil rights organization with an educational focus. Equality Forum coordinates GLBT History Month, produces documentary films, undertakes high-impact initiatives and presents the largest annual international GLBT civil rights forum. For more information, visit www.equalityforum.com and GLBTHistoryMonth.com!

Inclusive ENDA Introduced in the Senate


From the National Center for Transgender Equality:

A fully inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was introduced today in the Senate with bipartisan support. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), joined by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), introduced the bill, which would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Our goal with this legislation is clear and simple,” stated Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Hardworking transgender people deserve the right to go to work without the fear of being arbitrarily fired. We want to apply for a job and be confident that we’ll be evaluated based on our qualifications. Our work should be judged on our skills and our expertise, the same as everyone else. ENDA is simply about basic equality in the workplace and freedom from discrimination.”

A House version of the bill was introduced by Rep. Barney Frank on June 24 and now has 152 co-sponsors. It is currently being considered in committee. President Obama has already declared his support for ENDA.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
This week, please take action by contacting your Senators to ask them to co-sponsor this vital legislation. There are a number of ways you can do this:

* Call your Senators. You can find the phone numbers on the Senate website;just select your state in the upper right hand corner. That will give you contact information for both of your Senators.
* Write an e-mail online with our ENDA action; it’s quick and easy and sends e-mails directly to your members of Congress.
* Go to a town hall or other public meeting in your state while your members of Congress are home in August. You may still be able to get an appointment to meet with your members of Congress or a staff member. See our ENDA Toolkit for more information about how to do this.

It is critical that members of Congress hear directly from transgender people and our families, friends and allies about the need to pass this bill. Please speak out today!

AFA Upset Over AAA “Family” Discount


From Gay Agenda:

AAAHere we go again.  The anti-gay American Family Association, lead by the Religious Right nut job Donald E. Wildmon, (living proof that Satan is alive on earth and more than likely never finished the second grade) has his panties in a wad over the American Automobile Association’s decision to offer Gay & Lesbian couples a “family” membership.

On AFA’s website, they have an email form in place where anti-gay bigots can email AAA’s CEO to proclaim their displeasure with the organization for treating GLBT citizens as…well…citizens.  Below is the text of that email.

Dear Mr. Darbelnet:

My family and I are deeply shocked and saddened that AAA would alter its Family Membership policy to include recognizing homosexual couples as being “married.”

Thirty states have overwhelmingly voted to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.  Yet AAA is treating homosexual couples as if they are married.

My family and I ask you to immediately reverse this policy of recognizing homosexual couples as if they were “married.”

I will share your response with my family and friends.

“Deeply shocked and saddened.” I suppose Donny has failed to remember that certain states have ended marriage discrimination against Gay and Lesbian couples, and I suppose he also has failed to remember that many of those couples have children which make them…well…a family.

I think we should all send an email to AAA to let them know how pleased we are with their decision to treat LGBT families as citizens and thank them for taking a step in the right direction by not letting religious ideology that promotes hate, intolerance, bigotry and discrimination.

You can send a note of thanks to:

MemberRelations@national.aaa.com

Or write a letter of thanks to:

Robert L. Darbelnet, CEO
AAA
1000 AAA Dr.
Heathrow, FL  32746

Or simply pick up the phone and call:

407-444-8402

Let’s do our part to assure AAA their efforts towards equality and inclusion are greatly appreciated!

So everyone…gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, allies, and friends…please take the moment out of your day to send an e-mail, a letter, or make a phone call.

We have to thank those companies that support equality for their actions and not allow them to succumb to the pressures of the enemies of equal rights.  An e-mail takes less than a moment, and it’s effect is well worth your time!