Political, Activism and Legal

President Obama Signs Executive Order Protecting LGBT People from Workplace Discrimination

WASHINGTON - July 21, 2014 – President Obama signed an executive order today to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from workplace discrimination during a ceremony at the White House.
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LGBTQ Activists Celebrate President Obama's Announcement That LGBTQ Executive Order Will Be Signed Without Religious Exemptions

July 18, 2014 - Today GetEQUAL congratulated the White House in its announcement that President Obama will sign an executive order on Monday barring LGBTQ discrimination by federal contractors, and that the order will not include religious exemptions.
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ACLU of Oklahoma Statement on 10th Circuit Decision Affirming Marriage Equality for Oklahomans

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - July 18, 2014 – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma joins numerous Oklahomans and their families in celebrating the latest victory for marriage equality in Oklahoma and throughout the United States. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, in the case of Bishop v. Smith, affirmed an Oklahoma Federal District Court's order striking down Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriages. The ACLU of Oklahoma, along with several other civil liberties and LGBT advocacy organizations, filed a friend of the court brief in the case urging today's historic decision.
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American Jewish World Service Applauds House Intro of Bill to Protect Global LGBT Rights, Urges Swift Passage

American Jewish World Service Applauds House Intro of Bill to Protect Global LGBT Rights, Urges Swift Passage
WASHINGTON, DC - July 16, 2014 – Efforts to protect and advance the global rights of LGBT people took a significant step forward today when Congressman John F. Tierney (D-MA), along with Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY), introduced the International Human Rights Defense Act. American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the leading Jewish international development and human rights organization, applauds the introduction of this bipartisan piece of legislation and calls on the House of Representatives to act quickly to pass the bill. The other cosponsors of the bill are Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI), Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).
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Over 200 Participants Attend Transgender Lobby Day in Nation's Capitol

WASHINGTON, DC: July 16, 2014 -- Over 200 people from across the country traveled to Washington this week to participate in yesterday's Transgender Lobby Day. In addition to meeting with their members of Congress, participants also took part in a daylong training consisting of workshops and round table discussions on a variety of issues affecting transgender people. The event was organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund and the National Center for Transgender Equality with Trans People of Color Coalition, Coalicion Trans Latin@, Black Trans Men Inc., Black Trans Women Inc., and Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
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First Mississippi Mayor Announces Support of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

New York- July 16, 2014 – Today Southerners for the Freedom to Marry announced Mayor David Garcia of Waveland, Mississippi supports marriage for same-sex couples. He is the first mayor in Mississippi to do so and is among a number of mayors in southern states who back freedom and dignity for all loving couples and their families. Southerners for the Freedom to Marry, a project of Freedom to Marry, works to bring marriage for same-sex couples to the South.
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Report: 10% of the World's Population Live in Places Where Gay Couples Have the Freedom to Marry

New York - July 15, 2014 – A new analysis released by Australian researcher Tony Pitman and confirmed by Freedom to Marry shows that more than one in every ten people across the world live in a nation or state where same-sex couples have the freedom to marry. Out of a global population of approximately 7.2 billion people, 725 million now live in a freedom-to-marry jurisdiction. It was the U.S. state of Pennsylvania that pushed the world percentage beyond 10% for the first time in history when gay couples won the freedom to marry there on May 20, 2014. 
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United Nations Free & Equal Bollywood Music Video for Gay Rights Exceeds One Million Views

NEW YORK CITY, USA - July 15, 2014-- A Bollywood-inspired United Nations music video with a message of gay acceptance has rapidly become one of the most watched UN videos of all time. "The Welcome", released on 30 April 2014 as part of the UN's ongoing Free & Equal campaign, has been watched by more than a million people on the video-sharing site YouTube. To view the video, visit: www.unfe.org/the-welcome.
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ACLU Reaction to Supreme Court Granting Stay in Marriage Recognition Case

NEW YORK - July 18, 2014 – The U.S. Supreme Court has granted an emergency stay requested by Utah governor in Evans v. Utah.  The district court had issued an injunction requiring Utah to immediately recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who were married between December 23, 2013 and January 6, 2014 when a court struck down Utah's marriage bans as unconstitutional.  The Supreme Court's order is not a ruling on the merits of the injunction.  Instead, the stay stops that injunction from going into effect until it is reviewed on the merits by the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit:
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10th Circuit Affirms the Freedom to Marry in Oklahoma

New York - July 18, 2014 – Today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in favor of same-sex couples' freedom to marry, upholding a marriage ruling out of Oklahoma back in January. This is the second consecutive ruling in favor of marriage by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals; the same three-judge panel also found Utah's ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional.
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Task Force Calls on U.S. Sentencing Commission to Treat All LGBT Prisoners Fairly

WASHINGTON, DC, July 16, 2014 -- In April, the U.S. Sentencing Commission unanimously passed the "All Drugs Minus Two Amendment," which reduces sentences for most defendants -- about 70% -- accused of drug trafficking. The Commission is now considering whether to make the new policy retroactive. The National Gay and LesbianTask Force led a coalition of LGBT and civil rights organizations in urging the Commission to apply the new policy to all previously sentenced defendants. The memo the coalition sent to the Commission underscores the importance of this issue to LGBT people, who are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system.
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Bush-Appointed State Judge Strikes Down Florida's Marriage Ban

