Gay Primary Source

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Clinton Supports Intl. LGBT Rights

"Good evening, and let me express my deep honor and pleasure at being here. I want to thank Director General Tokayev and Ms. Wyden along with other ministers, ambassadors, excellencies, and UN partners. This weekend, we will celebrate Human Rights Day, the anniversary of one of the great accomplishments of the last century.

Beginning in 1947, delegates from six continents devoted themselves to drafting a declaration that would enshrine the fundamental rights and freedoms of people everywhere. In the aftermath of World War II, many nations pressed for a statement of this kind to help ensure that we would prevent future atrocities and protect the inherent humanity and dignity of all people. And so the delegates went to work. They discussed, they wrote, they revisited, revised, rewrote, for thousands of hours. And they incorporated suggestions and revisions from governments, organizations, and individuals around the world.

At three o'clock in the morning on December 10th, 1948, after nearly two years of drafting and one last long night of debate, the president of the UN General Assembly called for a vote on the final text. Forty-eight nations voted in favor; eight abstained; none dissented. And the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted. It proclaims a simple, powerful idea: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. And with the declaration, it was made clear that rights are not conferred by government; they are the birthright of all people. It does not matter what country we live in, who our leaders are, or even who we are. Because we are human, we therefore have rights. And because we have rights, governments are bound to protect them.

In the 63 years since the declaration was adopted, many nations have made great progress in making human rights a human reality. Step by step, barriers that once prevented people from enjoying the full measure of liberty, the full experience of dignity, and the full benefits of humanity have fallen away. In many places, racist laws have been repealed, legal and social practices that relegated women to second-class status have been abolished, the ability of religious minorities to practice their faith freely has been secured.

In most cases, this progress was not easily won. People fought and organized and campaigned in public squares and private spaces to change not only laws, but hearts and minds. And thanks to that work of generations, for millions of individuals whose lives were once narrowed by injustice, they are now able to live more freely and to participate more fully in the political, economic, and social lives of their communities.

Now, there is still, as you all know, much more to be done to secure that commitment, that reality, and progress for all people. Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today. In many ways, they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed. Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries, and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm.

I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country's record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect. Until 2003, it was still a crime in parts of our country. Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home.

Now, raising this issue, I know, is sensitive for many people and that the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of LGBT people rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural, and religious beliefs. So I come here before you with respect, understanding, and humility. Even though progress on this front is not easy, we cannot delay acting. So in that spirit, I want to talk about the difficult and important issues we must address together to reach a global consensus that recognizes the human rights of LGBT citizens everywhere.

The first issue goes to the heart of the matter. Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in fact, they are one and the same. Now, of course, 60 years ago, the governments that drafted and passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were not thinking about how it applied to the LGBT community. They also weren’t thinking about how it applied to indigenous people or children or people with disabilities or other marginalized groups. Yet in the past 60 years, we have come to recognize that members of these groups are entitled to the full measure of dignity and rights, because, like all people, they share a common humanity.

This recognition did not occur all at once. It evolved over time. And as it did, we understood that we were honoring rights that people always had, rather than creating new or special rights for them. Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.

It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives. And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay. No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.

The second issue is a question of whether homosexuality arises from a particular part of the world. Some seem to believe it is a Western phenomenon, and therefore people outside the West have grounds to reject it. Well, in reality, gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world. They are all ages, all races, all faiths; they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes; and whether we know it, or whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends, and our neighbors.

Being gay is not a Western invention; it is a human reality. And protecting the human rights of all people, gay or straight, is not something that only Western governments do. South Africa’s constitution, written in the aftermath of Apartheid, protects the equality of all citizens, including gay people. In Colombia and Argentina, the rights of gays are also legally protected. In Nepal, the supreme court has ruled that equal rights apply to LGBT citizens. The Government of Mongolia has committed to pursue new legislation that will tackle anti-gay discrimination.

Now, some worry that protecting the human rights of the LGBT community is a luxury that only wealthy nations can afford. But in fact, in all countries, there are costs to not protecting these rights, in both gay and straight lives lost to disease and violence, and the silencing of voices and views that would strengthen communities, in ideas never pursued by entrepreneurs who happen to be gay. Costs are incurred whenever any group is treated as lesser or the other, whether they are women, racial, or religious minorities, or the LGBT. Former President Mogae of Botswana pointed out recently that for as long as LGBT people are kept in the shadows, there cannot be an effective public health program to tackle HIV and AIDS. Well, that holds true for other challenges as well.

The third, and perhaps most challenging, issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens. This is not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation. Some people still defend those practices as part of a cultural tradition. But violence toward women isn't cultural; it's criminal. Likewise with slavery, what was once justified as sanctioned by God is now properly reviled as an unconscionable violation of human rights.

In each of these cases, we came to learn that no practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us. And this holds true for inflicting violence on LGBT people, criminalizing their status or behavior, expelling them from their families and communities, or tacitly or explicitly accepting their killing.

Of course, it bears noting that rarely are cultural and religious traditions and teachings actually in conflict with the protection of human rights. Indeed, our religion and our culture are sources of compassion and inspiration toward our fellow human beings. It was not only those who’ve justified slavery who leaned on religion, it was also those who sought to abolish it. And let us keep in mind that our commitments to protect the freedom of religion and to defend the dignity of LGBT people emanate from a common source. For many of us, religious belief and practice is a vital source of meaning and identity, and fundamental to who we are as people. And likewise, for most of us, the bonds of love and family that we forge are also vital sources of meaning and identity. And caring for others is an expression of what it means to be fully human. It is because the human experience is universal that human rights are universal and cut across all religions and cultures.

The fourth issue is what history teaches us about how we make progress towards rights for all. Progress starts with honest discussion. Now, there are some who say and believe that all gay people are pedophiles, that homosexuality is a disease that can be caught or cured, or that gays recruit others to become gay. Well, these notions are simply not true. They are also unlikely to disappear if those who promote or accept them are dismissed out of hand rather than invited to share their fears and concerns. No one has ever abandoned a belief because he was forced to do so.

Universal human rights include freedom of expression and freedom of belief, even if our words or beliefs denigrate the humanity of others. Yet, while we are each free to believe whatever we choose, we cannot do whatever we choose, not in a world where we protect the human rights of all.

Reaching understanding of these issues takes more than speech. It does take a conversation. In fact, it takes a constellation of conversations in places big and small. And it takes a willingness to see stark differences in belief as a reason to begin the conversation, not to avoid it.

But progress comes from changes in laws. In many places, including my own country, legal protections have preceded, not followed, broader recognition of rights. Laws have a teaching effect. Laws that discriminate validate other kinds of discrimination. Laws that require equal protections reinforce the moral imperative of equality. And practically speaking, it is often the case that laws must change before fears about change dissipate.

Many in my country thought that President Truman was making a grave error when he ordered the racial desegregation of our military. They argued that it would undermine unit cohesion. And it wasn't until he went ahead and did it that we saw how it strengthened our social fabric in ways even the supporters of the policy could not foresee. Likewise, some worried in my country that the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don’t Tell" would have a negative effect on our armed forces. Now, the Marine Corps Commandant, who was one of the strongest voices against the repeal, says that his concerns were unfounded and that the Marines have embraced the change.

Finally, progress comes from being willing to walk a mile in someone else's shoes. We need to ask ourselves, "How would it feel if it were a crime to love the person I love? How would it feel to be discriminated against for something about myself that I cannot change?" This challenge applies to all of us as we reflect upon deeply held beliefs, as we work to embrace tolerance and respect for the dignity of all persons, and as we engage humbly with those with whom we disagree in the hope of creating greater understanding.

A fifth and final question is how we do our part to bring the world to embrace human rights for all people including LGBT people. Yes, LGBT people must help lead this effort, as so many of you are. Their knowledge and experiences are invaluable and their courage inspirational. We know the names of brave LGBT activists who have literally given their lives for this cause, and there are many more whose names we will never know. But often those who are denied rights are least empowered to bring about the changes they seek. Acting alone, minorities can never achieve the majorities necessary for political change.

So when any part of humanity is sidelined, the rest of us cannot sit on the sidelines. Every time a barrier to progress has fallen, it has taken a cooperative effort from those on both sides of the barrier. In the fight for women’s rights, the support of men remains crucial. The fight for racial equality has relied on contributions from people of all races. Combating Islamaphobia or anti-Semitism is a task for people of all faiths. And the same is true with this struggle for equality.

Conversely, when we see denials and abuses of human rights and fail to act, that sends the message to those deniers and abusers that they won’t suffer any consequences for their actions, and so they carry on. But when we do act, we send a powerful moral message. Right here in Geneva, the international community acted this year to strengthen a global consensus around the human rights of LGBT people. At the Human Rights Council in March, 85 countries from all regions supported a statement calling for an end to criminalization and violence against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

At the following session of the Council in June, South Africa took the lead on a resolution about violence against LGBT people. The delegation from South Africa spoke eloquently about their own experience and struggle for human equality and its indivisibility. When the measure passed, it became the first-ever UN resolution recognizing the human rights of gay people worldwide. In the Organization of American States this year, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights created a unit on the rights of LGBT people, a step toward what we hope will be the creation of a special rapporteur.

Now, we must go further and work here and in every region of the world to galvanize more support for the human rights of the LGBT community. To the leaders of those countries where people are jailed, beaten, or executed for being gay, I ask you to consider this: Leadership, by definition, means being out in front of your people when it is called for. It means standing up for the dignity of all your citizens and persuading your people to do the same. It also means ensuring that all citizens are treated as equals under your laws, because let me be clear – I am not saying that gay people can’t or don’t commit crimes. They can and they do, just like straight people. And when they do, they should be held accountable, but it should never be a crime to be gay.

And to people of all nations, I say supporting human rights is your responsibility too. The lives of gay people are shaped not only by laws, but by the treatment they receive every day from their families, from their neighbors. Eleanor Roosevelt, who did so much to advance human rights worldwide, said that these rights begin in the small places close to home – the streets where people live, the schools they attend, the factories, farms, and offices where they work. These places are your domain. The actions you take, the ideals that you advocate, can determine whether human rights flourish where you are.

And finally, to LGBT men and women worldwide, let me say this: Wherever you live and whatever the circumstances of your life, whether you are connected to a network of support or feel isolated and vulnerable, please know that you are not alone. People around the globe are working hard to support you and to bring an end to the injustices and dangers you face. That is certainly true for my country. And you have an ally in the United States of America and you have millions of friends among the American people.

The Obama Administration defends the human rights of LGBT people as part of our comprehensive human rights policy and as a priority of our foreign policy. In our embassies, our diplomats are raising concerns about specific cases and laws, and working with a range of partners to strengthen human rights protections for all. In Washington, we have created a task force at the State Department to support and coordinate this work. And in the coming months, we will provide every embassy with a toolkit to help improve their efforts. And we have created a program that offers emergency support to defenders of human rights for LGBT people.

This morning, back in Washington, President Obama put into place the first U.S. Government strategy dedicated to combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons abroad. Building on efforts already underway at the State Department and across the government, the President has directed all U.S. Government agencies engaged overseas to combat the criminalization of LGBT status and conduct, to enhance efforts to protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, to ensure that our foreign assistance promotes the protection of LGBT rights, to enlist international organizations in the fight against discrimination, and to respond swiftly to abuses against LGBT persons.

I am also pleased to announce that we are launching a new Global Equality Fund that will support the work of civil society organizations working on these issues around the world. This fund will help them record facts so they can target their advocacy, learn how to use the law as a tool, manage their budgets, train their staffs, and forge partnerships with women’s organizations and other human rights groups. We have committed more than $3 million to start this fund, and we have hope that others will join us in supporting it.

The women and men who advocate for human rights for the LGBT community in hostile places, some of whom are here today with us, are brave and dedicated, and deserve all the help we can give them. We know the road ahead will not be easy. A great deal of work lies before us. But many of us have seen firsthand how quickly change can come. In our lifetimes, attitudes toward gay people in many places have been transformed. Many people, including myself, have experienced a deepening of our own convictions on this topic over the years, as we have devoted more thought to it, engaged in dialogues and debates, and established personal and professional relationships with people who are gay.

This evolution is evident in many places. To highlight one example, the Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexuality in India two years ago, writing, and I quote, "If there is one tenet that can be said to be an underlying theme of the Indian constitution, it is inclusiveness." There is little doubt in my mind that support for LGBT human rights will continue to climb. Because for many young people, this is simple: All people deserve to be treated with dignity and have their human rights respected, no matter who they are or whom they love.

There is a phrase that people in the United States invoke when urging others to support human rights: "Be on the right side of history." The story of the United States is the story of a nation that has repeatedly grappled with intolerance and inequality. We fought a brutal civil war over slavery. People from coast to coast joined in campaigns to recognize the rights of women, indigenous peoples, racial minorities, children, people with disabilities, immigrants, workers, and on and on. And the march toward equality and justice has continued. Those who advocate for expanding the circle of human rights were and are on the right side of history, and history honors them. Those who tried to constrict human rights were wrong, and history reflects that as well.

I know that the thoughts I’ve shared today involve questions on which opinions are still evolving. As it has happened so many times before, opinion will converge once again with the truth, the immutable truth, that all persons are created free and equal in dignity and rights. We are called once more to make real the words of the Universal Declaration. Let us answer that call. Let us be on the right side of history, for our people, our nations, and future generations, whose lives will be shaped by the work we do today. I come before you with great hope and confidence that no matter how long the road ahead, we will travel it successfully together. Thank you very much."

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Remarks in Recognition of Internatilonal Human Rights Day, December 6, 2011, Geneva Switzerland.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Prez Advisor Lauds DADT Repeal

"In December, when President Obama signed the historic law that ended discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans serving in our armed forces, he told a story about one of his visits to Afghanistan. “A young woman in uniform was shaking my hand,” he said, “and other people were grabbing and taking pictures. And she pulled me into a hug and she whispered in my ear, ‘Get ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ done.’ And I said to her, ‘I promise you I will.’”

