Approximately 62,000 LGBT Workers in Oklahoma Lack Statewide Protections against Ongoing Employment Discrimination


For Immediate Distribution

January 22, 2015

Contact: Laura Rodriguez, lrodriguez@rabengroup.com, (310) 956-2425 (310) 956-2425 Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, (202) 587-2871 (202) 587-2871

LOS ANGELES — Approximately 62,000 LGBT workers in Oklahoma are vulnerable to employment discrimination absent explicit statewide legal protections, according to a new report co-authored by Christy Mallory, Senior Counsel, and Brad Sears, Executive Director, at the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute. Currently, seven cities in Oklahoma have ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in public sector employment, but do not include gender identity or private sector employment; approximately 99% of Oklahoma’s workforce is not covered by these laws. “A statewide law prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity would bring new protections to thousands of workers without burdening courts and agencies,” Mallory said. “Most likely, the cost of handling complaints filed under the law could be absorbed into the existing enforcement system with no need for additional staff or resources.” Key findings from the report include: • Several recent instances of employment discrimination against LGBT people in Oklahoma have been documented in the media and lawsuits; these include reports from a teacher, two police officers, and a librarian. • Census data show that in Oklahoma, the median income of men in same-sex couples is 23% lower than the median income of men in different sex marriages. • Approximately 99% of Oklahoma’s workforce is not covered by a local ordinance that prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation in public and private sector employment. None of Oklahoma’s workforce is protected by a local ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity. • Several universities and private sector employers in Oklahoma have implemented their own internal policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. • Public opinion in Oklahoma supports the passage of legal protections for LGBT people. In response to a national poll conducted in 2011, 68% of respondents from Oklahoma said that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity should be prohibited in the U.S. • A statewide non-discrimination law would result in approximately 29 additional complaints being filed each year with the Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights Enforcement. • The anticipated new complaints could likely be absorbed into the existing system with no need for additional staff and negligible costs. Findings from the Oklahoma report are consistent with national data.

For full report, click here.

PFLAG: Policy Matters


Policy Matters from PFLAG National
Take Action

Please ask your federal legislators to prevent and respond to discrimination and violence against LGBT people globally by becoming an Original Cosponsor of the International Human Rights Defense Act of 2015.

Sen. Ed Markey will soon re-introduce the International Human Rights Defense Act of 2015, which PFLAG National supported in the last Congress and formally endorses in this Congress. The bill makes it a U.S. foreign policy priority for the State Department to respond to discrimination and violence against the LGBT community globally, and creates a new Special Envoy position at the State Department to coordinate those efforts. Congressman Alan Lowenthal is introducing a companion bill in the House.

Please reach your two Senators and one U.S. Representative by clicking here and include your name, complete address with zip code, and consider using this suggested PFLAG message: 

As your constituent and as a member of PFLAG, I urge you to become an original cosponsor of The International Human Rights Defense Act of 2015. PFLAG’s values are America’s values and that includes making it a foreign policy priority to prevent and respond to discrimination and violence against LGBT people globally. Thank you for considering this, and thank you especially if you have already signed on.  If you have not, please cosponsor by reaching Jen_Wagner@markey.senate.gov in Sen. Markey’s office or tim.hysom@mail.house.gov in Congressman Lowenthal’s office.  Again, thank you.


You’re Invited

Trans and LGBT people of color are focus of new Victory Institute Fellowship. Please share with your fellow chapter members that The Victory Institute, in partnership with the Arcus Foundation, has announced a groundbreaking fellowship to support openly transgender and people of color who are openly LGBT who are both leaders in their communities and interested in public service.The Victory Institute is now accepting applications for the 2015 cohort of Victory Empowerment Fellows. For more information, visit the Victory Empowerment Fellowship webpage, or contact Victory staff.


Courts Matter

SCOTUS will hear cases challenging same-sex marriage bans; could end bans nationally. The Supreme Court of the U.S. ruled on Friday, January 16, to hear jointly cases in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, expected by late June, which could end bans across the nation. Also, the Obama administration will urge SCOTUS to affirm the freedom to marry nationally.

Federal judge rules South Dakota same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. On Monday, January 12th, U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier struck down South Dakota’s law banning same-sex marriage on the basis that it violates rights under the Fourteenth Amendment in a 28-page decision. She granted summary judgment to plaintiff same-sex couples in the case.

