Full EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW For LGBTQIA Nebraskans

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New LGBT Equality Pledge Network Emerges.


OMAHA, NE – The Equality Pledge Network announced a united call for full LGBT Equality at the MLK Jr Memorial in Washington, D.C. on June 30th at 8:30 pm with renowned African American faith leaders and LGBT activists, featuring song, prayer, speeches, and the resounding call to “ADD 4 WORDS” to the 1964 Civil Rights Act that turned 50 years old on July 2nd 2014.

Add 4 Words

Add 4 Words – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

The event was hosted by The Equality Pledge Network, a new nationwide campaign for full equality. The event was The Equality Pledge Network’s official launch event.  The Equality Pledge Network is supported by over 245 organizations in 44 states calling for a one bill strategy for full federal equality.

Speakers for the event highlighted the Network’s wide-range of supporters for a one-bill, full equality solution, from the United Church of Christ, to Equality Illinois, to the San Francisco LGBT Center. A Proclamation from Mayor Pougnet of Palm Springs was presented recognizing the California supporters and designating the first official “LGBT Equality Now Day.” Activists carried posters of LGBT children lost to discrimination, a key point in the campaign. And tribute waspaid to LGBT civil rights heroes, Eleanor Roosevelt and Bayard Rustin, who led the way with their unique gifts on the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, respectively.

Proponents assert that including LGBT Americans in the Civil Rights Act via one comprehensive bill is the most direct way to counter the vast harms caused by societal discrimination. “The inclusion of LGBT American in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is right and necessary,” said Veronica Eady, a board member of LGBTequalityNOW.org, the organization formed to support the Network. “As an African American woman, I understand why only fully inclusive nondiscrimination laws meet the standard for basic human dignity in our nation.”

The power of seeking full equality is also highly motivating and could actually build the mass movement the LGBT movement requires to become a top Congressional priority. The Network points to the success of The Pledge for Full LGBT Equality at the heart of this campaign that brought the over 240 diverse organizations together around a shared intention, spanning sixteen statewide equality organizations from Equality Hawaii to Equality South Carolina, transgender groups such as the Tennessee Trans Political Alliance, PFLAG chapters from Pasadena to Ann Arbor, the ACLU of Mississippi, The Unitarian Universalists Association, Metropolitan Community Churches, LGBT Democrats of Virginia, Palm Springs and Florida, and over 11 City Council Proclamations from West Hollywood to New Orleans and Tallahassee.

Launching two new public policy arguments in a bi-partisan approach, the campaign’s information-packed website features the cutting-edge facts about “minority stress” by Dr. Ilan Meyers of the William’s Institute, detailing the harm LGBT people endure from discrimination to make the argument that discrimination must be outlawed on public health grounds as called for by theAmerican Psychological Association and many others. And international law is also emphasized, referencing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s historic speech, and the United Nation’s Free & Equal campaign, to make clear that Congress has a duty to include LGBT Americans in the country’s nondiscrimination laws immediately.

At the vigil, Reverend Abena McCray a co-founder of Unity FellowShip Church performed Break Every Chain with choir members from the Howard University School of Divinity.  Rev. Dr. Dennis Wiley a straight-ally African-American leader on LGBT justice from Covenant Baptist UCC affirmed the inter-connectedness of all struggles, as faith leaders proclaim the spiritual imperative to protect LGBT Americans fully and equally from discrimination.

Richard Noble, who walked across America on foot for equality, presented a proclamation for “LGBT Equality Now Day” from Mayor Pougnet of Palm Springs , applauding the 15 organizations in California from LA Pride to the San Francisco LGBT Community Center that support The Pledge for Full LGBT Equality, at the heart of this new campaign.

Dr Dana Beyer, a recent state senate candidate in Maryland and a highly respected community member, will speak on behalf of Gender Rights Maryland. Transgender Rights Advocate, Consuella Lopez, from the DC Mayor’s LGBT Advisory Board spoke on the horrific suffering of TransGender Americans, from homelessness to suicide, as pictures were lifted up of fallen LGBT children to the song, Echos by Rev McCray.

Cindy Bray, Treasurer of LGBT Democrats of Virginia, and Dr Robin H Gorsline, of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, who both brought the activist spirit and spiritual determination to bear. Rev Wes Jamison, also of United Church of Christ, offered a special prayer written for the occasion.