That promise made is now a promise kept. As of 12:01am today, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is over. Already, gay and lesbian men and women have sent in their applications to proudly – and openly – serve the country we all love.

I’m delighted to celebrate with friends from around the country, who worked with President Obama to help make this day a reality. Repealing DADT certainly wasn’t easy. There were those who believed our President would not be able to accomplish such a difficult task.

But even when the odds appeared to be against him, President Obama never gave up. Just as I’ve seen him do time and time again during our 20 years of friendship, he demonstrated courage, vision, and the ability get things done. Together with a broad coalition of Americans who care deeply about the ideals of this country, he made this moment happen.

At a time when the President is calling on Congress to put politics aside and act in the greater interest of the American people, it’s important to recognize that elected leaders from both parties deserve credit for ending DADT. In December, I went to the Capitol Building to watch the Senate vote on repeal. I saw eight Republicans join their Democratic colleagues to vote “Yes.” It was a reminder that when the stakes are high enough, and the choice is clear enough, Congress can come together and do the right thing.

Of course, while the end of DADT is a milestone, we’ve got a long way to go. Even on this happy day, there are young people who face bullying at school, just because of their sexual orientation. There are LGBT Americans who still face discrimination, and are denied rights they deserve.

So we are not done fighting. But today, we remember that when we all come together to make this country a better place, change is not just possible. Change is inevitable. On behalf of myself, and the entire Obama Administration, I look forward to working with all of you as we continue our journey toward a more perfect union."

Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, Sept. 20, 2011.

JCS Chief Lauds DADT Repeal

"A word or two on today’s implementation of the repeal of "don’t ask, don’t tell." As you all know, I testified in early 2010 that it was time to end this law and this policy. I believed then, and I still believe, that it was first and foremost a matter of integrity; that it was fundamentally against everything we stand for as an institution to force people to lie about who they are just to wear a uniform. We are better than that. We should be better than that. And today, with implementation of the new law fully in place, we are a stronger joint force, a more tolerant joint force, a force of more character and more honor, more in keeping with our own values.

I am convinced we did the work necessary to prepare for this change, that we adequately trained and educated our people, and that we took into proper consideration all the regulatory and policy modifications that needed to be made.

I appreciate the secretary’s confidence in me and his kind praise, but today is really about every man and woman who serves this country, and every man and woman in uniform, regardless of how they define themselves. And tomorrow, they’ll all get up, they’ll all go to work, and they will all be able to do that work honestly, and their fellow citizens will be safe from harm. And that’s all that really matters."

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, September 20, 2011.

Secretary of Defence Lauds DADT Repeal

"First of all, let me acknowledge that this is an historic day for the Pentagon and for the nation. As of 12:01 a.m. this morning, we have the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," pursuant to the law that was passed by the Congress last December. Thanks to this change, I believe we move closer to achieving the goal at the foundation of the values that America’s all about - equality, equal opportunity and dignity for all Americans.

As Secretary of Defense, I am committed to removing all of the barriers that would prevent Americans from serving their country and from rising to the highest level of responsibility that their talents and capabilities warrant. These are men and women who put their lives on the line in the defense of this country, and that’s what should matter the most.

I want to thank the repeal implementation team and the service secretaries along with the service chiefs for all of their efforts to ensure that DOD is ready to make this change, consistent with standards of military readiness, with military effectiveness, with unit cohesion and with the recruiting and retention of the armed forces.

All of the service chiefs have stated very clearly that all of these elements have been met in the review that they conducted. Over 97 percent of our 2.3 million men and women in uniform have now received education and training on repeal as as result of these efforts.

I also want to thank the Comprehensive Review Working Group for the work they did on the report that laid the groundwork for the change in this policy, and above all, I’d like to single out the person who’s next to me at this table, Admiral Mike Mullen. His courageous testimony and leadership on this issue, I think, were major factors in bringing us to this day. And he deserves a great deal of credit for what has occurred."

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, September 20, 2011.

Prez Lauds DADT Repeal

"Today, the discriminatory law known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is finally and formally repealed. As of today, patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love. As of today, our armed forces will no longer lose the extraordinary skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members. And today, as Commander in Chief, I want those who were discharged under this law to know that your country deeply values your service.

I was proud to sign the Repeal Act into law last December because I knew that it would enhance our national security, increase our military readiness, and bring us closer to the principles of equality and fairness that define us as Americans. Today’s achievement is a tribute to all the patriots who fought and marched for change; to Members of Congress, from both parties, who voted for repeal; to our civilian and military leaders who ensured a smooth transition; and to the professionalism of our men and women in uniform who showed that they were ready to move forward together, as one team, to meet the missions we ask of them.

For more than two centuries, we have worked to extend America’s promise to all our citizens. Our armed forces have been both a mirror and a catalyst of that progress, and our troops, including gays and lesbians, have given their lives to defend the freedoms and liberties that we cherish as Americans. Today, every American can be proud that we have taken another great step toward keeping our military the finest in the world and toward fulfilling our nation’s founding ideals."

President Barack Obama, September 20, 2011.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

NYC Same Sex Marriage FAQSs

"New York City has always prided itself on its openness and diversity, and we look forward to welcoming all couples who want to get married amid our bright lights and legendary sights, including many landmarks of gay history. Whether you are a native New Yorker or someone who has dreamed of having your wedding in New York City, that opportunity is now yours. The City is committed to accommodating all eligible couples who would like to marry, whether they are of the same or opposite sex." The City of New York, Office of the City Clerk, Marriage Bureau.

Monday, July 25, 2011

NYC Officials Inaugurate SSM

"Today was a historic day in our City, and we couldn’t be prouder that on the first day that everyone in New York City could have their love affirmed in the eyes of the law, we were able to serve everyone. I want to thank all of the city workers and volunteers who made this success possible." Mayor Michael Bloomberg, July 24, 2011.

"It was an overwhelming experience to see the outpouring of love and community on New York City's first day of marriage equality. All the great stories that came pouring out today in every borough show what all of us who have fought a lifetime for this knew and know, that moving human rights forward makes us a better society. Today is a great day for my family and countless others." Council Speaker Christine Quinn, July 24, 2011.

“It was an honor and a privilege to preside over the first same-sex weddings in New York City, and I look forward to continuing to serve all New Yorkers who wish to get married [in an] equal and respectful manner. City Clerk Michael McSweeney, July 24, 2011.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Calif. Gov. Signs Bill to Teach LGBT Contributions

"History should be honest. This bill revises existing laws that prohibit discrimination in education and ensures that the important contributions of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life are included in our history books. It represents an important step forward for our state, and I thank Senator Leno for his hard work on this historic legislation." California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., July 14, 2011.


SECTION 1. Section 51204.5 of the Education Code is amended to
51204.5. Instruction in social sciences shall include the early
history of California and a study of the role and contributions of
both men and women, Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican
Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, European Americans,
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with
disabilities, and members of other ethnic and cultural groups, to the
economic, political, and social development of California and the
United States of America, with particular emphasis on portraying the
role of these groups in contemporary society.
SEC. 2. Section 51500 of the Education Code is amended to read:
51500. A teacher shall not give instruction and a school district
shall not sponsor any activity that promotes a discriminatory bias
on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, religion, disability,
nationality, sexual orientation, or because of a characteristic
listed in Section 220.
SEC. 3. Section 51501 of the Education Code is amended to read:
51501. The state board and any governing board shall not adopt
any textbooks or other instructional materials for use in the public
schools that contain any matter reflecting adversely upon persons on
the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, religion, disability,
nationality, sexual orientation, or because of a characteristic
listed in Section 220.
SEC. 4. Section 60040 of the Education Code is amended to read:
60040. When adopting instructional materials for use in the
schools, governing boards shall include only instructional materials
which, in their determination, accurately portray the cultural and
racial diversity of our society, including:
(a) The contributions of both men and women in all types of roles,
including professional, vocational, and executive roles.
(b) The role and contributions of Native Americans, African
Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders,
European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender
Americans, persons with disabilities, and members of other ethnic and
cultural groups to the total development of California and the
United States.
(c) The role and contributions of the entrepreneur and labor in
the total development of California and the United States.
SEC. 5. Section 60044 of the Education Code is amended to read:
60044. A governing board shall not adopt any instructional
materials for use in the schools that, in its determination, contain:
(a) Any matter reflecting adversely upon persons on the basis of
race or ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, nationality, sexual
orientation, occupation, or because of a characteristic listed in
Section 220.
(b) Any sectarian or denominational doctrine or propaganda
contrary to law.
SEC. 6. It is the intent of the Legislature that alternative and
charter schools take notice of the provisions of this act in light of
Section 235 of the Education Code, which prohibits discrimination on
the basis of disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity,
religion, sexual orientation, or other specified characteristics in
any aspect of the operation of alternative and charter schools.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

9th Circuit Lifts DADT Stay

"Appellee/cross-appellant’s motion to lift this court’s November 1, 2010, order granting a stay of the district court’s judgment pending appeal is granted. In their briefs, appellants/cross-appellees do not contend that 10 U.S.C. § 654 is constitutional. In addition, in the context of the Defense of M arriage Act, 1 U.S.C.§ 7, the United States has recently taken the position that classifications based on sexual orientation should be subjected to heightened scrutiny. See Golinski v. U.S. Office of Pers. Mgmt.(“gay and lesbian individuals have suffered a long and significant history of purposeful discrimination”); Letter from Attorney General to Speaker of House of Representatives (Feb. 23, 2011) (“there is, regrettably, a significant history of purposeful discrimination against gay and lesbian people, by governmental as well as private entities”). Appellants/cross-appellees state that the process of repealing Section 654 is well underway, and the preponderance of the armed forces are expected to have been trained by mid-summer. The circumstances and balance of hardships have changed, and appellants/cross-appellees can no longer satisfy the demanding standard for issuance of a stay." Kozinski, Chief Judge, Wardlaw and Paez, Circuit Judges, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, July 6, 2011.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

NYC Mayor Lauds Gay Marriage Bill

"Today's passage in the New York State Senate of legislation recognizing the right of couples to marry regardless of their gender is a historic triumph for equality and freedom. New York has always been a leader in movements to extend freedom and equality to people who had been denied full membership in the American family. By welcoming all people - no matter where they are from, what faith or philosophy they follow, or whom they love - New York became the strongest, most dynamic city in the world. And today, we are even stronger than we were yesterday. In recent weeks, I have had many conversations with our State Senators. I emphasized that not only is marriage equality consistent with bedrock American principles, but it is also consistent with bedrock Republican Party principles of liberty and freedom - and the Republicans who stood up today for those principles will long be remembered for their courage, foresight, and wisdom. In fact, 10 or 20 or 30 years from now, I believe they will look back at this vote as one of their finest, proudest moments. I want to thank the Senators for graciously taking the time to talk with me over the past few weeks, and for approaching this issue so thoughtfully and honestly. Based on my conversations with senators, I was fully convinced that if we could get a bill to the floor for a vote, we would have marriage equality in New York State. So I want to thank Majority Leader Skelos for allowing democracy to work - and allowing the will of the people to be done. And I especially want to thank Senators McDonald, Alesi, Saland and Grisanti for having the courage of their convictions and bringing this historic change to New York." New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, June 24, 2011.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Republican Senator Supports Marriage Equality

[watch the video - New York State Senator Mark Grisanti explains his support of the Marriage Equality Bill]

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Announces Passage of Marriage Equality Act

[watch the video]

New York Passes Marriage Equality Act

"New York has finally torn down the barrier that has prevented same-sex couples from exercising the freedom to marry and from receiving the fundamental protections that so many couples and families take for granted. With the world watching, the Legislature, by a bipartisan vote, has said that all New Yorkers are equal under the law. With this vote, marriage equality will become a reality in our state, delivering long overdue fairness and legal security to thousands of New Yorkers."
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, June 24, 2011.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

UN Supports GLBT Rights... sort of

Action on Resolution on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
"In a resolution (A/HRC/17/L.9/Rev.1) regarding human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, 19 against, and 3 abstentions, the Council requests the High Commissioner to commission a study to be finalised by December 2011 to document discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, in all regions of the world, and how international human rights law can be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity; decides to convene a panel discussion during the nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council, informed by the facts contained in the study commissioned by the High Commissioner and to have constructive, informed and transparent dialogue on the issue of discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity; and decides also that the panel will also discuss the appropriate follow-up to the recommendations of the study commissioned by the High Commissioner." United Nations Human Rights Council, June 17, 2011.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gov. Cuomo Lauds Assembly on Marriage Equality

"The vote by the State Assembly has moved New York one step closer to making marriage equality a reality. I applaud these legislators' prompt and courageous support on this measure, which will finally allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry and provide them with hundreds of rights that others take for granted. I commend Speaker Sheldon Silver for his leadership and Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell for his tireless work fighting for equality. We are on the verge of a pinnacle moment for this state." New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, June 15, 2011.

NY Assembly Passes Marriage Equality Act

"This is an immense step toward achieving true equality for all here in New York. I am very proud that under Speaker Silver’s strong leadership and with his unwavering support, we in the Assembly have powerfully voiced our deep-seated belief in equality and rejected legalized discrimination yet again. Since we first passed Marriage Equality four years ago, the need for this law has only grown, with same-sex couples in New York facing daily discrimination from our state. This must end. This issue remains profoundly important to me; it is not just a professional goal, but a personal mission. My partner John and I have been together for over 30 years, and we have awaited the ability to marry in our home state for many of them. Today, for the fourth time, the Assembly declared that now is the time." New York Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell (D-Manhattan), June 15, 2011.

