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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Obama’s executive order aims to prevent anti-gay discrimination among federal contractors

President Obama

President Barack Obama signed an executive order yesterday preventing federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers. Faith-based organizations will not be exempt. The order comes five decades after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Obama acknowledged the history of executive actions and legislation to ban discrimination in the workplace, saying our country should “make sure we the people applies to all the people.” Read more at CNN.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Will Hobby Lobby enable workplace discrimination?

Are LGBTQ employees the next target?

I’m afraid the United States Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby contraception case will open the floodgates for conservative businesses top use religion to their favor for other issues, including discrimination against LGBTQ employees. Time and again, the majority of its justices have favored the interests of companies over individuals. I'm ready for a correction.

Buger King sees rainbows

BK pride
According to Business Insider, a single San Francisco Burger King’s support for LGBT Pride is causing quite a stir. It has been selling Whoppers wrapped in rainbow-colored paper that sports the phrase, "We are all the same inside."

Of course, now bigots want to boycott Burger King. I say bring it! I’m not a big fast food person, but BK makes a terrific veggie burger. If we’re going to grab a fast food chain restaurant burger, please let it be from Burger King.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Capehart: Supreme Court must act on gay marriage

Jonathan Capehart

Jonathan Capehart makes his case for why the Supreme Court needs to act on gay marriage due to the patchwork mess of Social Security benefits from state to state. Check it out in "The Washington Post."

Monday, June 16, 2014

Obama to sign executive order preventing LGBT discrimination among federal contractors

President Obama
According to the White House, President Barack Obama will sign an executive order today to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, reports McClatchy News.
“This is a major step forward in the struggle for freedom and justice for LGBTQ workers and their families,” said Rea Carey, executive director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). “Now millions of people will have the economic security they need to provide for their families.”
ExxonMobile, the largest company without LGBT workplace protections, will now be required change its policies. The company draws hundreds of millions annually from federal contracts. It has consistently resisted such change. Earlier this month, ExxonMobil’s shareholders voted for the 17th time to reject a policy that would prohibit discrimination against its LGBT employees.
“This order will bring much-needed relief to ExxonMobil’s LGBT employees,” said Chad Griffin, president, Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Each year HRC rates companies’ attitudes toward LGBT employees. “Year after year, ExxonMobil has held the lowest spot in HRC’s Corporate Equality Index -- the first and only company to receive a negative score.”
The administration said no current federal law adequately prevents workplace discrimination against LGBT employees. It is building upon existing protections that prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin and is “consistent with the president’s views that all Americans, LGBT or not, should be treated with dignity and respect.” Obama will headline the annual Democratic National Committee LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Leadership Council’s fundraiser in New York on Tuesday. 
“Through his actions, the President has demonstrated again his commitment to ending discrimination,” said Carey. “Now we must redouble our efforts for the urgent passage of state employment protections and strong federal legislation.”

Former BP CEO Lord John Browne reflects on his closeted career

Lord John Browne

Former BP CEO Lord John Browne, who spent much of his career as a closeted gay man, has been publicly sharing his insights recently to promote his new book, “The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out is Good Business.” In “Fortune,” Lord Browne writes about his experiences. He says he was assumed to be straight and frequently was asked about his girlfriend or wife. He says such assumptions can be stressful for someone in the closet. Read more here.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Houston passes human rights ordinance

Houston City Hall

The Houston City Council on Wednesday passed an ordinance extending equal rights protections to LGBT residents, reports the Houston Chronicle. The decision passed on an 11-6 vote and received applause from supporters after nine hours of discussion that included personal testimonies. Opponents say they will pursue repeal.
The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which became known as HERO, bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and reinforces federal anti-discrimination laws on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, as well as family, marital or military status. It applies to businesses serving the public, private employers, housing, city employment and city contracting. Violators could be fined as much as $5,000. Religious institutions are exempt.
Houston’s mayor, Annise Parker, is known as the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city. She is credited with bringing the measure to a vote.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sochi Olympics underscores Russia’s homophobic laws and great cruising environment

Olympic Flag

At the opening ceremony for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, the German team wore rainbow-colored coats. A Dutch snowboarder has already competed while wearing rainbow gloves. Google makes its own statement by unveiling a “doodle” with illustrations of athletes encased in the colors of the gay rainbow. Already, four activists have been arrested in St. Petersburg for protesting LGBT discrimination at the Olympics. Regardless, whoever designed those public toilets did a big favor for tearoom cruisers. Let the games begin!

Transnational LGBT Activism: Working for Sexual Rights Worldwide

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Oklahoma gay marriage ban is just wrong

Tallgrass Prairie Nature Preserve in Osage County, Oklahoma

A federal court judge has ruled Oklahoma’s state amendment to ban gay marriage unconstitutional, but local gay cowboys and cowgirls will have to wait before they break their backs to put a ring on the finger of that special person. Unlike Utah, where there was an immediate window to marry before the U.S. Supreme Court put a temporary block in place, U.S. District Judge Terrence Kern stayed his ruling pending an appeal. Kern said Oklahoma’s same-sex-marriage ban is an "arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit." Arbitrary and Irrational? In Oklahoma?! No way!

Nigeria's new anti-gay law spreads fear

Lagos, Nigeria

Human rights activists say police in northern Nigeria are torturing gay men to get the names of other LGBT Nigerians to prosecute under a the country's new anti-gay law. Many activists fear a spike in homophobic violence. The law, pushed through by conservative religious groups, also targets HIV-AIDS prevention programs and health care for those who are infected.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Gay groups ask Apple to cut ties with Russia’s Euroset over spokesperson’s extreme homophobic comments

A Euroset shop in Moscow

Several Russian LGBT organizations have formed a coalition to pressure Apple to break ties with Russia-based mobile phone retailer Euroset. Ivan Okhlobystin, Euroset’s creative director and spokesperson, recently suggested burning all gays alive in furnaces, followed by more homophobic comments on Twitter. The coalition wrote an open letter to Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. The groups are also asking Euroset vendors in Europe and Asia to reevaluate their partnerships.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Supreme Court temporarily blocks Utah gay marriages

United States Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court has temporarily blocked same-sex marriages in Utah until a federal appeals court rules on whether the state law banning the marriages violates the Constitution. The process could last several weeks.

Friday, January 3, 2014

‘Equality Means Business’ in Memphis

Elvis statue at Beale and Main Street, Memphis

A Tennessee group wants to encourage LGBT equality through the power of the gay purse. The Tennessee Equality Project’s campaign, ‘Equality Means Business,’ enables companies to promote solidarity with gay customers with a window sticker. Participants also receive recognition online and through a business list. The group says some Memphis businesses have been discriminating against LGBT people.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gay couples fight Kansas tax law

Wichita, Kan.

The Kansas Department of Revenue is being sued by two same-sex couples over unequal treatment when filing taxes. In Kansas, married gay couples must file two separate returns—one for federal, which recognizes the marriage as legal, and one for Kansas, which considers the union invalid.