Military judge indefinitely postpones court martial hearing for gay air force lieutenant. Air Force Col. Ira Perkins in his role as Deputy Chief Trial Judge in the pre-court martial hearing of gay Marine Lt. Joshua (Josh) Seefried, a prominent advocate for the repeal of DADT, indefinitely delayed the Article 32 hearing on December 12th, which had been set to begin on January 26th.

 

Media Matters

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reaffirms his opposition to laws criminalizing homosexuality. Ki-moon made his remarks–stating that anti-sodomy laws “breed intolerance”–during an event in the Indian capital of New Delhi marking the 70th anniversary of the U.N.’s founding. India is among the more than 70 countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain illegal.

Christian mom affirms support of her gender-expansive child. On January 16th, mom Lisa added added her voice to the growing number of parents who, despite strong faith traditions often preaching the opposite, voiced her affirmation and support of her gender-expansive child. To read more stories of support from parents of faith, visit PFLAG National’s A Note to My Kid blog.

Funeral for Colorado-based lesbian moved due to minister’s lack of support for same-sex marriage. Vanessa Collier’s family and friends were shocked to learn that the funeral was being moved from New Hope Ministries…ten minutes after service was supposed to have started.

Amazon Studios, TRANSPARENT make history at the 2015 Golden Globes. Not only was it Amazon’s first-ever Golden Globe award, “Transparent” also became the first online series to ever win a best series award, comedy or drama, at the annual awards show. Several days post-win, creator Jill Soloway shared her feelings on why the wins were so important, to her and the community.

Tiffany & Co. features first same-sex couple in engagement ad campaign. For the first time, Tiffany & Co. is featuring a gay couple in its latest engagement campaign. (Fun fact: the pair are not models but an unnamed, real-life NYC couple.) Tiffany & Co. joins a growing list of companies taking their brand in this direction.

Nominees announced for 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. Among the nominees: Amazon Instant Video’s smash hit Transparent; ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder; and HBO’s Game of Thrones, Looking, and The Normal Heart.

Out writer/poet Saeed Jones named finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards, For his poetry collection Prelude to Bruise. Jones is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize and the editor of BuzzFeed LGBT. Earlier this week,in a New York Times op-ed, he shared a bit about the importance to him of his poetry writing.

Company to take down ex-gay therapy billboard in Dallas, says it was misled by advertiser. The president of the advertising company that’s hosting an “ex-gay” therapy billboard in Dallas says the company was misled about the nature of the sign or he wouldn’t have allowed it to go up.

Gambia president opposes LGBT people speaking out. Gambian President Yahya Jammeh used a speech to again rail against homosexuality and LGBT people.

Kyrgyzstan’s legislature opposes same-sex marriage. On January 16th, the European Parliament held an emergency debate on the bill that is currently going through the Kyrgyzstan legislature that will outlaw ‘homosexual propaganda’. It is similar to the law in Russia, but is far more draconian.

Macedonia legislature approves same-sex marriage ban. By a constitutional amendment vote on January 21st, marriage is now defined exclusively as between one man and one woman.

Mexico celebrates same-sex marriage. While some cities delayed recognition of Mexico’s Supreme Court, same-sex marriage is the law of the land, and cities are falling in line.

Lesbian teacher fired after Russian anti-gay activist complains to school. A music teacher at a St. Petersburg school for disabled children has turned to a court after she was fired for “amoral action” after an anti-gay activist outed her as a lesbian, an LGBT rights group said in a statement. The group has since filed a lawsuit on her behalf.

Thailand poised to recognize ‘third gender’ in new constitution. Members of a commission charged with writing Thailand’s new constitution this week said they have proposed the inclusion of “third gender” people in its non-discrimination clause. The Nation, a Bangkok-based newspaper, on Wednesday reported the “third gender” provision would be the first time a Thai constitution would specifically acknowledge gender. That said, LGBT Thais still lack basic legal protections.

Gay Ukranians are disappointed by continued lack of protections and acceptance. Ukrainians thought that, post-Maidan, their country would start to look more like Europe. But for members of the LGBT community, things may have even gotten worse.

Gay men and women in the United Kingdom are celebrating 15 years of open military service. A small group of gay service members took their case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), with the case being hardly defended by the UK government.

