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Introducing THE AMERICAN EQUALITY BILL for FULL INCLUSION of “Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity” in America’s Civil Rights Laws. OUR TIME HAS COME.

HELLO ACTIVISTS FOR FULL LGBT EQUALITY NOW!

TO EMPOWER A PEOPLES’ CAMPAIGN for LGBT EQUALITY NOW, we are humbled to present the 1st DRAFT of THE AMERICAN EQUALITY BILL.

The AEB will put “sexual orientation and gender identity” in all federal civil rights (non-discrimination) laws equally along with ‘race, color, sex, national origin and religion” to end discrimination against LGBT people everywhere in:   employment, housing, access to credit, all public places (restaurants, hotels), all government buildings (schools), and all federally funded programs (adoption, health care, and many more).

A Community Conference call hosted by EqualityGiving.org is tentatively set for JULY 4th, Noon, ET, to explore this topic further.

Presented here is the context and content of the AEB.   To join the conversation and for updates, please go to: http://bit.ly/AEBnow.

THE US CIVIL RIGHTS CONTEXT: JUNE 11, 1963

On this day, June 11th, in 1963, President Kennedy delivered an historic speech calling for the social consciousness and law that, one year later, on July 2, became the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“This is one country. It has become one country because all of us and all the people who came here had an equal chance to develop their talents.

We cannot say to 10 percent of the population that you can’t have that right; that your children cannot have the chance to develop whatever talents they have; that the only way that they are going to get their rights is to go into the streets and demonstrate. I think we owe them and we owe ourselves a better country than that.”

“We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a country and as a people. It cannot be met by repressive police action. It cannot be left to increased demonstrations in the streets. It cannot be quieted by token moves or talk. It is time to act in the Congress, in your State and local legislative body and, above all, in all of our daily lives.

It is not enough to pin the blame on others, to say this is a problem of one section of the country or another, or deplore the fact that we face. A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all.

Those who do nothing are inviting shame as well as violence. Those who act boldly are recognizing right as well as reality.”

(see http://bit.ly/AEBjfk63)

CIVIL RIGHTS FOR ALL

They are called “CIVIL RIGHTS” because of their transcendent quality and inherent basis in natural law. They are incorporated in many movements and the ideals they represent are captured in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Constitutions around the Globe.

In the United States, civil rights concepts are embedded in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

They are also reflected in the promise of the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This is ALL WE SEEK.

UNITED STATES CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS

THE BODY OF LAW developed in the United States to effectuate these inherent human rights is popularly known as “The Civil Rights Act of 1964″. The ‘64 CRA, and subsequent additions, are effectively the “Group Policy” in America dedicated to ending discrimination in many aspects of community life based on the traits of “race, color, sex, national origin and religion”.

The vast areas of life covered include:  employment, housing, access to credit, all public places, all government buildings (schools), and all federally funded programs (adoption agencies, health programs, and many many more).

(For a brief history of the legislative process that passed the CRA in one year with strong bi-partisan support see http://bit.ly/AEB-64CRAhis).

LGBT CIVIL RIGHTS: MEANS INCLUSION IN THE GROUP POLICY

INEVITABLY, the task ahead involves expanding US Civil Rights laws to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” – traits that are equally inherent to our being. Traits that have resulted in untold pain and suffering on generations. Traits, which if not easily concealed, would surely have brought our country to riots long ago.

SINCE AT LEAST 1924 — LGBT people have been working for recognition of their Civil Rights. (http://bit.ly/AEBlgbtHIS). Yet we have STILL NOT YET begun in earnest THE CAMPAIGN for equal inclusion where we rightfully belong. Clearly, the insidious nature of discrimination has deprived a century of activists of their rightful sense of entitlement. NOW OUR TIME HAS COME.

TO MOVE THIS CAUSE FORWARD, today we offer a DRAFT of THE AMERICAN EQUALITY BILL: One Bill to amend ALL EXISTING CIVIL RIGHTS Laws to EQUALLY INCLUDE SO&GI. ONE BILL to provide EQUAL PROTECTION from Discrimination for LGBT Americans. ONE BILL to create a TRUE MOVEMENT for FULL CIVIL RIGHTS for ALL AMERICANS.

THE AMERICAN EQUALITY BILL
(1st Draft For Community Discussion)

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

Today, June 11, 2010,

We the People resolve to end legal discrimination against the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered peoples of the United States of America.

