This morning, I was lucky enough to be there in person to see President Obama sign an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as explicitly adding “gender identity” to the federal government’s own nondiscrimination in employment policy (which already prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation).
This week the White House confirmed that President Obama will sign an executive order that prohibits the discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees in federal contracting.
This is historic news for the millions of workers who are employed by federal contractors. Federal contractors employ more than 20 percent of the American workforce and collect over $500 billion in federal contracts every year. The executive order will prohibit these companies from discriminating in employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity, helping to ensure that individuals who work for federal contractors are not denied a job, harassed, or fired simply because of who they are or whom they love. Read more »
Yesterday, a historic event occurred in Hawai'i. The state's governor, Neil Abercrombie, signed a law legalizing marriage between same-sex couples. The bill was recently approved by the House and Senate during a special legislative session called specifically to consider it.
This victory was hard-earned. Advocates had championed marriage equality for the past 20 years, winning a case in 1993 [PDF] where a plurality of the Supreme Court of Hawai'i opined that prohibiting marriage between same-sex couples was a sex-based classification subject to strict scrutiny. The Supreme Court subsequently affirmed a lower court finding that, in fact, bans on marriage between same-sex couples violated the Equal Protection Clause of Hawai'i's Constitution.
Unfortunately, voters subsequently opted to change the state Constitution to bar marriage between same-sex couples, and, in 1999, the Supreme Court of Hawai'i upheld the ban. Yesterday's ruling changes the legal landscape, and, effective December 2, state officials may perform same-sex marriages.
This victory comes on the heels of a federal challenge to the ban. Read more »
On Monday, the AFL-CIO added four very important words to their constitution: “gender identity” and “gender expression”. This change adds transgender individuals into the list of groups protected from discrimination in the union.
Keisling told Buzzfeed “One of the things I feel is really interesting about it is that words mean something. And the way this is worded, it really is why we do the antidiscrimination thing.” The amendment is called “Constitutional Amendment 9: Welcoming all Workers into our Movement.” Read more »
August 26th marks Women’s Equality Day, the anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment prohibiting U.S. citizens from being denied the right to vote on account of sex. The 19th amendment is widely known for giving women the right to vote. Read more »
For example, HHS regulations and guidance requiring equal visitation rights at hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid helps not only LGBT families but also anyone who has a family joined by bonds of affection and affinity rather than legal coupled status. Likewise, the ACA’s nondiscrimination protection (section 1557) provides important protections against discrimination for women and LGBT people alike. HHS’s focuses in the upcoming year—implementing the ACA and the June 2013 Supreme Court decision striking down a part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)—have important gains for women, LGBT people, and individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Read more »
Today, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which provided that only a marriage between a man and woman would be recognized under federal law. The Court found that this provision of DOMA violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. This decision is historic in its recognition that the Constitution provides important protection against discrimination against same-sex relationships.
When applying to college several years ago, I was privileged to be able to consider women’s colleges without being concerned that my gender identity would present any problem in the application process. This is because I am cisgender – a term used for people who have a gender identity that “matches” the sex they were assigned at birth. For transgender applicants like Calliope Wong, things were more complicated.
Calliope, who identifies as a transgender woman, applied with high hopes to Smith College, a women’s college in Massachusetts. Her application was returned to her, unreviewed, with a letter from the admissions office that because her federal financial aid paperwork indicated her sex as male, they could not accept her application.
It's marriage equality week! Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear arguments challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which revoked same-sex couples' right to marry in California. The day after that, the Court will consider the constitutionality of Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which provides that same-sex married couples cannot be considered "married" under federal law. There are lots of reasons why we will be watching these cases closely. In human terms, both cases have could have a dramatic impact on the lives of same-sex couples. Indeed, they have the potential to be historic civil rights milestones — moments when the arc of the universe curves toward justice. Read more »
For forty years, the Supreme Court has held that the government may not impose laws that treat men and women differently based on an ‘interest’ in perpetuating traditional gender roles. The Court should also hold that the government may not decide who is permitted to marry based on traditional gender stereotypes about who men and women should love, the National Women’s Law Center argued in an amicus brief filed today in Hollingsworth v. Perry—thecase in which the Supreme Court will decide the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the California ballot measure that overturned the California Supreme Court's ruling that same-sex couples have a right to marry. Tomorrow, the Center will file the same brief in United States v. Windsor, the case before the Supreme Courtchallenging the constitutionality of the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that bars the federal government from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples. Read more »