Full EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW For LGBTQIA Nebraskans

Archive for the ‘LGBTQIA’ Category

Nebraska Equality Activism Continues Full Speed Ahead.


OMAHA,  NE – The Nation’s only Unicameral state legislature is once again debating LGBT issues. Legislative bills similar to previously introduced equality legislation are once again on the table for discussion in 2015. The Equality Agenda bills as they are being known as are three bills introduced by State Senators Jeremy Nordquist (LD7), Sara Howard (LD9), Adam Morfeld (LD46). Last week’s judiciary hearing gave the public the chance to speak about the bills.

LB647, the measure by Nordquist would ban discrimination based on various factors, including sexual orientation and gender identity.  Nebraska is one of two states which prohibit LGBT foster parents.  Nebraska’s ban is based on nothing more that a departmental memo from 1995. The next bill, LB648, introduced by Sara Howard, would allow joint adoption by two individuals, regardless of marital status. The final measure, LB586, introduced by newly elected Adam Morfeld would ban discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

All three bills have an uphill battle in the ultra-conservative Unicameral. If the bills advance out of committee, supporters will need 33 votes to break any likely filibusters.  But a couple of turncoats, the Chambers of Commerce of Lincoln and Omaha spoke in favor of Morfeld’s workplace protections bill on Wednesday.

The Video  below begins with a nice clip of State Senator Adam Morfeld.

 

There is still time to send the Committee telling them to support these bills, or sign the ACLU’s petition below.

Dear State Senator,

I am writing as a Nebraska Voter to urge you to support the bills LB586, LB647, and LB648. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Nebraskans are our family, friends, and co-workers. Every Nebraskan should be entitled to the same opportunities to take care of their families and to feel safe at work. Equality before the law isn’t just an idea, it’s the
state motto of Nebraska. Please support LB586, LB647, and LB648.

Sincerely,
{YOUR NAME}

Judiciary Committee Members Emails:

amorfeld@leg.ne.gov,
ppansingbrooks@leg.ne.gov,
lseiler@leg.ne.gov,
ccoash@leg.ne.gov,
mwilliams@leg.ne.gov,
lebke@leg.ne.gov,
bkrist@leg.ne.gov,

ACLU’s Equality Agenda Petition

 

 

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Voter Information for 2014 Elections


OMAHA, NE – WordPress has this new Voter Info Tool where you can look up your voter information, like your polling place. Check it out! See how you like it! Consult your election official for further information. 🙂

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.

Help Fund Equality!

 

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

Queer Alphabet Soup


OMAHA, NE – The LGBT community is growing as more and more people begin using LGBTQIA.  Many people get confused by the additional letters because they don’t know why they are included. Well, this article will attempt to remedy that.

L is for Lesbians, who are persons who self-identify as females who are sexually and romantically attracted to other females.

G is for Gay Men, who are persons who self-identify as males who are sexually and romantically attracted to other males.

B is for Bisexuals who are persons who can be sexually and romantically attracted to both men and women.

T is for TransGender who are persons whose gender identity differs from their assigned sex at birth. TransGender persons may not self-identify as transgender.  Transgender people may or may not use a different name or pronoun than the one they were assigned at birth, and they may or may not pursue hormone therapy or surgery.  The term GenderQueer fits under this category, and refers to people who do not identify as, or who do not express themselves as completely one gender. Genderqueer people may or may not identify as transgender or transsexual.  When in doubt, always defer to the way a person self-identifies. Transgender people may also identify their sexual orientation as straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or even pansexual.

Q is for Queer which is an umbrella term which embraces a variety of sexual preferences, orientations, and habits of those who do not adhere to the heterosexual and cisgender majority. The term queer includes, but is not exclusive to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender persons, and intersex persons, traditionally, this term is derogatory and hurtful, however, many people who do not adhere to sexual and/or gender norms use it to self-identify in a positive way.  The term Queer was taken back by gay activists during the nineties. Pansexuals would also fit under this term.  Pansexuals can be sexually and romantically attracted to people of any sexual orientation or any gender, they can be attracted to the broad spectrum of people in existence.

Q is also for Questioning, for those who are still finding the identity that fits them.

I is for Intersexed and is used for those whose anatomy is not exclusively male or female.

A is for Asexuals, who are persons who do not have sexual attraction. Asexuals may or may not consider it to be a sexual orientation.

A is also used for Ally, someone who is not LGBTQIA, but supports full equality for those who are.

HELP FUND LGBT EQUALITY

Rainbow LGBTQIA

Rainbow LGBTQIA

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

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