Tuesday, December 02, 2008
By LOU CHIBBARO JR, Washington Blade | December 2, 2008
Officials with the Human Rights Campaign and National Gay & Lesbian Task Force are hopeful that Barack Obama’s administration and Democratic leaders in Congress will help orchestrate the passage next year of two gay rights bills that enjoy widespread support.
The Matthew Shepard Act, which would authorize federal authorities to prosecute anti-gay hate crimes, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, are considered high priorities among gay-supportive lawmakers, officials with the two groups said.
“For the first time ever, we will have a president who has been a co-sponsor of both of these bills,” said David Stacy, HRC’s senior public policy advocate.
President-elect Obama sponsored the two bills during his tenure as a U.S. senator from Illinois.
During his campaign for president, Obama expressed support for nearly all other gay rights legislation pending in Congress, including bills that would provide domestic partnership benefits to federal employees, repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and overturn “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Other pending bills would provide U.S. immigration rights to foreign nationals who are domestic partners of American citizens; provide a tax exemption for employee health insurance benefits for domestic partners, similar to the tax exemption on health benefits given to employees’ married spouses; and grant access to Medicaid coverage for people with HIV who don’t have AIDS.
“We are trying to assess the best legislative strategy for moving these bills,” Stacy said. “But the key people who will be overseeing this in the administration are not in place yet,” which has prevented gay advocacy groups from finalizing their plans. . . .Read More
December 3, 2008
OPINION SF Weekly published an article Nov. 26 with the headline "Border Crossers." The subhead explained the thesis: "Long rap sheet? No problem. Transgender Latina hookers in SF are successfully fighting deportation by asking for asylum."
The title successfully encapsulates the Jerry Springer-like journalism masquerading as a feature article in an alternative weekly in San Francisco. While I would normally just dismiss this as another example of how SF Weekly is turning into the National Enquirer, the article is important in that it reveals the intense discrimination transgender immigrant women who do sex work face in San Francisco — and unfortunately, quite possibly jeopardizes an incredibly essential legal protection.
The writer, Lauren Smiley, apparently believes she has unearthed a shocking secret: that transgender women may receive asylum in the United States based on intense discrimination in their home countries. So trans immigrants can avoid deportation even when they have been arrested for prostitution and have rap sheets. . . .Read More
December 3, 2008
GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has released a Harris poll that shows most Americans favor marriage or civil unions/domestic partnerships for gay couples, allowing gays to serve in the military and adopt children.
Pulse of Equality Survey, Conducted by Harris Interactive, Reports that 75% Favor Either Marriage or Civil Unions/Domestic Partnerships for Gay and Lesbian Couples
New York, December 3, 2008 – A new survey conducted by Harris Interactive in the wake of the passage of and protests against California's Proposition 8 reveals that majorities of Americans favor a broad range of policies and legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
The Pulse of Equality survey, commissioned by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), shows that majorities of Americans favor either marriage or civil unions/domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian couples, as well as gay- and transgender-inclusive hate-crimes laws and non-discrimination laws, and allowing openly gay service members to serve in the armed forces, while a majority opposes laws that would ban adoption by qualified gay and lesbian couples. . . .Read More