New York - July 17, 2014 – Today a Republican-appointed state judge struck down Florida's ban on marriage for committed same-sex couples in what is now the 25th consecutive ruling by a federal or state court in favor of the freedom to marry in the past year. Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia was appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush and reelected in 2002 and 2008. The case, Huntsman v. Heavilin, was filed in Key West, and as of now the ruling ony applies to Monroe County.
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Task Force Calls for Swift Investigation into Recent String of Murders of Transgender Women in Baltimore

WASHINGTON, DC, July 17, 2014 -- Yesterday, Baltimore City Police announced they are investigating the murder of Mia Henderson, a transgender woman and sister of NBA player Reggie Bullock. The murder of Ms. Henderson is the latest in a string of Baltimore area homicides in the last two months in which transgender women have been killed.
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Victory: state same-sex marriage ban struck down in Florida Keys

WASHINGTON, DC, July 17, 2014 - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is celebrating the decision by a judge to strike down Florida's same-sex marriage ban as it pertains to the Florida Keys.
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Federal Appeals Court Orders Recognition of Valid Marriages of Utah Same-Sex Couples

SALT LAKE CITY - July 11, 2014 – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit denied Utah's request to suspend a lower court's ruling ordering the state to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who were legally married after a federal court struck down a state ban, but before the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted additional marriages from taking place. Over 1,000 same-sex couples married in Utah during that time period. In May, a federal court ordered the state to recognize those marriages as legally valid, but Utah had asked that the lower court's order be suspended as the appeals process continued. Today's ruling denies that request, but does give the state 10 days to decide to seek a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.
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Task Force Action Fund Says No to ENDA

WASHINGTON, DC: July 8 - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund today announced that it is withdrawing its support for the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The decision comes as broad religious exemptions, such as the one in ENDA, are creating gaping legal loopholes to discriminate in federal, state and local legislation.
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Task Force Outraged by Report of FBI Surveillance of Muslim Community Leaders

WASHINGTON, DC, July 9, 2014: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is deeply concerned over reports that the FBI has targeted U.S. Citizens for surveillance on the basis that their religious identity is evidence of terrorist activity.
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Task Force Welcomes Castro Confirmation

WASHINGTON, DC, July 9, 2014: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is welcoming the confirmation of Julian Castro as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
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Republican-Appointed State Judge Overturns Colorado's Marriage Ban

New York - July 9, 2014 – Today Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree struck down Colorado's ban on marriage for same-sex couples, becoming the latest of more than 20 federal and state judges to rule in favor of the freedom to marry in recent months. Judge Crabtree was appointed by Republican Governor Bill Owens in June 2001. The ruling was immediately stayed pending appeal.
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Utah Attorney General to Appeal Freedom to Marry Case to U.S. Supreme Court

New York - July 9, 2014 -- Today Utah attorney general Sean Reyes announced that he will ask the Supreme Court to review a June ruling in Kitchen v. Herbert. The ruling, by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, found that Utah's ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional, and upheld a lower court ruling by a Utah federal judge in December.
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UN: Ensure Access to Education for Lesbians, Bisexual and Intersex Women and Girls, and Transgender People

(Geneva—7 July 2014) The United Nations' independent expert committee on women's rights should spell out state obligations to protect lesbians, bisexual and intersex women and girls, and trans people (LBTI people) in education, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) said today.
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United Nations Secretary General Announces Benefits for Employees in Legally Recognized Same-Sex Unions

(New York—7 July 2014) On Thursday, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon formally announced on iSeek, the UN Secretariat intranet, a landmark policy change, introduced through a Secretary-General’s Bulletin (official administrative directive), entitled "Personal status for the purposes of United Nations entitlements," which he signed on 26 June 2014. This will transform workplace entitlements for employees of the UN system who are in legally recognized same-sex unions.
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Two Transgender Women Told to Remove Makeup and Wigs for License Photos and Called 'It' by Staff at West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles

New York, NY - The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) calls upon the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles to allow two transgender women to take their driver's license photos as they appear on a regular basis. DMV officials at separate offices previously ordered the women to remove their makeup and wigs before the agency would photograph them and used defamatory language towards the women in the process.
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ACLU Withdraws Support for ENDA

WASHINGTON - July 8, 2014 – The American Civil Liberties Union today announced that it is withdrawing its support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in a statement also signed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Transgender Law Center. The ACLU objects to a provision in the bill that would allow religiously affiliated employers to continue to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
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Twenty Days of Action for HB and SB 300

As a result of the ruling from Judge John Jones, same-sex couples can wed in Pennsylvania. While we are thrilled about the ruling, we are deeply concerned that it is still legal to be fired for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. As a result of not fitting into the heterosexual norm, one can be fired, demoted, and denied any public accommodation in Pennsylvania. Thus, ME4PA is running a campaign lasting twenty days. From July 5 through July 25, send a letter to: [email protected], and explain why HB and SB 300 should become law.
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