“All believers in equality and justice for LGBT Americans are urged to gather as we set a tone of inclusive and loving-kindness for the campaign ahead,” said Todd Fernandez, campaign manager for The Equality Pledge Network. “Our suffering requires we unite immediately to outlaw anti-LGBTQ abuse, to end the judgment, and to welcome all LGBT souls in community embrace. Join us.”

Join The Equality Pledge Network
Website: http://www.LGBTequalityNOW.org
Twitter: @EqualityPledge
FB: http://bit.ly/EqualityPledgeFB

Equality Pledge

Join the Equality Pledge Network.

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New LGBT Equality Campaign Demands, “Add 4 Words”.


OMAHA, NE – The Equality Pledge Network demands Congress “Add 4 Words” – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to various laws passed by Congress, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The new campaign for full LGBT equality, backed by over 245 organizations, will officially launch with an LGBT Civil Rights Vigil at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in D.C. beginning at 8:30 p.m., Monday, June 30th. The theme of the event is “Add 4 Words” reflecting the demand to add Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The event also celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of July 2nd.

Add 4 Words

Add 4 Words: Sexual Orientation Gender Identity

A new organization, LGBTequalityNOW.org, has been created to facilitate the Network, led by a wealth of veteran experience and diversity, including Erica Keppler, Chair of the Arizona Stonewall Democrats; Cathy Marino-Thomas, former chair of Marriage Equality USA; Veronica Eady, a straight-ally and African-American civil rights attorney currently at the Conservation Law Foundation; Josef Pons de Jesus previously with ACT-UP NY, Human Rights Campaign, and the National Latino Lesbian & Gay Organization; Pablo Colon, former community outreach and advocacy director at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis NY; Attorney Yetta Kurland, former candidate for City Council in NY and a human rights advocate; Michael Miller, formerly with the AIDS Action Committee of Boston and Harvard AIDS Institute; and Executive Director and Board Chairperson, J. Todd Fernandez, Esquire, former Ombudsman to the Governor and General Council and Legislative Director for Economic Affairs of Massachusetts.

The new network is uniting the grassroots and state groups like never before, breaking the corporate insider mold with direct empowerment of local experts. Over 40 activists in 22 states are serving as volunteer state leads, including Attorney Peter Sergienko working with his gay son Eugene in Oregon; Richard Noble, from the Walk Across America; Attorney Stephen Zollman of the National Equality March; Jeff White-Perkins from Mississippi Gulf Coast Rainbow Center; straight-ally Jean Kryean of Pennsylvania, and Mika Covington and Ken Riter, who have joined forces in Iowa and Nebraska.

The new strategy is in sharp contrast to the Human Rights Campaign’s push for the Employment Nondiscrimination Law, now embroiled in community dissent because of the religious-exemptions that would leave our most vulnerable children behind. Groups including the ACLU, Lambda Legal, Equality California, Queer Nation NY, Equality Illinois, and others, strongly oppose the Senate version of ENDA, which would ensconce in federal law anti-LGBT discrimination in taxpayer-funded programs, as a concession for Republican votes, that entirely misses the point of organizing for social change.

“Seeking full equality is not just a legislative agenda, but is the antidote to the vast harm LGBT Americans endure under discrimination, which causes children to commit suicide, and keeps 53% of LGBT workers in the closet, living in daily fear,” said Todd Fernandez, campaign manager for The Equality Pledge Network. “The ENDA compromises are a sign of our movement’s strategic weaknesses, and they should not be accepted until we have first united in full force nationwide. We won this debate in Arizona with Republican Senators’ support, and it’s the debate we need to have as a nation to heal homophobia and transphobia in our culture.”

The Network’s information-filled website advances two main arguments: 1. That international law requires Congress to outlaw SO-GI discrimination, and 2. That the vast harm caused by discrimination, known as “minority stress,” makes this a public health emergency. As support, the site includes the United Nation’s Free & Equal campaign, the historic speech by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proclaiming “gay rights are human rights,” and congressional expert testimony of Dr. Illan Meyers of the Williams Institute, backed by official reports of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, the American Psychological Association, and others.