Federal Matters

Pres. Obama cites same-sex marriage as a civil right in State of the Union speech. Speaking in the U.S. Capitol on January 20th, before a joint session of Congress and six of the Supreme Court justices who will likely decide the freedom to marry issue, President Obama called same-sex marriage a “story of freedom” and “a civil right” in his 2015 State of the Union (SOTU) address. Also historic? His affirming inclusion of the words ‘transgender,’ ‘bisexual,’ and ‘lesbian,’ the first time any of these words–or these groups–have been included in a SOTU address. Truly a thrilling and moving moment for PFLAGers everywhere.

U.S. State Department considers phasing out domestic partnership benefits. On January 14th, The Washington Blade reported exclusively that the U.S. State Department is considering phasing out domestic partner benefits for unmarried LGBT employees following the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) ruling that struck down Section 3 of The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Journal of LGBT Health cites tracking violent deaths as path to reducing health disparities. The article describes an on-going effort to develop a protocol to begin systematically tracking how and why LGBTQ people die as a strategy toward reducing health disparities.

 

State Matters

Georgia – Georgia Equality launches campaign to fight so-called Religious Liberty Bill. PFLAG chapter members and supporters in Georgia will be called on to be involved in this important legislative work with the Georgia General Assembly. Stay tuned.

Illinois – Chicago City Council unanimously votes to prohibit police profiling of trans people. On January 21st, the Chicago City Council approved the expansion of an existing city ordinance prohibiting police profiling based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability, military discharge, marital, financial or parental status to include gender identity and national origin. Training will include transgender sensitivity training conducted by local advocacy groups.

Massachusetts – Boston Globe editorial board calls passing of Transgender Equality Act “crucial”. Massachusetts has in place non-discrimination state law covering employment, housing, credit, public education, and hate crimes but lacks protection for public accommodations. PFLAG is a leader in the state coalition on this effort.

Michigan – Michigan Governor urges fellow Republican legislators not to abandon quest for inclusive LGBT non-discrimination legislation. PFLAGers, including former PFLAG National Board member, minister and trans woman Rev. Julie Nemecek, were active and ready to testify in the last legislative session to move the LGBT fully inclusive non-discrimination Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act that waned at the session’s end. Stay tuned as action in Michigan fires back up in 2015.

Mississippi – Starkville, Miss. repeals pro-LGBT non-discrimination resolution. The state’s first city to pass an anti-discrimination resolution back in 2013 quietly repealed that resolution on January 9th in a closed-door session. Lawmakers also rescinded a policy that extended health insurance coverage to same-sex domestic partners of city employees.

Pennsylvania – Governor-Elect names transgender woman to his cabinet. Dr. Rachel Levine–currently a professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where she also serves as chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders–will serve as Physician General, advising the governor and secretary of the Department of Health on medical and public health-related issues.

South Carolina/Texas – SC and TX file legislation to punish state government employees for recognizing same-sex marriages. SC legislators introduced House Bill H. 3022 and TX legislators introduced House Bill 623, both of which restrict state funds and state employees’ time from participation in licensing or supporting same-sex marriages.

Virginia – Gov. McAuliffe vows to veto “Conscience Clause” bill if passed. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on Monday, January 12th said he would veto “in a nanosecond” a bill that would allow state licensed or accredited business owners to deny service to someone based on their religious beliefs. The comment against House Bill 1414 came in response to a question at a Richmond press conference during which the governor discussed what he described as his “equal opportunity” legislative agenda for the 2015 General Assembly, which began on January 14th.

West Virginia – Anne Levinson on appointment to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission. Anne Levinson has had an impressive public service and civic career. Among her notable successes, she chaired the statewide campaign that stopped the attempted repeal of the state’s domestic partnership law.

Wyoming – ‘Protect Working Wyoming’ launches to communicate workplace equality. Protect Working Wyoming is a new coalition of Wyoming people who support adding enumerated protections to Wyoming’s law. Under current Wyoming law, an individual can be fired, demoted or denied the opportunity for promotion because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

Dear Policy Matters

Dear Policy Matters:

I am so excited that The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is going to consider freedom to marry on the basis of four states’ court cases, but I’m not clear on what they are deciding, when to expect more activity and what the attorneys are supposed to talk about. Can you help?