Toward that purpose, We submit The American Equality Bill to amend the full collection of our Country’s Civil Rights Laws, beginning with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” equally along with the existing traits of “race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”

With the passage of this Bill, We will have protected the basic human dignity of LGBT people through out America to have a job, a home, enjoy public places, access credit and use government programs and buildings, without fear that their true nature could jeopardize their pursuit of happiness.

With passage of this Bill, We the People will have completed the work of Martin Luther King and Bayard Rustin.

With the passage of this Bill, We the People will have completed the work of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

May it be recognized that the People of 2010, resolved to end legal discrimination against the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered peoples of the United States of America and towards that ideal, to pass The American Equality Bill forthwith.

THE AMERICAN EQUALITY ACT

SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `The American Equality Act’.

PURPOSE.
The purpose of this Act is realize the American ideal of equal protection under the law by amending existing civil rights legislation to include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

FINDINGS OF LEGISLATIVE FACT.
(This can be an elaborate section. Content TBD.)

A. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY.

Sec. 1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000e, is amended to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as prohibited basis’ for discrimination in employment.

a. The following definitions shall be added at the end of §2000e:
(o) The term “sexual orientation” means homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.

(p) The term “gender identity” means the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.

b. Sections 2000e-2(a)-(d), §2000e-2(h), §2000e-2(j), §2000e-2(l), §2000e-2(m), §2000e-3(b), 2000e(g)(2)(A), §2000e-16(a), and §2000e-16(c), are amended every time the phrase “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin” appears to include after the word “sex” the following words:- “sexual orientation, gender identity,”.

c. Construction

(1) Dress and Grooming Standards- Nothing in this Act shall prohibit an employer from requiring an employee, during the employee’s hours at work, to adhere to reasonable dress or grooming standards not prohibited by other provisions of Federal, State, or local law, provided that the employer permits any employee who has undergone gender transition prior to the time of employment, and any employee who has notified the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition after the time of employment, to adhere to the same dress or grooming standards for the gender to which the employee has transitioned or is transitioning.

(1) Certain Shared Facilities.

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to establish an unlawful employment practice based on actual or perceived gender identity due to the denial of access to shared shower or dressing facilities in which being seen fully unclothed is unavoidable, provided that the employer provides reasonable access to adequate facilities that are not inconsistent with the employee’s gender identity as established with the employer at the time of employment or upon notification to the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition, whichever is later.

Sec. 2. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, as amended, 5 U.S.C. §2302, is amended to clarify that discrimination based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are prohibited basis’ for discrimination in federal employment.

a. The terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are defined as in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000e.

b. Sections 2302(b)(1)(A) and 2302(d)(1) are amended every time the phrase “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin” appears by including after the word “sex” the following words:- “sexual orientation, gender identity,”.

c. Certain Shared Facilities. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to establish an unlawful employment practice based on actual or perceived gender identity due to the denial of access to shared shower or dressing facilities in which being seen fully unclothed is unavoidable, provided that the employer provides reasonable access to adequate facilities that are not inconsistent with the employee’s gender identity as established with the employer at the time of employment or upon notification to the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition, whichever is later.

Sec. 3. The Government Employee Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. §2000e-16a et seq., is amended to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as prohibited basis’ for discrimination for certain government employees, with respect to their public employment.

a. The terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are defined as in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000e.

b. Section 2000e-16a(b) is here by amended every time the phrase “race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability” occurs by inserting after the word “sex” the following words:- “sexual orientation, gender identity,”.

c. Certain Shared Facilities. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to establish an unlawful employment practice based on actual or perceived gender identity due to the denial of access to shared shower or dressing facilities in which being seen fully unclothed is unavoidable, provided that the employer provides reasonable access to adequate facilities that are not inconsistent with the employee’s gender identity as established with the employer at the time of employment or upon notification to the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition, whichever is later.

Sec. 4. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §2611, is amended to clarify the following definitions:

(7) Parent – The term “parent” means the biological parent of an employee or an individual who stood in loco parentis to an employee when the employee was a son or daughter. For purposes of this statute, the term “in loco parentis” includes but is not limited to an individual who is a defacto or psychological parent of the child.