The 2014 Campaign goals include 1. Increasing Pledge support from 245 to 500 organizations, 2. Establishing state leads in all 50 states, 3. Conducting a 2014 Equality Poll to map support in Congress, and 4. Mounting a PSA campaign about the “minority stress” impact including suicide and mental health disparities, such as depression, anxiety, and hypervigiliance.

The vigil will feature pictures of LGBT Americans lost to suicide and murder, Activists and religious leaders will carry rainbow flags and herald the contributions of LGBT civil rights heroes Eleanor Roosevelt, who led the way on the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and Bayard Rustin, the gay human rights leader who was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work leading to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which his community yearns to join.

NEBRASKA
Ken Riter, Nebraskans for Equality: “Nebraskans for Equality is proud and excited to be part of a new dialogue for LGBT equality. It is time LGBT people learn about other areas of their rights as Americans that deserve full equal attention under the law.”

IOWA
Mika Covington, Iowa State Pledge Lead: “”As an new Iowan, I have come to experience equal rights here in Iowa. They are awesome. However, they are constantly under attack and we have to constantly fight to keep them. This is why it is more important than ever to get full federal human rights for everyone no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. The fight forward is not over until all humans have full and equal human right.”

See Full Press Release: http://www.actonprinciples.org/2014/06/24/new-nationwide-campaign-demands-lgbt-rights-be-added-to-1964-civil-rights-act-vigil-june-30th-mlk-memorial-will-launch-campaign

FUND FULL EQUALITY

Help Fund Equality


OMAHA, NE – If you are not able to volunteer for any of our events, you can do a great service by donating to our cause. The Nebraskans for Equality Blog is part of a nationwide movement to change the conversation on the LGBT movement called The Equality Pledge. The Equality Pledge stresses the LGBT Community and supportive elected officials come together to push for Full Federal Equality which involves a one bill strategy to add sexual orientation and gender identity to a broad of list of laws already granting existing protected classes protection in areas including: Public Accommodations, Public Facilities, Federally Funded Programs, Employment, Housing, Education, Credit, Federal Marriage Equality, Immigration, Disability, and Family Leave.

To help us move equality forward, just  a $5 donation can go a long way to reaching our goals for Full Federal Equality under the law. Will you donate to help fund equality?

Click here:  HELP FUND EQUALITY

Help Fund Equality

Help Fund Equality

Changing the LGBT Equality Conversation.


OMAHA, NE –  The LGBT community has fought for equality for decades, yet a significant amount of LGBT discrimination remains: 51% of Americans live in the 34 states that ban marriage equality. In 29 states, you can be fired based on your sexual orientation, in 33 states based on your gender identity. In 30 states, you can be denied housing based on your sexual orientation, in 34 states based on your gender identity. In 29 states, you can be denied public accommodations based on your sexual orientation, in 34 based on your gender identity. *Source: ACLU, Marriage Equality USA, Get Equal, HRC, State Government websites.

Unfair treatment and discrimination lead to higher rates of poverty and distress in the LGBT community. This is not acceptable. LGBT Americans are entitled to full and equal federal protection as a matter of international human rights law, the 14th Amendment and as an urgent matter of public health, to stop the suffering caused by anti-LGBT stigma in society. The time to stand for the full spectrum of rights and protections we deserve as Americans is now.

A real solution to inequality is The Equality Pledge and the American Equality Bill, an omnibus bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity as federally protected classes under a broad list of areas where other classes are already federally protected. These areas include public accommodations, public facilities, federally funded programs, employment, housing, education, credit, federal marriage equality, immigration, disability, and family leave. Adding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity as protected classes when it comes to federally funded programs is probably the single most important civil rights issue never talked about in the LGBT community. Current laws covering the other protected classes include; the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, Fair Housing Act, Education Amendments Act of 1972, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
See the Pledge: http://www.actonprinciples.org/thepledge

May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia or IDAHOT. IDAHOT is a day to stand against violence, oppression and to promote freedom, diversity, and acceptance. Last year, IDAHOT was celebrated in 113 countries. Members of the Omaha area’s LGBT community will rally at 72nd and Dodge Streets at 2pm this Saturday, May 17th, where they will also advocate for full federal equality through the omnibus bill, or one-bill strategy.
See also: http://dayagainsthomophobia.org
See also: https://www.facebook.com/events/281157485379314

Sincerely,
Ken Riter
Nebraskans For Equality

Fight For Full Federal Equality


OMAHA, NE – Equality for all Americans is important, and of particular importance to our nation’s LGBT community. I am excited to donate some of my time to take on the task as a state lead for Nebraska for The Equality Pledge. and the American Equality Bill.