Sincerely,
Patiently Awaiting SCOTUS

Dear PAS:

On Friday, January 16th, SCOTUS announced that it will take up four cases, all heard at once. Those four cases ask SCOTUS whether Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee state bans on same-sex couples’ marriages and also the states’ bans on recognition of same-sex couples marriages celebrated in other states violate the U.S. Constitution guarantees for due process and for equal protection.

SCOTUS granted two questions for argument, one about marriage and the other about marriage recognition. They are:

  1. “Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?”; and

  2. “Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?”

Per the court’s order, there will be 90 minutes of argument on the marriage question and 60 minutes of argument on the marriage recognition question.

The same-sex couples plaintiffs’ briefs are due by 2:00PM on Friday, February 27th. The states’ briefs will be due by 2:00PM on Friday, March 27th, and the reply briefs from the plaintiffs will be due by 2:00PM on Friday, April 17th.

Most likely in late April, the justices will hold arguments over the issues, which would mean a decision, and possible nationwide resolution of the issue of marriage and marriage recognition, potentially delivered by late June.

For greater detail and background on this development read this article by Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed and also this primer by Chris Johnson at The Washington Blade.

And, as always, stay tuned to Policy Matters for further updates, and follow PFLAG National on Facebook and Twitter for breaking news as it happens.

Click on any of the links below to read any of the numerous briefs amici (friend of the court) to Circuit Courts, State Supreme Court and The Supreme Court of the United States on the topic of the freedom to marry:

Papyrus Found in a Mummy Mask May Be the Oldest Known Copy of a Gospel


Laura Clark | Smithsonian | January 21, 2015

<img src=”http://thumbs.media.smithsonianmag.com//filer/b0/64/b06466b6-a51b-401b-8d5f-e79232416dce/papyrus_42-21303735.jpg__800x600_q85_crop.jpg” alt=”” itemprop=”image”> A fragment from a copy of the Gospel of John, circa 200AD, is displayed at Sotheby’s auctioneers in London. Researchers now claim to have found a gospel text that is over 100 years older. (SUZANNE PLUNKETT/Reuters/Corbis)

When most of us think of ancient mummies, we tend to imagine them decked out in jewels and crowned with masks of gold. But such finery was reserved for those who died wealthy; the mummy masks of ordinary people were typically made only of more humble mediums like papyrus, glue and paint. Even then, the expense of papyrus meant that the material destined for the grave was often recycled from previous uses.

Now, as Live Science reports, one team of researchers believes that they may have found the oldest-known copy of a gospel within the papyrus-wrapped mask of one of these less well-off mummies. The writing on the scrap is thought to be a part of the Gospel of Mark and date back to around 90 A.D.—decades earlier than any other previously discovered gospel text.

The text hasn’t been published yet; after much delay, a volume containing the gospel text and other documents pulled by the team from masks and cartonnage is set to be published later this year. These discoveries were made possible by a technique that removes the glue from papyrus or linen but keeps any writing in tact.

Read more

The Little Pink Triangle


Image for The little pink triangle

 Andrew Heaver | Samesame | January 22, 2015

Now we’re into Australia’s long and sparkly Pride season, there are certain things we can expect to see more of in our major cities. Rainbows, of course. Everywhere, and on every conceivable promotional item. Tinsel-encrusted promotions for the big four banks, each attempting to out-do the others in presenting themselves as gay-friendly places to do business. Squadrons of drag queens, glitter-bombing the festivals with sequins and style. And multiple cases of a health condition I call Free-Shit Overload, or FSO.

It’s the illness no-one warns you about when you step out of the closet, but once you know the symptoms you’ll spot it everywhere this summer. FSO derives from our inability to say no to the free shit thrust into our hands at pride marches, parades and fair-days. It leads to dangerous over-stuffing of our pockets, satchels, man-bags and hand-bags, and can make it impossible to dig out your phone or housekeys, because they’re buried under multiple layers of flyers, badges, and rainbow-striped novelty items.

Some of it is useful, of course. The free condoms are great. The flyers for club nights and theatre productions make excellent paper planes. One day I will find a practical purpose for the Lee Lin Chin facemask I scored from the SBS boys at last year’s Mardi Gras.