(12) Son or daughter – The term “son or daughter” means a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, a child registered as a “dependent” or similar classification under the employer’s domestic partnership policy, or a child designated by an employee and his or her domestic partner as a “dependent” or similar classification pursuant to a municipal, state or federal domestic partnership registry, who is—

(A) under 18 years of age; or
(B) 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

(13) Spouse – The term “spouse” means a husband or wife, as the case may be. For purposes of this statute, the term “spouse” includes a person designated a domestic partner under the employer’s domestic partnership policy, an employee’s civil union partner, a spouse from a domestic or foreign marriage, and a domestic partner registered pursuant to a municipal, state or federal law.

B. FAIR HOUSING.

Sec. 1. The Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3601 et seq., is amended to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as prohibited basis’ for discrimination in the sale or rental of housing, real-estate related transactions, and the provision of brokerage services.

a. The terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are defined as in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000e.

b. Sections 3604(a)-(b) are amended every time the phrase “race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin” appears by inserting after the word “sex” the following words: “sexual orientation, or gender identity,”

c. Sections 3604(c)-(e), 3605(a), and 3606 are amended to every time the phrase “race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin” appears by inserting after the word “sex” the following words: “sexual orientation, or gender identity,”.

d. Section 3605(c) is amended every time the phrase “race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status” appears by inserting after the word “sex” the following words:- “sexual orientation, or gender identity,”.

a. Section 3608(e)(6) is amended every time the phrase “race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap” appears by inserting after the word “sex” the following words:- “sexual orientation, gender identity,”.

C. PLACES OF PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION.

Sec. 1. Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000a et seq., is amended to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as prohibited basis’ for discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation.

a. The terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are defined as in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000e.

b. Sections 2000a(a) and 2000a-1 are amended every time the phrase “race, color, religion or national origin” appears by inserting after the word “sex” the following words: “sexual orientation, or gender identity,”.

c. Certain Shared Facilities.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to establish an unlawful practice based on actual or perceived gender identity due to the denial of access to shared shower or dressing facilities in which being seen fully unclothed is unavoidable, provided that the proprietor provides reasonable access to adequate facilities that are not inconsistent with the individual’s gender identity as established with the proprietor at the time the relationship first began or upon notification to the proprietor that the individual has undergone or is undergoing gender transition, whichever is later.

D. USE OF PUBLIC FACILITIES.

Sec. 1. 42 U.S.C. §2000b, is amended to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as prohibited basis’ for denial of equal use of public facilities.

a. The terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are defined as in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000e.

b. Section 2000b(a) is amended every time the phrase “race, color, religion or national origin” occurs by inserting after the word “religion” the following words:- “sexual orientation, gender identity,”.

c. Certain Shared Facilities. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to establish an unlawful practice based on actual or perceived gender identity due to the denial of access to shared shower or dressing facilities in which being seen fully unclothed is unavoidable, provided that the proprietor provides reasonable access to adequate facilities that are not inconsistent with the individual’s gender identity as established with the proprietor at the time of the relationship first began or upon notification to the proprietor that the individual has undergone or is undergoing gender transition, whichever is later.

E. EQUAL CREDIT OPPORTUNITY.

Sec. 1. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, 15 U.S.C. §1691 et seq., is amended to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as prohibited basis’ for discrimination in any aspect of a credit transaction.

a. The terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are defined as in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000e.

b. Section 1691(a)(1) is amended every time the phrase “race, color, religion, national origin, sex or marital status, or age” occurs by inserting after the word “sex” the following words:- “sexual orientation, gender identity”.

F. FEDERALLY FUNDED PROGRAMS OR ACTIVITIES.

Sec. 1. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000d, is amended to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as prohibited basis’ for exclusion from participation in, denial of the benefits of, or being subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

a. The terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are defined as in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000e.
b. Section 2000d is amended every time the phrase “race, color, or national origin” occurs by inserting after the word “color” the following words:- “sexual orientation, or gender identity,”.

Sec. 2. Exemption for Religious Organizations. The provisions of this Section related to “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” shall not apply to a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, association, educational institution, or society of its activities.

G. EDUCATION.

Sec. 1. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §6301 et seq., is amended to add the phrase “sexual orientation, gender identity” following the phrase “national origin,” in Section 9534 (a), and the new terms are defined as in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000e.