The time to push for Full Federal Equality has arrived.  ENDA has been introduced in every session of Congress since 1994, and has failed to pass.  The LGBT movement has been “piecemealing” our civil rights for so long, that people have forgotten that Marriage Equality and NonDiscrimination in Housing and Employment are just a small part of what we in the LGBT Community deserve as true and equal Americans. I say the people are growing weary. There is also a need to look to fairness in education, public accommodation, federal funding, and credit, among an entire list of civil rights that we should be demanding now and discussing everyday within our respective communities.

A day of action is coming.  May 17th is our first day of action to stand against homophobia and transphobia in cooperation between the people of the Full Equality Pledge and IDAHOT 2014. Omaha will have rally May 17th 2014, from 2pm-7pm on the NorthWest corner of 72nd and Dodge.  According to The Equality Pledge leader Todd Fernandez, “The key objective on May 17th is to bring local Pledge groups together to discuss and create a plan for coalition work focused on the Pledge, and on other state nondiscrimination priorities you may have.  It’s time to organize to win.  And July 2nd is the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act – so if not now, when?”
(FB Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/281157485379314)
See also http://dayagainsthomophobia.org

A new arm in the LGBT movement is rising to take up this responsibility of discussing and pushing the need for Full Federal Equality and that is The Equality Pledge.  Our message is that LGBTQIA Americans are entitled to full and equal federal nondiscrimination protection; first, as a matter of international human rights law, and urgently, as a matter of public health, to stop the horrible suffering caused by anti-LGBTQIA stigma in society.

The Equality Pledge supports the passage of an omnibus LGBT equality legislation that grants full non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity equal to those accorded other statuses under existing civil rights laws and Supreme Court jurisprudence, specifically including:

  1. Public Accommodations (Title II, 1964 Civil Rights Act)(e.g., restaurants, hotels, theaters)
  2. Public Facilities (Title III, 1964 Civil Rights Act) (e.g., courthouses, jails, hospitals, parks)
  3. Federally-Funded Programs **Possibly the single most important one**(Title VI, 1964 Civil Rights Act) (e.g., adoption, police, schools, homeless youth, health care)
  4. Employment (Title VII, 1964 Civil Rights Act; 1978 Civil Service Reform Act; 1991 Government Employee Rights Act; 1995 Congressional Accountability Act; 10 U.S.C. Ch. 37) (e.g., civilian and military government, private sector)
  5. Housing (Title VIII, 1968 Civil Rights Act, aka the Fair Housing Act) (e.g., rental, purchase, finance)
  6. Education (Title IX, 1972 Education Amendments Act) (e.g., schools, bullying)
  7. Credit (1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act) (e.g., credit cards)
  8. Federal Marriage Equality (based on gender, SO) (e.g., 1967 Supreme Court Decision, Loving v. Virginia)
  9. Immigration, Disability, and Family Leave (Uniting American Families Act (proposed), the American With Disabilities Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act)

This is an important turn in the history of the LGBT movement. Every individual and every group is warmly welcomed to this organizing that respects autonomy and diversity in strategy, messaging and tactics.  Retired organizers are rising up again, able to work by phone and email these days.  And LGBT community centers, state equality groups, and grassroots marriage equality groups, to name a few, are taking leading roles for May 17th.  The Equality Pledge has already received endorsements from over 225 groups from 44 states and the District of Columbia. These groups represent the full array of advocacy, direct action, faith-based, statewide, local, marriage, immigration, pride, transgender/gender-nonconforming, community centers, and other community constituencies.  See also: http://www.actonprinciples.org/thepledge

If you are interested in bringing your group into this vast and growing network, please contact Ken Riter at 4o2-686-6389 in Nebraska or Mika Covington at 712-314-8258 in Iowa.

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