NOTE: CORRECTION: the source of the information has since said there was a misunderstanding, and that HRC, NGLTF & NCLR are not operating in coalition on the omnibus and have not opposed Title VI inclusion. For a subsequent note on these conversations, see this post. As the writer, I maintain this is what I was told, and regret any confusion.
In a shocking bit of news, it appears that the main LGBT organizations are blocking the inclusion of Title VI in the “Omnibus” equality bill being developed by Representative Polis for filing in January.
The outline shared by Polis’ office is sweeping, but clearly omits Title VI, which pertains to all federally funded programs, and marriage equality, which is not even on the table.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act reads:
Sec. 2000d. Prohibition against exclusion from participation in, denial of benefits of, and discrimination under federally assisted programs on ground of race, color, or national origin.
Including Title VI in a true omnibus would add “sexual orientation and gender identity” to this list, as has been proposed regularly since the omnibus idea first emerged in 2009, and would effectively end federally subsidized discrimination.
It appears, however, that a long-needed coalition of LGBT corporations has formed, and is now speaking with one voice against an inclusive omnibus.
WHY IS GAY INC AGAINST AN INCLUSIVE BILL?
The pro-offered argument is “pragmatism.” In other words, as the story goes, the Omnibus will be more viable legislatively if Title VI is not included.
Of course, this sounds immediately fishy. It would almost be better to hear them say: “We don’t want to put Title VI in play in 2012 because it will force Obama’s hand, and the opposition will be saying: ‘Look they want to force homosexuality on your community. Boo.’ So, since this is an election year, let’s file w/out Title VI, and then we’ll add it later, after the next election.”
It’s actually a convincing argument and we’ve heard ones like it before, like when they sought to leave transgendered people out of ENDA. It’s a politics of compromise whereby we negotiate against ourselves, before the game even starts, compromising principle, deflecting the call for equality.
BUT WE ARE A MOVEMENT FOUNDED ON THE PRINCIPLE THAT ALL PEOPLE ARE CREATED EQUAL AND ENTITLED AS A MATTER OF INALIENABLE HUMAN RIGHTS TO BE PROTECTED BY THEIR GOVERNMENT FROM DISCRIMINATION BASED ON THE STATUS OF THEIR INNATE SEXUALITY AND GENDER.
If this is remotely true, filing an omnibus without TITLE VI sure doesn’t cut it.
Think about it. Title VI, by making it illegal to discriminate using federal money, enlists an enforcement army of thousands of contract managers, managing over $3,400 billion dollars, to stamp discrimination out. It is the mechanism by which our federal non-discrimination policy becomes a social norm via the vast economic power of the United States. This is how the money talks.
Of course, Gay Inc knows all of this. Representative Polis knows all of this. The DNC knows all of this.
So WHY does the outline Rep. Polis issued NOT INCLUDE TITLE VI?
Title VI, which has been in the eQualityGiving.org Omnibus since 2009, and the American Equality Bill from the outset. Title VI which puts “non-discrimination based on race, color, and national origin,” on every contract to every school, to every homeless youth program, to every police department, state, city, town, hospital, etc.
To many, this is where “pragmatism” comes into the picture, not in defining the goal. Because there is a reason the various non-discrimination laws exist, and their benefits will be of equal value to our community, and their exclusion our equal loss.
SO IS THIS REALLY PRAGMATISM?
Possibly, but is that the appropriate standard? What is pragmatism anyway?
Pragmatism is the obstacle of choice in politics. It lives within the now, or even the past, but not the future. It says: yes your equality may be what you want, but do not seek it. It is the voice of the impossible blocking change.
From 1974 to 1994, LGBT organizations backed a Civil Rights Bill. In 1994, weary from a decade of AIDS, we made the pragmatic decision to drop an equality bill, and thereby, separated ourselves from our Civil Rights heritage. We decided to seek only an end to employment discrimination in a deal with potential allies, and for 17 years, have fought that pragmatic fight, unbeknownst to society at large.
Meanwhile, the world has passed us by. Marriage is legal in Argentina and South Africa where “sexual orientation” is protected in the Constitution. Our plight is recognized by the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Organization of American States, which has made explicit the duty under international law to “prevent, punish and eradicate” discrimination based on SO&GI.
The United States pushed those international resolutions under President Obama and Secretary Clinton, and is bound by them. They know that Title VI is the fulfillment of this duty. Everyone does. Surely pragmatism cannot dictate that we not seek its protection. The protection of human rights, under a clear duty to act, but not for us?
SO WHY WOULD REPRESENTATIVE POLIS LEAVE IT OUT?
Because HRC, the NGLTF, NCLR, and a confidential list of others, led by an invisible hand, managed behind closed doors in secret and in concert, like only corporations can, have decided that it is not “pragmatic” to even file a bill for Equal Civil Rights protections. That we should not seek equal protection under the law, not now, not yet. That we should wait, and follow, with no public open conversation about the entire matter.
Of course it does depend on WHY WE ARE EVEN FILING AN OMNIBUS BILL?
NO ONE THINKS we are filing this bill to pass in this Congress. That is not the point.
The point of the omnibus, like the AEB, is to put EQUALITY on the table. To take OUR stance. To reflect OUR dignity. Not as a statement of the possible, but as a statement of collective intention to manifest our liberation.
It is an opportunity to be the change we seek. It is the chance to make our equality a major issue in the 2012 race, by giving our own people a beacon.
This is the “intangible” that pragmatic legislative or corporate analysis fails to grasp: The power of Collective Intention to manifest change beyond the possible in today’s terms. The power of a shared dream.