Read more

New York Travel Show, NYU Travel Writing Class and other Goings On


 

New York Times Travel Show, NYU Travel Writing Class and Other Goings On – Michael Luongo

Michael Luongo
 December 10, 2014

As always, click “remove from newsletter” or let me know if you don’t want to be on this.

 

Hi everyone.

 

Happy New Year! A few weeks into it already.

 

My first newsletter of the year will be a short one – mostly I am focusing on my New York University travel writing workshop held in April of this year, my New York Times Travel Show talks which are this Friday and Sunday,  and a few recent articles.

 

Michael Luongo 

New York University Travel Writing Class: The Global Traveler Workshop

Saturday and Sunday, April 25 & 26, 2015 10:00am to 4:00pm

 

Dreaming of being a travel writer? Through the Global Traveler, my New York University workshop, you can. You don’t have to be a NYU student; the class is open to everyone. We’ll look at your travels in a way that aids you in recording your experiences and find ways of presenting them so that an audience feels right there with you. You’ll learn long form travel memoir, magazine and newspaper writing, pitching and communicating with editors, blogs, and how photography and video enhance the way you tell a story and help you remember details. Students have a variety of life experiences, from business travelers to established journalists who want to broaden markets, to immigrants and others who’ve lived international or unusual lives, to those who have never stepped foot out of the USA and want to record their travels along the American roads.

Click here for the link to learn more about the class and to register.

 

Email me at ml152@nyu.edu with questions about the class.

The New York Times Travel Show

I am moderating two New York Times Travel Show panels, both on traveling to the Middle East and North Africa.

 

I believe it is the first time that there are panels focused on that region during the Show. One panel will be on today’s professional day, Friday, January 23, 2015 from 10:45 am to 12:15pm.

The other on Sunday, January 25, 2015 from 1pm to 1:50pm during the public portion.

 

On both panels, I’ll be joined by Janine Jervis of the Jordan Tourism Board and Geoffrey Weill of Geoffrey Weill PR.

 

A Few Recent Articles to Highlight

 

One is an interesting Q&A in the New York Times, looking at a new gay tour of the Vatican, exploring the stories and lives of the artists who created some of its most famous works.

  

Another is in Independent Traveler, on 10 Best Experiences in Argentina, part of a series of pieces I did for them

 

10 Best Experiences in Argentina

About.com Argentina Travel Expert

Don’t forget that last year I am the About.com Argentina Travel Expertclick here for more on that and to join my special weekly About.com Argentina Travel Newsletter telling you how to get the most out of your trips to Argentina.

That’s it for this newsletter until the next one. Thanks for reading this, and again, let me know if you want to be removed by emailing me at mtluongo@gmail.com. Feel free to send this along to friends and associates and to post any links from here on social media, whether Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks!

 

Michael Luongo

 

 

Michael Luongo

611 West 180th street, Apt 17

New York, New York 10033

mtluongo@gmail.com or mtluongo@aol.com

www.michaelluongo.com

Twitter: @michaelluongo

Ello: @michaelluongo

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michaelluongo

Events: Gay & Lesbian Christian Movement


heritage Gems in the attic:  25 years of LGCM at Oxford House

Saturday 21 February from 2-6pm
at Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London E2

To mark LGBT History Month, come and join us for an afternoon looking at some of the ‘gems from the attic’ which have been uncovered as part of our ongoing heritage project, Christian Voices Coming Out.  Much of the material has been deposited at the LSE and Bishopsgate Institute archives, but we have some copies of the gay press going back to the 70s as well as LGCM’s newsletters over almost 40 years and our earliest membership registers, for people to browse and reminisce over a cup of tea and a cake.

To book and for more information click here
 

activismPrepare to engage in 2015

Saturday 28 February at Life at the Centre,
Parliament Street, Nottingham from 10am – 4pm

2015 looks set to be a landmark year, as the churches continue to debate and make decisions about faith and sexuality which will impact on people within and beyond the church.If you want to become more aware of and involved in what’s going on in your own denominations, come along, meet others, hear about what’s happening and plan together how we can make an impact.

 
Keith Sharpe, Chair of the Anglican Coalition action group, will introduce the day, and  Stephen France will provide an update on the Synod 15 campaign.  There will also be an opportunity for those who have been invited to be involved in the shared conversations at a diocesan level to meet one another and network.  There will also be time and space for members of other denominations to gather and share, with representatives of their denominational groups.
There is no charge but donations would be welcome.


