Watch: LGBT Employment Discrimination Still Legal in 2015

(EDGE) It's a touching video of real people talking about civil rights progress that's helped them -- and then the big reveal at the end hits you like a gut punch: it's 2015, and it's still legal to fire and discriminate against people simply because they're LGBT.

The newest provocative spot from FCKH8.com ("Potty-Mouthed Princesses") spotlights that despite progress in so many other areas, laws across the country continue to deny gay people basic anti-discrimination protections on the job.

In the video (Campaign Website: http://FCKH8.com) people from various walks of life -- women, blacks, disabled people -- each identify major civil rights milestones in America. Each speaker represents a year when others like them were finally offered legal protection from discrimination in the U.S. -- from African Americans becoming citizens in 1866, to people with disabilities getting access to public places through the Americans with Disabilities ACT in 1990. Each is wearing a T-shirt printed with the year they gained a fundamental right.

When the two gay men holding hands who are the video's final subject are revealed, their T-shirts display question marks. "It's 2015, and there is still no federal law protecting LGBT people against discrimination. What's our year?" they plead.

"In an era when it feels like progress is so rapid, including the Supreme Court ruling that was so important, we knew people would be shocked to discover there's still this huge national inequality," video producer Mike Kon said. "It sounds unbelievable and disappointing: you can get married on Saturday, but then you can still be legally fired for being LGBT when back at work on Monday."

NBJC Endorses the Equality Act

(NBJC) The National Black Justice Coalition officially endorsed the Equality Act upon its introduction in the U.S. Congress Thursday. The Equality Act adds key LGBT protections to existing civil rights laws including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to ensure—like other protected classes (e.g. race, religion or national origin)—LGBT people cannot be legally discriminated against in the United States. In addition, the Equality Act provides federal protection on the basis of sex and sex-based stereotypes in both public accommodations and federally funded programs.

“Without a federal non-discrimination measure like the Equality Act in law, the current framework of LGBT civil protections—or lack thereof—within states and local jurisdictions provides a majority of LGBT Americans with no clear legal defense from discrimination,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director & CEO. “When a person is both Black and LGBT, discrimination—and the evils of blatant and systemic racism—is too common place and faced on a number of levels that are fundamentally unacceptable in a democracy. As such, NBJC supports the Equality Act, which would provide vital legal protections to so many in the Black LGBT community who are particularly vulnerable to discrimination in our nation.”

According to UCLA’s Williams Institute, 3.7 percent of all adult African Americans identify as LGBT, representing more than one million Black LGBT Americans. Significant populations of Black LGBT people live in southern states that often have no non-discrimination protections for LGBT people. The Equality Act would ensure that the most vulnerable in the LGBT community—including many Black LGBT people—have recourse when they are treated unfairly because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Lambda Legal Applauds Federal Nondiscrimination Bill

(Lambda Legal) The Equality Act, a bill to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, credit, education, and jury service was introduced in Congress on Thursday by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Reps. David Cicilline (D-RI) and John Lewis (D-GA).The bill also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex by those receiving federal funding and in public accommodations.

“Less than half of the states have clear statutory bans on discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, education and the range of settings in which everyone needs fair and equal treatment. The Equality Act is an answer to this inadequate patchwork of protections because it is a broad federal statute protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people across the entire country and throughout their daily lives. There are many paths to justice, and we will continue to pursue them all,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, Senior Counsel and Director of Lambda Legal’s Law and Policy Project, in a statement.

More information about the Equality Bill is available here: http://bit.ly/1MQZmfd

Log Cabin Republicans Hesitant to Embrace LGBT Equality Act

(EDGE) Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) expressed hesitation Thursday over embracing the Equality Act, a Democrat-introduced bill that seeks to eliminate anti-LGBT discrimination and expand protection in the workplace, classroom and public spaces.

According to Salon, the bill, which was introduced in both the House and Senate Thursday, would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing list of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, protected against discrimination. The Equality Act would also clarify that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot be used as a defense for anti-LGBTQ discrimination. It would also expand the types of public accommodations covered under the Civil Rights Act to include banks, grocers, retail outlets, bars and taxi cabs.

Backers of the bill seek to succeed where the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) failed after dying in the Republican-led House of Representatives after passing the Senate.

A statement released by LCR Thursday read:

"It is widely known that Log Cabin Republicans has long supported, lobbied, and advocated for comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination legislation, but we share hesitations about the Equality Act expressed by a number of organizations including LGBT advocates on the left and other civil rights groups," Log Cabin Republicans National Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo stated. "Some of our staunchest Republican allies in Congress with unassailable records in favor of LGBT equality have indicated similar concerns with this legislation. The full text of the Equality Act was only provided to Log Cabin Republicans late last night, mere hours prior to the bill's formal introduction.

"We will review this bill with our allies in Congress and National Board of Directors prior to taking any official position. Log Cabin Republicans does not operate on the timetables of others; ultimatums are not the way to grow coalitions."


BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS