Statement from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund on today’s discharge petition on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with narrow religious exemption


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Statement from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund on today’s discharge petition on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with narrow religious exemption

WASHINGTON, DC: Sept. 17, 2014 — “This is a great victory in the work to end employment discrimination for LGBT people once and for all. The new, fair version of ENDA that the Task Force and many others in the LGBT community have been calling for has now emerged in the US House with both strong protections for LGBT employees and a new reasonable religious exemption — treating LGBT people the same as other protected classes. Thank you Leader Pelosi and US Representative Polis for your moral and political leadership in moving this forward. LGBT people need strong protections from discrimination and we have waited too long for anything less. Legal equality is legal equality. We urge law makers to seize this moment and support the discharge petition.”

Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

Congressman Polis filed H.R. 678 to narrow the religious exemption in ENDA and today he has introduced a discharge petition to on the senate passed version of ENDA, S 815. A discharge petition is a parliamentary procedure wherein if a majority of members of the House of Representatives sign the discharge petition, the measure may “discharged” from committee and be brought directly to the floor for consideration.

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10 Republican Red States That Mooch off Coastal Liberal States


One of the most hilarious talking points coming from far-right Republicans and the Tea Party is that when “red states” like Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana are asked to bail out California or Massachusetts, that’s when they will finally become “fed up with socialism” and secede from the Union once and for all.

The problem with that meme is that it has no basis in reality: the more prosperous and Democrat-leaning areas of the United States are likely to be subsidizing dysfunctional “red states,” many of which are suffering from insufficient tax revenue and an abundance of low-wage workers who don’t have much to tax. Tea Party Republicans like to point out that poor cities like Detroit, Baltimore and Camden, New Jersey are run by Democrats, but they neglect to mention that some of the most affluent parts of the United States—from Manhattan to the Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area to Cambridge, MA to Seattle to Chicago’s North Shore suburbs—are dominated by the Democratic Party. People in those heavily Democratic areas pay a lot of federal income taxes, and quite often, their tax dollars go to red states.

Earlier this year, the personal finance website WalletHub.com conducted an in-depth study of the amounts individual states are paying in federal taxes compared to the amounts they are receiving. WalletHub analyzed data from the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Commerce Department and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. WalletHub’s research demonstrates that, as a rule, the states that are the most likely to rail against “big government” are the most likely to be benefiting from it.

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Personal Trainer Violently Beats Man in Park, Uses Gay Panic Defense


Emily Miller | Sun Sentinel | September 20, 2014

From our media partner Sun Sentinel: A Fort Lauderdale personal trainer punched a 63-year-old man about 20 times and then went to meet a client for a workout session, leaving his victim lying unconscious in a park, police said.

The victim, now in a coma, hadn’t regained consciousness and was not expected to recover, according to the affidavit.

Marcus Estimar, 28, of Fort Lauderdale, has been charged with second-degree attempted murder and aggravated battery causing bodily harm or disability. He is being held in the Broward Main Jail on a $255,000 bond.

Fort Lauderdale police found Leon Williams unconscious and lying face down at Middle River Terrace Park on Aug. 7, the affidavit stated.

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Pride@Work: Round up


It has been a busy week with a lot of news that affects LGBT workers. With so much going on, here are a few stories you may have missed:

  • Congressman Jared Polis introduces ENDA Discharge Petition – With only days to go before the fall Congressional break, Rep. Jared Polis (D – CO) introduced a bill to narrow the religious exemptions in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and discharge it from committee, where it has been languishing for the entire term. While the bill has broad support, it’s not likely to pass the 218 vote threshold necessary to get ENDA a floor vote before Congress leaves town for the election season recess. Read more at The Washington Blade.
  • Communications Workers and Teamsters Add 14,000 Passenger Service Reps. to Union Rolls – In an historic win for organized labor, American Airlines passenger service reps. voted overwhelmingly to unionize with 86% casting a “Yea” vote. The attempts to organize AA’s passenger service reps has been a 19 year-long campaign. The new union members will be part of a joint CWA/Teamsters bargaining unit. Read more at Labor Notes.
  • Lesbian Chemistry Teacher at Michigan Catholic High School Fired for Announcing Pregnancy – Barb Webb and her partner just wanted to share the great news that they were expecting a baby, but when their announcement was made public, the administration at Marian High School in Bloomfield Hills, MI decided to invoke the school’s morality clause against Barb and terminate her employment. Barb isn’t going away quietly and has mounted a letter-writing campaign targeting school officials and a petition setup in her name has garnered over 60,000 signatures and counting. Read more at StandWithBarb.
  • Lamar Alexander Unveils Plan to Create More Gridlock at NLRB – The current makeup of the National Labor Relations Board is set at 5 members – 3 from the sitting President’s party and two from the opposing party. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) unveiled a bill on Tuesday that would alter the makeup of the board by adding a seat to create an even split between the parties. While Alexander claims it would force the board to find more common ground, in truth, the most likely outcome of such a move would be permanent gridlock and years of unresolved labor disputes, which only benefits corporations. Read more at Huffington Post.
  • Senate Republicans Unanimously Vote to Block the Paycheck Fairness Act – We learned this week that the gender pay gap has shrunk by a whole penny in 2014 (don’t spend it all in one place, ladies.) Apparently, that news was enough to thwart a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act in the Senate. The Act would outlaw wage secrecy and narrow the legitimate reasons for workplace pay disparity, but Senate Republicans once again blocked the measure with a filibuster. Read more at MSNBC.
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Wyoming: Extending Marriage to Same-Sex Couples Could Add Over $2 Million to State Economy


For Immediate Distribution
September 16, 2014

Contact:
Laura Rodriguez, lrodriguez@rabengroup.com, (310) 956-2425
Brenda Arredondo, barredondo@rabengroup.com, (202) 587-4945

LOS ANGELES — Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Wyoming would generate an estimated $2.4 million in spending to the state economy, according to a new study authored by Williams Distinguished Scholar, M.V. Lee Badgett; Williams Gleason Kettel Summer Fellow, Justin M. O’Neill; and Williams Senior Counsel, Christy Mallory

“This study confirms that all Wyomingites benefit from marriage for same-sex couples, not just the LGBT community,” said Badgett.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the most recent data available, 657 same-sex couples live in Wyoming. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that 50 percent (329 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Over 211 marriages would occur in the first year alone, and bring over $1.6 million in revenue to the state of Wyoming that year.

Key findings include:
• 329 in-state same-sex couples would choose to marry in the three years following an opening of marriage to same-sex couples in Wyoming.
• The total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism by resident same-sex couples and their guests would add an estimated $2.4 million to the state and local economy of Wyoming over the course of three years, with a $1.6 million boost in the first year alone.
• This economic boost would add $134,000 in sales tax revenue to state and local coffers.
• Spending related to same-sex couples’ wedding ceremonies and celebrations would create 8 to 24 jobs in the tourism and recreation sector for the state.

Analyses are informed by the methodology that the Williams Institute has used in previous studies of the economic impact of marriage in a number of other states. State-level data, 2010 Census data, and American Community Survey data were all used to estimate the economic impact of extending marriage to same-sex couples in Wyoming. Estimates do not take into account the impact of same-sex couples from other states who will travel to Wyoming to marry.

“Study after study has demonstrated that, in addition to significant revenue, marriage for same-sex couples also creates new jobs,” noted Mallory.

Click here for the full study.

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Missouri: Extending Marriage to Same-Sex Couples Could Add Over $36 Million to State Economy


For Immediate Distribution
September 15, 2014

Contact:
Brenda Arredondo, barredondo@rabengroup.com, (202) 587-4945

LOS ANGELES — Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Missouri would generate an estimated $36.3 million in spending to the state economy, according to a new study authored by Williams Distinguished Scholar, M.V. Lee Badgett; Williams Gleason Kettel Summer Fellow, Justin M. O’Neill; and Williams Senior Counsel, Christy Mallory

“This study confirms that all Missourians benefit from marriage for same-sex couples, not just the LGBT community,” said Badgett.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the most recent data available, 10,557 same-sex couples live in Missouri. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that 50 percent (5,279 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Over 3,379 marriages would occur in the first year alone, and bring over $23 million in revenue to the state of Missouri that year.

Key findings include:
• We predict that 5,279 in-state same-sex couples would choose to marry in the three years following an opening of marriage to same-sex couples in Missouri.
• The total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism by resident same-sex couples and their guests would add an estimated $36.3 million to the state and local economy of Missouri over the course of three years, with a $23.2 million boost in the first year alone.
• This economic boost would add $2.75 million in sales tax revenue to state and local coffers.
• Spending related to same-sex couples’ wedding ceremonies and celebrations would create 312 to 936 jobs in the tourism and recreation sector for the state

Analyses are informed by the methodology that the Williams Institute has used in previous studies of the economic impact of marriage in a number of other states. State-level data, 2010 Census data, and American Community Survey data were all used to estimate the economic impact of extending marriage to same-sex couples in Missouri. Estimates do not take into account the impact of same-sex couples from other states who will travel to Missouri to marry.