H. DISABILITY.

Sec. 1. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§12101 et seq., and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §706 are amended to repeal discriminatory provisions.

a. 42 U.S.C. §12208 is repealed.

b. 42 U.S.C. §12211(b)(1) is amended to delete the word “transsexualism,” and the phrase “gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments,” from the definition of “Certain conditions” excluded from coverage under the Act.

c. 29 U.S.C. §705(8)(F)(i) is amended to delete to delete the word “transsexualism,” and the phrase “gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments,” from the list excluded from protection an ‘individual with a disability’ for purposes of Section 501, 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

END.

THE AMERICAN EQUALITY BILL

SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CHANGES TO EXISTING LEGISLATION

• Expanding the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, and the Government Employee Rights Act of 1991 to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as prohibited basis’ for discrimination in employment.
• Amending the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to clarify the definitions of “parent”, “son or daughter” and “spouse.”
• Amending the Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act) to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as prohibited basis for discrimination in the sale or rental of housing, real-estate related transactions, and the provision of brokerage services.
• Amending Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as prohibited basis for discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation.
• Amending §2000b of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as prohibited basis’ for denial of equal use of public facilities.
• Amending the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as prohibited basis for discrimination in any aspect of a credit transaction.
• Amending Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as prohibited basis for discrimination in federally funded programs or activities and adding an exemption for religious organizations.
• Amending The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, to include the categories “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in the Civil Rights section. Amending the Americans with Disabilities Act to repeal discriminatory provisions.

NOTE by Karen Doering, Esq (Original Drafter): An underlying assumption in crafting this bill was that amending existing civil rights laws was preferable to creating separate, stand-alone legislation to protect LGBT people. Although historically there has been some reluctance to amend existing civil rights laws to add new protected categories, with an apparent preference to create separate, stand alone laws, it may be time to rethink this inefficient and sometimes unequal strategy. Amending existing civil rights laws has many advantages including the already existing body of case law interpreting the meaning, intent and application of the statute (i.e., Title VII is to be broadly construed to effectuate the remedial purpose of the statute) and ensuring protections are applied equally to each protected class.

NOTE: The AEB does not address marriage issues, and no federal law can fix marriage inequality in the states (according to experts). The Supreme Court has that power, and the Prop. 8 case could achieve this. Though passing the AEB would establish a strong federal policy against LGBT discrimination that helps us in the Prop. 8 case considerably. And debating the AEB will prepare the country. By filing and demanding televised hearings on the AEB soon, this conversation will advance exponentially.

THE FUTURE IS NOW.    LET’S DO IT.


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12 comments to Introducing THE AMERICAN EQUALITY BILL for FULL INCLUSION of “Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity” in America’s Civil Rights Laws. OUR TIME HAS COME.

  • Doug Haxall

    This is the right idea! This needs to be done!

  • Alan Bounville

    Way to go! It is a breath of fresh air to see our movement FINALLY shifting in this direction! Though there are arguments for our existing piecemeal approach, this just feels right – we DESERVE all of these rights as queer people – now, I say let’s springboard off of this and DEMAND the passage of this act!

  • Loraine Hutchins

    good work. if you mention marriage, separately, at the end, why not also mention how much these demands parallel the ERA and incorporate the ERA into this document, into this joint demand?

  • J Todd Fernandez

    Loraine – hi. Folks have talked about the ERA, but that is an effort to Amend the US Constitution, which is a much bigger undertaking than seeking equal inclusion in the existing Civil Rights laws. Hope this helps. Please join the FB page. We had a wonderful call yesterday – and things are taking off.
    Happy 4th of July. It was truly a great independence day!

  • Donna

    This is the first thing that has made any sense! No more incremental crap which will takes years and frankly is only serving to keep the LGBT political groups in the money because its not working. Yeah! Full and total equality NOW!

  • Judy

    I think extending these laws to include people based on sexual orientation is bad for society. Every citizen has equal rights as citizens, and has the right to claim them under the law.
    But changing the definition of family is a big mistake. Societies, for thousands of years, have considered families to be a man, a woman & children. Research has proven that children do much better when raised by a man & a woman.
    The family is the basic unit of society. It is dangerous to change it.

  • Kyle

    RE: Judy’s previous comment-
    This seems like a fairly privately discrimanatory stance to take, backed with flawed assertions and no facts. It’s sad that that that tends to be the basis for most discussion of such an important equality issue. To respond to your several points:

    “Rights as citizens” are most certainly not guaranteed to all citizens (regardless of SO/GI) under the current condition of law, and many citizens are now routinely denied these important civil rights just as many more were denied them prior to the CRA of ‘64. This bill is an attempt to remedy that in attempt to make your “every citizen has equal rights” assertion true.