Governor Cuomo Proposes Marriage Equality Act

"From the fight for women's suffrage to the struggle for civil rights, New Yorkers have been on the right side of history. But on the issue of marriage equality, our state has fallen behind. For too long, same-sex couples have been denied the freedom to marry, as well as hundreds of rights that other New Yorkers take for granted. Marriage Equality is a matter of fairness and legal security for thousands of families in this state – not of religion or culture. When it comes to fighting for what's right, New Yorkers wrote the book, and Marriage Equality is the next chapter of our civil rights story." New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, June 14, 2011.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Minnesota Rep. Fights Anti-Gay Marriage Proposal

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Senator Feinstein Introduces DOMA Repeal

"There are tens of thousands of legally married same-sex couples in the United States, and more than 18,000 in my home state of California alone. These couples live their lives like all married people; they share the bills, they raise children together, and they care for each other in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, until death do they part. But because of DOMA, they have been denied federal protections. It is time to right this wrong. This bill will ensure that all married couples in the United States enjoy equal protection of our laws." Senator Dianne Feinstein introduces Respect for Marriage Act to repeal DOMA, March 16, 2011.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Attorney General Won't Defend DOMA

"In the two years since this Administration took office, the Department of Justice has defended Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act on several occasions in federal court. Each of those cases evaluating Section 3 was considered in jurisdictions in which binding circuit court precedents hold that laws singling out people based on sexual orientation, as DOMA does, are constitutional if there is a rational basis for their enactment. While the President opposes DOMA and believes it should be repealed, the Department has defended it in court because we were able to advance reasonable arguments under that rational basis standard.

Section 3 of DOMA has now been challenged in the Second Circuit, however, which has no established or binding standard for how laws concerning sexual orientation should be treated. In these cases, the Administration faces for the first time the question of whether laws regarding sexual orientation are subject to the more permissive standard of review or whether a more rigorous standard, under which laws targeting minority groups with a history of discrimination are viewed with suspicion by the courts, should apply.

After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’s determination.

Consequently, the Department will not defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA as applied to same-sex married couples in the two cases filed in the Second Circuit...

Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed DOMA. The Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are unconstitutional. Congress has repealed the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Several lower courts have ruled DOMA itself to be unconstitutional. Section 3 of DOMA will continue to remain in effect unless Congress repeals it or there is a final judicial finding that strikes it down, and the President has informed me that the Executive Branch will continue to enforce the law. But while both the wisdom and the legality of Section 3 of DOMA will continue to be the subject of both extensive litigation and public debate, this Administration will no longer assert its constitutionality in court.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, February 23, 2011.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hawaii Governor Praises Civil Union Bill

“I have always believed that civil unions respect our diversity, protect people's privacy, and reinforce our core values of equality and aloha.

“I appreciate all the time and effort invested by those who shared their thoughts and concerns regarding civil unions in Hawai‘i. This has been an emotional process for everyone involved, but that process is now ended. Everyone has been heard; all points of view respected.

“For me, this bill represents equal rights for all the people of Hawai‘i.”

Governor Neil Abercrombie, February 16, 2011, on passage of Civil Unions Bill.

Monday, January 31, 2011

HUD Non-Discrimination Policy

Thank you all for joining us. I’m pleased to spend a few minutes with you today as we continue to make inclusivity and diversity cornerstones of all HUD’s programs and policies - and announce a new rule ensuring LGBT individuals and families can benefit from all our programs. As I have said before, the work HUD does is but one part of President Obama’s larger fight for equality on behalf of the LGBT community...

Whether it is giving same-sex couples hospital visitation rights or ensuring federal workers can afford long-term care for their partners, this administration is committed to fighting discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. And as it has been in so many civil rights battles over the last four decades, I want to make sure that HUD is a leader in this fight. That’s why, over the last 24 months, we have worked to ensure that our housing programs are open to all. We’ve conducted the first-ever national study of LGBT housing discrimination - which we designed based on feedback from town halls HUD leadership conducted in communities across the country.

For the first time at our annual National Fair Housing Policy Conference, HUD hosted a session on housing discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. In addition, we provided staff with new fair housing guidance instructing them to carefully assess whether any LGBT-based housing discrimination complaints could be pursued through the Fair Housing Act or state or local discrimination laws. And we have required grant applicants seeking a total of $3.25 billion in federal funding to comply with state and local anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT individuals - covering 21 states and representing 41 percent of the US population. These are but the first steps we’ve taken to ensure that all American families - regardless of age, income, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation - have access to choice and opportunity.

Today, I am proud to announce another important step as HUD proposes new regulations that make clear that the term "family" includes LGBT individuals and couples as eligible beneficiaries of our public housing and Housing Choice Voucher programs.

