Political, Activism and Legal

Major Wins: Two Federal Agencies Announce New Policies to Include LGBTQ People

WASHINGTON, DC, July 29, 2014 -- The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is celebrating a double win for equality with important policy announcements from federal agencies. The Office of Personnel Management published a final rule updating its nondiscrimination policy. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced its new "LGBT Vision for Action," which provides a framework for the agency's ongoing and new projects to serve LGBTQ communities worldwide.
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U.S.-Africa Trade Summit Must Not Ignore Cost of Denying LGBT Human Rights

(New York, July 29, 2014)—President Barack Obama must back up his rhetoric on global LGBT rights by raising concerns directly with African trading partners about entrenched violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) said today. African leaders will be in Washington DC for the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Aug. 4-6, and IGLHRC urges President Obama to guarantee that human rights will be prioritized under any new U.S. economic alliance.
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North Carolina Attorney General Will Not Defend State's Marriage Ban

New York - July 28-- Today, following a ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down Virginia's ban on marriage for same-sex couples, North Carolina's attorney general says his office will no longer fight lawsuits seeking to overturn the state's ban on same-sex couples' freedom to marry.
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Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Strikes Down Virginia's Ban on Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

RICHMOND, Va.- July 28, 2014  – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today affirmed a district court ruling striking down Virginia's ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The decision will not take effect immediately, but will go into effect in 21 days, unless the defendants file a motion to stay the ruling. The ruling will also be stayed if the defendants ask the full court of appeals to review the case.
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4th Circuit Court of Appeals Strikes Down Virginia Marriage Ban

New York - July 28, 2014 – Today the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled in favor of same-sex couples' freedom to marry, upholding a lower court's February decision that found Virginia's marriage ban unconstitutional. 
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Victory in Florida: Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel overturns Florida's same-sex marriage ban

WASHINGTON, DC, July 25, 2014 - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is celebrating the decision by a circuit judge to strike down Florida's same-sex marriage ban.
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Second Florida Judge Strikes Down Marriage Ban

New York - July 25, 2014 – Today Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel struck down Florida's ban on marriage for committed same-sex couples in what is now the 28th consecutive ruling by a federal or state court in favor of the freedom to marry in the past year. This decision affirms what another court found recently in a case out of Key West -- Florida's denial of the freedom to marry violates the U.S. Constitution.
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GLSEN Calls on Department of Education to Provide Further Guidance on Gender Identity Protections Under Title IX

July 25, 2014—As reported today, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has granted religious exemptions under Title IX to Simpson University in California and Spring Arbor University in Michigan that allow the colleges to discriminate against transgender students. This news comes a few weeks after an identical exemption to George Fox University was made public.
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Federal Judge in Colorado Rules Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

New York - July 23, 2014 -- Today U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore ruled that Colorado's discriminatory state ban excluding same-sex couples from the freedom to marry is unconstitutional.
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Statement from National Gay and Lesbian Action Fund on HR Res. 678

WASHINGTON, DC: July 23, 2014 "Thank you Congressman Polis for listening and acting on our deeply held concerns. We are extremely pleased to see a revised version of ENDA emerge in the US House with both strong protections for LGBT employees and new reasonable religious exemption language that we have been calling for - treating LGBT people the same as other protected classes. LGBT people need strong protections from discrimination; we have waited too long for anything less. Legal equality is legal equality, and now that President Obama has signed the LGBT federal contractor and federal employee executive order, it's time for Congress to finish the job and pass legislation that would protect all LGBT workers from discrimination. We urge law makers to seize this moment to create long-lasting change."
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Task Force: Malaysian Airlines disaster and 20th International AIDS Conference

WASHINGTON, DC, July 22, 2014 -- "Our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in the Malaysian Airlines disaster. We stand with the friends, colleagues and loved ones of those that were on board flight MH17 heading to the International AIDS Conference taking place this week in Melbourne, Australia.
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Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) Announces Support for Florida Marriage Ruling

New York - July 21, 2014 – Today Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) stated that he supports same-sex couples' freedom to marry in Florida. His announcement follows a ruling by Republican-appointed Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia, which struck down Florida's ban on marriage for same-sex couples in a case out of Key West.
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Task Force Applauds USDA Adoption of Transgender Protections

WASHINGTON, DC, July 17, 2014 -- The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for adding gender identity protections to its federal non-discrimination regulations regarding programs or activities conducted by the department.  The USDA is the first federal agency to issue federal regulations that ban gender identity discrimination in all activities conducted by any employee of the department.
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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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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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