“Study after study has demonstrated that, in addition to significant revenue, marriage for same-sex couples also creates new jobs,” noted Mallory.

Click here for the full study.

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Report Finds Lifting U.S. Ban On MSM Blood Donations Would Increase Total Annual Blood Supply By 2%-4%


For Immediate Distribution
September 19, 2014

Contact:
Laura Rodriguez, lrodriguez@rabengroup.com, (310) 956-2425
Brenda Arredondo, barredondo@rabengroup.com, (202) 587-4945

Current FDA blood ban on men who have sex with men prohibits such men from ever donating blood

LOS ANGELES – If the current FDA blood ban on men who have sex with men (MSM) were completely lifted, it is estimated that an additional 360,600 men would likely donate 615,300 additional pints of blood each year. According to a new study entitled, “UPDATE: Effects of Lifting Blood Donation Bans on Men Who Have Sex with Men,” authored by the Williams Institute’s Ayako Miyashita, Brian Belt HIV Law and Policy Fellow, and Gary J. Gates, Williams Distinguished Scholar, lifting the ban would increase the total annual blood supply in the U.S. by 2 to 4 percent.

“The American Red Cross suggests that each blood donation has the potential to be used in life-saving procedures on three individuals. Our estimates suggest that lifting the blood donation ban among MSM could be used to help save the lives of more than 1.8 million people,” said Miyashita.

If MSM who have not had sexual contact with another man in the past twelve months were permitted to donate, the report estimates that 185,800 additional men are likely to donate 317,000 additional pints of blood each year. If MSM who have not had sexual contact with another man in the past five years were permitted to donate, it is estimated that 172,000 additional men would make an additional 293,400 blood donations.

The FDA’s blood ban prohibits men who have had sex with men at any time since 1977 from ever donating blood. In recent years, both the United Kingdom and Canada have made changes to their laws shifting from an indefinite deferral of MSM to a twelve-month and five-year deferral, respectively. In Mexico, new regulations have established criteria for blood donation based on risk factors for transmission of blood-borne diseases.

Click here for the full report.

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Gays gassed at event in Russia


 | America Blog | September 19, 2014

Renowned Russian homophobe and St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, reportedly showed up with Russian Orthodox activists at a gay rights event in St. Petersburg, Russia, yesterday, doused the attendees with a green antisceptic liquid, and then gassed the room.

Several attendees fell ill from the gas, according to a report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Vitaly Milonov, the author of St. Petersburg, Russia's anti-gay "propaganda" ban, is apparently a tiny bit crazy

Milonov is the author of the local St. Petersburg version of a series of draconian “gay propaganda” laws that have caused quite a stir in the past two years.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Watch 6th Circuit For SCOTUS’ Next Move On Gay Marriage


BRIAN BAKST | Huffington Post | September 19, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — People seeking clues about how soon the Supreme Court might weigh in on states’ gay marriage bans should pay close attention to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told a Minnesota audience Tuesday.

Ginsburg said cases pending before the circuit covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee would probably play a role in the high court’s timing. She said “there will be some urgency” if that appeals court allows same-sex marriage bans to stand. Such a decision would run contrary to a legal trend favoring gay marriage and force the Supreme Court to step in sooner, she predicted.

She said if the appeals panel falls in line with other rulings there is “no need for us to rush.”

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The Stunning Velocity Of The Marriage Equality Movement


Chris Geidner  | Buzzfeed | September 19, 2014

View this image ›

Justine Zwiebel/BuzzFeed

WASHINGTON — When a federal court ruled on Louisiana’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages earlier this month, something shocking happened: The judge upheld the ban.

U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman ruled the state’s marriage ban was constitutional — issuing the first federal court decision examining the question and finding such a ban to be constitutionally permissible in more than a year.

Even he realized this was an unusual decision. “It would no doubt be celebrated to be in the company of the near-unanimity of the many other federal courts that have spoken to this pressing issue,” Feldman wrote in his opinion.

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