September 20, 2016
We Have a Lot to Celebrate!
No doubt about it, we’ve seen some amazing victories for the LGBTQ community over the past year or so. We’ve come a long way!
- We finally finally finally achieved marriage equality!
- President Obama came out forcefully against the fraudulent practice known as conversion therapy.
- Oregon’s Kate Brown became the nation’s first openly bisexual governor.
- The Senate confirmed Eric Fanning to be Secretary of the Army, making him the first openly gay civilian leader of a branch of the military.
- The Boy Scouts lifted its ban on gay troop leaders.
- President Obama directed every public school in the country to let transgender students use the bathroom that matches the gender they identify with.
But This Doesn’t Mean We Have Full Equality
But for all the good news, a lot of work remains to be done to ensure full LGBT equality. To cite just one example, a federal judge in Texas recently blocked President Obama’s executive order on transgender bathrooms. No progress comes without a struggle.
Our partners at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) have put together a comprehensive list of legislation that, if passed, would make life better for LGBTQ Americans—and therefore, for all Americans who value fairness and justice. Let’s take a look at the highlights:
Voting Rights Advancement Act
Some members of the LGBTQ are uniquely vulnerable when it comes to being able to comply with all the restrictive new voter ID laws popping up around the country. The Voting Rights Advancement Act seeks to restore and strengthen the VRA and protect the rights of every citizen to participate in our democracy.
End Racial Profiling Act
If the End Racial Profiling Act were signed into law, all levels of law enforcement would be prohibited from targeting a person based on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
LGBTQ people are regularly discriminated against in their daily lives—where they work, where they live, where they do their banking or go to school, and elsewhere. The Equality Act would provide long-overdue protections.
Safe Schools Improvement Act
Bullying and harassment of students who are, or are perceived to be, LGBTQ is extremely troubling and widespread. The Safe Schools Improvement Act would directly address the unique challenges that LGBTQ youth face at school.
Student Non-Discrimination Act
While we’re talking about schools, the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) would bar any school program or activity receiving federal cash from discriminating against students on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Every Child Deserves a Family Act
Did you know that LGBTQ families regularly face discrimination when trying to adopt or provide foster care for children? The Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDFA) would go a long way toward prohibiting that practice.
Customer Non-Discrimination Act
Remember that bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple back in 2012? That’s the kind of unsavory behavior this law would put an end to. The Customer Non-Discrimination Act would prohibit businesses from discriminating against customers based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act
Shockingly, there is currently no federal law that protects LGBTQ people from discrimination when they apply for credit (a mortgage, school loan, business loan, etc.). The Freedom From Discrimination in Credit Act would prohibit discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
International Human Rights Defense Act
The International Human Rights Defense Act would finally protect the rights of LGBT people all around the world, not just US citizens. It would create a Special Envoy within the US State Department that would serve as principle advisor to the Secretary of State on LGBTQ issues.
Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act
Conversion therapy – counseling designed to change a person’s sexual orientation – is a fraud. And the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act would amend the Federal Trade Commission Act to essentially say just that.
So, there’s hope, America! Hope for a bright, equal future for the LGBTQ community here and abroad. Check out what our friends at the Human Rights Campaign are up to to stay up to date on these proposed laws.
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