Full EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW For LGBTQIA Nebraskans

Archive for the ‘Statements’ Category

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!

 

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

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.

First “Full Equality Before The Law” Rally a Success!


OMAHA, NE – Nebraskans for Equality’s first event, the ‘Full Equality Before the Law’ rally is a complete success. A big thank you to all who joined the First Full Equality Rally today!!! It was fun, it was great to see some new faces!! I hope the very happy and peaceful Full Equality Rallies become regular events for Nebraskans For Equality because Full Equality Before the Law is what Nebraskans need and deserve!  While a certain HeartLand Pride President would compare peaceful activists like us to Westboro Protesters, we know we did the right thing.  Thousands of Omahans were made aware of LGBT issues as they drove by and honked at seeing our signs, informing them of the need for legislation covering Marriage Equality, Workplace Fairness, Stop Bullying, LB380/LB385 and overall Full Equality, to name a few. Seven wonderful activists showed up for the rally, and I would like to give Fremont a special shout out for supplying 4 of the 7 ralliers!

On another note, I don’t understand why so many activists in Nebraska have to trash LB380 and LB385. These bills could have been law by now, if the community had gotten on board to begin with. Nebraska children and Nebraska families need those bills. These bills also encompass more than just the LGBT community. It doesn’t help the movement to put one LGBT issue ahead of another, especially laws that we can pass by LEGISLATIVE ACTION. We should be pushing for FULL EQUALITY. I grew up in a household that taught me to have a job, have an education BEFORE you start a family. This is why I don’t understand why there is this push to put marriage equality above all else, when there are no state level protections for housing, public accommodation and the workplace, all which are basic needs for people who plan to get married someday. Being married does not protect you from job or housing discrimination. This why I believe we should push for FULL EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW in Nebraska.

There are four currently scheduled items that are huge for Full Equality efforts in Nebraska.
1.  Forward Equality’s Pizza and Postcard party in Lincoln, Tuesday, August 6th at 5:30pm at Yia-Yia’s Pizza see the FaceBook Event for further details,
2. The next event is Forward Equality’s Pizza and Postcard party in Omaha, August 20, at 5:30pm,
3. Rally for Marriage Equality on Sept 3 from 2pm to 4pm at 72nd Dodge Street,
4. Brad Ashford‘s Unicameral Judiciary Hearing in Lincoln on Oct 4th for Same-Sex Marriage in Nebraska.

**Memorandum for Full Equality in Nebraska: We must work toward Full Equality legislation that grants full non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression equal to those accorded other statuses under existing civil rights laws and Supreme Court jurisprudence including, not limited to Public Accommodations, Public Facilities, State-Funded Programs, Employment, Housing, Education, Credit, State-Level Marriage Equality, as well as Labor, Disability and Leave.

Ken Riter

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