To book and for more information click here

pridePrepare for Pride ’15

Saturday 7 March from 11am – 4pm
at Luther King House, Manchester  

Would you like to be responsible for an affirming Christian presence at your local LGBT Pride event?  Well, Inclusive Church and LGCM would like to help you do just that.
Get your diaries together, hear from others who’ve done it about what works and what doesn’t, tell us what support you need and let’s get started!
Starts at 11am and finishes at 4pm, with lunch, morning and afternoon refreshments provided.  Costs £15, payable on the day, but free for LGCM members. 

The Chilling First Amendment Implications of Journalist Barrett Brown’s Five-Year Sentence


Candice Bernd | Truthout | January 23, 2015

Barrett Brown, dressed in a bright yellow prison jumpsuit, gave a quick, approving nod to the writer who shouted, “Stay strong, Barrett!” in a Dallas courtroom Thursday, just after a federal judge sentenced the 33-year-old journalist and transparency activist to 63 months in prison on three federal charges, in a case which has chilling implications for journalists and researchers across the US.

Some would argue the reporter who called out to Brown crossed the blurry line between journalistic observer and active participant. But her gesture of solidarity serves as a fitting illustration of a couple of the key questions raised in a case which has lingered for more than two years before finally coming to a close Thursday: Who is “really” a journalist, and what constitutes crossing that increasingly precarious line?

It’s an issue even I encountered, in a small way, on my way into the courtroom, as the security guard on the 15th floor of the Earle Cable Federal Building looked me over tentatively, shifting his eyes down toward the plastic press badge I wore around my neck.

Read more

One Night with Cheyenne Jackson Stonewall Museum’s Second Annual Gala Fundraiser


One Night with Cheyenne Jackson
Stonewall Museum’s Second Annual Gala Fundraiser 
 
Please support Stonewall National Museum & Archives
by joining us this Valentine’s Day for our soiree, silent auction
and a date with “Broadway’s Sexiest Man”.
 
Saturday, February 14, 2015

Broadway Star Cheyenne Jackson 
at the Parker Playhouse
Thank you to our supporters who have purchased tickets.
Your tickets will be mailed to you next week!
Special thanks to our honorary co-chairs
Klayton & Valentine Fennell
 

$200 VIP seating, pre-show open bar, post-show champagne reception and photographs with Cheyenne Jackson

$100 pre-show open bar and orchestra seating

ONLY tickets purchased through stonewall-museum.org benefit Stonewall National Museum & Archives. 

Is a marriage-equality compromise taking shape at the Supreme Court?


Steve Sanders | Huffington Post | San Diego Gay & Lesbian News | January 23, 2015

An earlier version of this essay originally appeared on the American Constitution Society Blog.

When the Supreme Court decided Friday to hear four marriage equality cases, it ordered the parties to file briefs addressing two separate questions: “1) Does the 14th Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?” and “2) Does the 14th Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?”  (Emphases added by me.)

By splitting the question in this way, the Court appears to be saying that state-to-state marriage recognition could be a stand-alone issue under the Constitution, related to but distinct from marriage licensing and creation.

I’ve been advancing this idea — that in addition to a right to marry, there is a separate constitutional right to remain married, and that non-recognition by some states of valid same-sex marriages should be seen as a distinct constitutional problem — for several years now, including in a 2012 article in the Michigan Law Review, titled “The Constitutional Right to (Keep Your) Same-Sex Marriage.”

Read more

Horrors Persist for Trans Inmates at Rikers


ANDY HUMM | Gay City News | January 23, 2015

The transgender housing unit on New York City’s Rikers Island, announced as opening imminently in mid-November as one of a raft of reforms to reduce violence at the troubled jail, has only just accepted inmates now. And Gay City News has spoken to two transgender prisoners who say that in the interim, they were mistreated by staff and sexually assaulted by other inmates.

The new unit at Rikers, which Gay City News toured exclusively while still empty in November, is for man-to-woman transgender inmates who have not undergone genital surgery. The previous policy was to place such inmates with men.

A Department of Correction (DOC) spokesperson e-mailed, “The Transgender Housing Unit was physically ready for inmates in mid-November. However, a final review of national best practices related to Transgender inmate protocols took longer than expected. Combined with administrative delays and the holidays, this saw the first women moved to the unit on January 15.”

Read more