    The definition of “family” is not nearly as static as you seem to think, and has varied greatly through many societies and epochs throughout time. The study of family history has shown that family systems are flexible, culturally diverse and adaptive to ecological and economical conditions. Different traditions of “family” have included many levels of extended relations, non-blood relations, and non-formalized marriage relationships. The “family” of today is very much a contemporary societal construct, as it always has been, and is evolving over time, as it always has. Individuals may not appreciate or agree with the evolving state of marriage, but as you indicated, every citizen should be able to claim their equal rights under the law. Changing statutory definitions to reflect the natural changes will allow our legal structure of rights and responsibilities to remain relevant, guaranteeing individuals that their rights are not impeded by outmoded restrictions on the idea of “family.”

    You will note that, with the exception of the amendments to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, these laws are not about raising children. They are concerned with individual civil rights protected by the government. Even the ESEA in its regard for children is about guaranteeing the civil rights of the child, not of the parents. Research has also proven that children do much better when raised by two parents regardless of gender; but that’s not at issue here. Regardless of the legal definition of family, children will always be raised in a variety of ways. These legal changes will guarantee that children won’t be denied housing or family income because of the gender of their parents. Any true concern for the wellbeing of children should demand immediate passage of these laws.

    Family is the basic unit of society, and it changes with time and cultural shifts whether we want it to or not. Recognizing that change is only practical for the continued function of the rest of society. Ignoring it would be dangerous.

    This is a very simple, yet ambitious piece of legislation that would do incredible good for the cause of equality in this country. I hope that it isn’t a pie-in-the-sky dream that gets bogged down in political dealing and compromises. Best of luck to its supporters. I look forward to seeing it introduced in Congress!

  • QStick

    I’m 100% behind this. Let’s see it through!

  • Stephen Tucker

    Sometimes, the most “simple” changes can be the most profound. This will be difficult to achieve, but it is the right and most effective thing to do. I do believe it would help the cause of marriage equality as well.

  • Janice Leonard

    Have just see this. Didn’t know this was happening, but I love it! I hope it will be taken seriously as it is long overdue, and so many people who are not being treated equally, even though they are American citizens, are desperately in need of changes that will offer them the protection they deserve.
    @ Judy (5th comment), your words only go to prove that there are still a hell of a lot of people in this country that do not know the truth of what is really going on here. Before making such comments on a subject such as this, may I suggest that you carry out some research (there is a lot out there that will blow your mind…..I assure you). Don’t be fooled into thinking that the laws protect everyone who is a citizen; they certainly do not.

  • Leah

    Why dont we put a march together in D.C. over Thanksgiving weekend. Demanding that gays be treated equal. No more and no less.

    Why don’t we make our voices heard. I think there are a lot of people out there who we might think are predjuced, but in reality they are just ignorant.

  • Audrey GetEQUAL Smith

    Just wrote to Senator Bob Casey Jr. AGAIN and wrote this:

    Dear Senator Casey,

    You are a wonderful ally to the LGBT community and have always stood with us. I have voted for you in the past, intend to do so this November and in the future, and I encourage every Pennsylvanian I know to do the same! I have one request of you:

    Please promise to sponsor and introduce the American Equality Bill to the Senate as soon as Congress comes back into session.

    Here is a link to the first draft of the Bill:
    http://www.actonprinciples.org/2010/06/11/introducing-the-american-equality-bill-for-community-self-empowerment-and-grassroots-leadership-our-time-has-come/

    This Bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the civil Rights Act of 1964. It would give the LGBT community the same rights and protections that other minority groups have received as a result of the Civil Rights Act.

    If your friends were dying, who would you ask for help? People who claim to support you? Or people who claim that they do not? When you need help in your every day life, don’t we turn to our closest friends? YOU ARE ONE OF OUR CLOSEST FRIENDS.

    Kirsten Gillibrand is also a friend to our community. Fellow activists are staging a vigil right now outside her campaign office asking her to submit the AEB, but she has not yet done so. My NY cohorts are just asking her to promise to file the Bill and be on the right side of history.

    Can I count on you, Senator? Can I turn to you to help my LGBT family?

    Sincerely,
    Audrey Smith

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