Let me take a moment to explain why this rule is so important. HUD programs are designed and administered with a simple goal in mind: a decent home for every American. It is HUD’s responsibility to ensure that everyone - organizations, individuals, and families - have equal access to our programs and can compete fairly for our funds.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen evidence that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and families are being arbitrarily excluded from some housing opportunities. For instance, two years ago Michelle DeShane, a lesbian, wanted to add her partner Mitch, a transgender male, to her housing voucher. The local housing authority denied her request because the couple did not meet its definition of "family." Then, the housing authority referred the couple to a neighboring housing authority - because, as they were apparently told, the neighboring housing authority, quote, "accepts everyone - even Martians." That’s not right. No one should be subject to that kind of treatment or denied access to federal housing assistance because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

And so, through this proposed rule, this administration is ensuring that when it comes to housing assistance funded with taxpayer dollars, they won’t be. Specifically, it adds "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the list of definitions applicable to HUD programs. It clarifies HUD regulations to ensure that all eligible families have the opportunity to participate in HUD programs regardless of marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity. It prohibits inquiries regarding sexual orientation or gender identity and makes clear that gender identity and sexual orientation should not and cannot be part of any lending decision when it comes to getting an FHA-insured mortgage.

Allow me to conclude with a few words about why this rule is so important. For more than 200 years, family and home have gone hand-in-hand in America - our families are inextricably linked to the places in which we raise them. And if nothing else, my two years at HUD during this economic crisis have only brought that point home, so to speak. Home is where our families return when the day is over - where we eat dinner together and discuss our days together. It’s where we gather to celebrate holidays and birthdays - and sadder occasions as well. It’s where we put our kids to bed - and where our kids wake us up. Most important of all, it’s where we teach them to make good, responsible decisions that will impact not only their lives - but the lives of so many others.

These are the kinds of values our country celebrates - and every family in America should have the opportunity to pass them on to their children. That is why this rule is so important - and it’s why I’m so proud to make this announcement today.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, January 20, 2011.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Clinton Deplores Murder of Ugandan Gay Activist

We are profoundly saddened by the loss of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato, who was brutally murdered in his home near Kampala yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues. We urge Ugandan authorities to quickly and thoroughly investigate and prosecute those responsible for this heinous act.

David Kato tirelessly devoted himself to improving the lives of others. As an advocate for the group Sexual Minorities Uganda, he worked to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. His efforts resulted in groundbreaking recognition for Uganda's LGBT community, including the Uganda Human Rights Commission's October 2010 statement on the unconstitutionality of Uganda's draft "anti-homosexuality bill" and the Ugandan High Court's January 3 ruling safeguarding all Ugandans' right to privacy and the preservation of human dignity. His tragic death underscores how critical it is that both the government and the people of Uganda, along with the international community, speak out against the discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of Uganda's LGBT community, and work together to ensure that all individuals are accorded the same rights and dignity to which each and every person is entitled.

Everywhere I travel on behalf of our country, I make it a point to meet with young people and activists -- people like David -- who are trying to build a better, stronger future for their societies. I let them know that America stands with them, and that their ideas and commitment are indispensible to achieving the progress we all seek.

This crime is a reminder of the heroic generosity of the people who advocate for and defend human rights on behalf of the rest of us -- and the sacrifices they make. And as we reflect on his life, it is also an occasion to reaffirm that human rights apply to everyone, no exceptions, and that the human rights of LGBT individuals cannot be separated from the human rights of all persons.

Our ambassadors and diplomats around the world will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights policy, and to stand with those who, with their courage, make the world a more just place where every person can live up to his or her God-given potential. We honor David’s legacy by continuing the important work to which he devoted his life.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, January 27, 2011.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

NY Governor Supports Marriage Equality

"Fairness demands that marriage equality become a reality now. New York has been surpassed by many other countries which have legalized marriage for same-sex couples including Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, South Africa, Norway, Sweden and Portugal; as well as by many states including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire.

Marriage equality is a question of principle and the State should not discriminate against same-sex couples who wish to get married. Without marriage equality same-sex couples, and their families, are unjustly denied over 1,000 federal and 700 state rights and responsibilities. For instance, spouses have hopsital visitation rights and can make medical decisions in the event of illness or disability of their spouse; employers offer spouses sick leave, bereavement leave, access to health insurance and pension; and the law provides certain automatic rights to a person’s spouse regardless of whether or not a will exists. None of these rights exist automatically for same-sex couples in the absence of marriage.

Therefore, I will fight to make marriage equality a reality."

New York at a Crossroads: A Transformation Plan for a New New York - Annual Message - State of New York [published version].

"We believe in justice for all, then let’s pass marriage equality this year once and for all." State of the State Address [spoken version].

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, January 5, 2011.