Last Week’s “Historic White House Meeting” Exposes PATHETIC Agenda. WH asks: “Hold Our Feet To the Fire” – SO LET’s DO THAT: FAX BRIAN BOND at White House to DEMAND our CIVIL RIGHTS!
It’s TIME TO FAX THE WHITE HOUSE!!!
Apparently, The Equality Federation met with the White House Staff on our Agenda (see posting below).
It appears the White House is consoling our community with:
LET’S SET A NEW STANDARD – and NICELY DEMAND our FULL CIVIL RIGHTS!
Please PRINT AND MAIL, or FAX (WH FAX: 202-456-2461) this flyer:
Please include your e-mail address (as requested by the WH’s contact instructions)
If you want to complain directly about this pathetic agenda for equality call:
BRIAN BOND: 202-456-1414. WH switchboard will put you to his voice mail.
They won’t know what the AEB is – but they’ll figure it out.
They don’t seem to know what Civil Rights are either.
Let’s remind them.
———- Forwarded message ———-
Last week, Florida Together participated in a historic far-ranging White House discussion between members of the Obama administration and the Equality Federation, the national umbrella organization for statewide equality groups. As Executive Director, I was proud to represent Florida Together at the briefing. As the only person from Florida to attend the briefing, I wanted to share with you a summary of the meeting.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act
Tchen said that the administration was prioritizing DADT over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) because it could attach DADT to other legislation, making it much easier to move through Congress. By contrast, ENDA- which would outlaw employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression – is stand-alone legislation that faces more congressional hurdles. In the current political climate, securing a
Acknowledging that some LGBT advocates are quite frustrated with the president’s progress on equality issues, Tchen urged statewide leaders to let the White House know when their constituents are displeased.
“When you are frustrated,”she stated, “you should speak out and hold our feet to the fire.” LGBT Health David Hansell, acting assistant secretary for children and families at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), provided an overview of the work currently being done on LGBT health. Through a coordinating group, the agency is including LGBT concerns in decisions made by its 10 divisions. Hansell outlined provisions of the Affordable Care Act that will benefit LGBT Americans including expanded access to health coverage and abolition of insurance companies’ practices barring those with preexisting conditions and imposing lifetime caps on pay-outs. As HHS adopts the thousands of forthcoming mandates and policy statements needed to implement federal health care reform, LGBT health and family advocates will have extensive opportunities to shape outcomes.
Hansell then offered a status report on President Obama’s April 2010 memorandum directing hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding to allow patients to decide who can visit them. The memo also bars discrimination based on a variety of characteristics including sexual orientation and gender identity.
The public comment process on the proposed visitation policy ends on Aug. 27. A draft policy outlining HHS regulations that would guarantee that hospitals honor advanced directives will soon be posted for 180 days of public comment. The subsequent regulatory change will make much clearer who is allowed to make decisions on a patient’s care if he or she is unable to do so.
In upcoming months, Hansell stressed, there will be unprecedented opportunities for LGBT advocates to offer recommendations on a number of concerns including adoption, youth, homelessness, seniors, and sex education. Historically, the federal government has not tracked data identifying the needs of LGBT youth or seniors, Hansell asserted, but is now implementing processes to do so in order to ensure that these vulnerable populations
Hansell said the LGBT community can best ensure that these new directives are enforced by working with the local or state office administering the specific program. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, advocates should contact the HHS Office of Civil Rights.
Hansell then fielded questions pertaining to transgender people. When the public comment process determining what federal benefits insurance companies must provide begins, he called for the LGBT community and health care advocates to vocalize the need to include gender reassignment surgery. Hansell claimed that HHS is already determining how best to assist homeless transgender youth. Raphel Bostic, assistant secretary for policy development and research for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), then detailed current administrative efforts to redress housing inequities in the LGBT community. 2010 marks the first time that HUD is
When Equality Federation representatives challenged Raghavan on the content and methodology of the surveys being used to gauge military attitudes on LGBT people, Raghavan said that he understood why LGBT servicemembers have taken offense to some of the questions and have raised concerns about whether confidentiality is properly protected. He assured the audience that the data will only be used to determine how the Pentagon needs to structure its post-DADT training programs to combat stereotypes and fears about LGBT people.
After Mo Baxley, executive director of New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coaltion, questioned why LGBT soldiers continue to be expelled during this process, Raghavan responded that the law is still in effect and therefore must be enforced. He claimed, however, that Gates has taken steps to ensure that the law is no longer abused. For example, military officials are no longer permitted to accept third-party testimony against an accused soldier. In the past, the use of such evidence created situations where jilted lovers or disgruntled colleagues could railroad or blackmail a comrade.
Bostic added that the Pentagon is exploring how qualified soldiers who were expelled under DADT could reenter the armed services. When asked whether policy changes that would permit transgender citizens to serve are also being considered, Bostic said that might be the case in the future and asked for contact information from advocates who can advise the Pentagon on this issue.
Family and Medical Leave, HIV/AIDS Policy
Bond asserted, “There is still a lot of work to do” before DOMA will be repealed. “Look at the trouble we’re having with ENDA.” he added.But Bond conceded that there are inconsistencies in President Obama’s positions.
In response, Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, stated, “Respectfully, we need President Obama to push for full inclusion of the LGBT community on ENDA, on marriage- we need the full get, not the lesser get. The highest office in the land sets the tone for the whole country.” Bond agreed, but expressed frustration at the often intense criticism levied, particularly by bloggers, against an administration that is “99
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