THE LOVERS & THE DREAMERS UNDERSTAND THIS.
Our movement is ultimately about love. And two-spirited people have long been the shamans and visionaries, still dancing among us today. When Richard Noble takes to walking across country for Equal Civil Rights, he points the way. When the Mayor of West Hollywood and the City Council, as duly elected officials of a city that is 40% LGBT, issue a Resolution for the AEB, they declare it. When the Mayor of Salt Lake City calls upon the U.S. government for Equal Civil Rights for LGBT Americans, the way is clear.
Like this, we need Congressman Polis to be a representative visionary. As a rather pragmatic truth, the LGBT community has no directly elected representatives, neither among its organizations nor in Congress. So as a community and people, we rely on surrogates, custodians of the public trust to do the community bidding.
In this spirit, the call for the Omnibus has repeatedly come from the community. When eQualityGiving put forth the original draft in 2008, and The Dallas Principles spoke the truth of unity. When the National Equality Marchers demanded “Full Federal Equality.” When The American Equality Bill Project encamped for 37 days, and activists fasted. When hundreds chanted “CIVIL RIGHTS NOW” in Grand Central Terminal.
The community has spoken. When the Mayors of Oakland, Reno, Boulder, Salt Lake City and West Hollywood issue Proclamations. When the LGBT Community Centers in Denver & Boulder – the Congressman’s own district – issue Resolutions explicitly calling for Title VI and EQUAL Civil Rights.
When the Wall Street Occupiers say no more corporate control of politics and take to the street for the voice of the people, they speak for our movement as well. The legitimacy of our movement depends on it, and our destiny is tied to it. Corporations cannot set the dreams for all of us.
Our movement is spiritual. We seek to free people from discrimination that binds their very being, denying their soul’s journey on earth and the safe haven to become their authentic self. We are liberating all of society by securing the acknowledgement by this Government of its primary duty: to protect us as we are, not as someone else would have us be.
Ultimately our cause is a focal point of today’s holy wars, calling the ultimate question of love or anger, compassion or judgment. And we should no longer hide from this responsibility or avoid this role.
When we INCLUDE TITLE VI we start a macro conversation about WHY LGBT PEOPLE ARE NOT ALREADY COVERED EQUALLY by federal non-discrimination laws, WHY we are not treated with dignity, and WHY discrimination is wrong.
When we INCLUDE TITLE VI we announce what we intend to accomplish, and that YES we are speaking to everyone, everywhere in this Country.
When we INCLUDE TITLE VI we are saying we are equal, and we expect our POLITICIANS to say so too.
We have had decades of pragmatism, while societal acceptance has over shot our own organizational expectations.
We’ve bowed to allies and other minorities, denying our own dignity in the process.
We’ve seen more and more teenagers taking their lives because we won’t force the macro conversation we need to have to address a societal wide illness of homophobia and transphobia, cultivated by our own Government and propagated by its laws, that leads to barbaric acts like parents rejecting their own offspring or people tied to fences and beaten to death.
We see exponential mental illnesses among our people, spiking under anti-gay referendum, police abuse, killings, political ostracizing, families torn apart, and the generalized rejection of an entire segment of society by their own community, not as a group, but individually in a forced emotional isolation born of fear.
The Civil Rights Act can’t change this. But the debate over our Equal Inclusion can. And then, after we win the legislative battle, after we build a chorus so loud we can no longer be ignored. Title VI will push that conversation deeply into every corner of this country, leaving no child behind and no dream deferred.
We’ve seen a sea change in public opinion ushered in by television programming, but not by a mass movement.
It’s time to find our common intention to liberate ourselves as a matter of entitlement.
It’s time to find our voice as a community entitled to respect as a matter of consciousness.
It’s time to file a bill for equality that says: WE ARE EQUAL & WE ARE NEXT.
For AN INCLUSIVE OMNIBUS, email: [email protected] Your input is invited.
GET READY: National Coming Out Day is Tuesday, October 11th 2011
-by Tommy News Thomas
Please pass this message on to everyone in your address book.
Take Action for International Coming Out Day
October 11th is International Coming Out Day. Take Action!
National Coming Out Day is Tuesday. Here are some important actions
Write letters, email, call, and fax your representatives asking them
Get contact information at www.congress.org
Make a commitment to be honest about your sexual orientation or gender
If you are participating in Occupy Together protest events, wear your
More information on AEB Here:
From The Human Righta Campaign:
National Coming Out Day
Donate your Facebook status
Whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or a straight ally,
Use HRC’s Coming Out for Equality Facebook app to show your support
New ways to come out for equality will be added each week leading up
About the App
We can’t do this alone, but together we can make a difference. Recruit
Learn about Coming Out Day
Find coming out guides and other resources
Download the guide
Please pass this message on to everyone in your address book.
THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG is finally emerging in our quest for Equal SO&GI Civil Rights!
And breaching, like a whale in the ocean, is BOULDER COLORADO!
With great local fanfare, on Saturday, September 24th, OUTBOULDER, which runs both Pride and the LGBT Community Center, is hosting a luncheon for The American Equality Bill and Richard Noble’s Walk Across America with special guests Representative Polis and Mayor Osborne.
For details and to RSVP go to: http://www.outboulder.org/content/congressional-luncheon-american-equality-bill
The reason Boulder is so magical is that it is the district of openly gay Democrat, Representative Polis who, according to all reports, is systematically working to prepare an omnibus civil rights bill for filing THIS YEAR!
Working diligently, the internal process evidently involves canvassing LGBT organizations via Jonathan de Wolff in the D.C. office, and the public as well, via Lisa in the campaign office.
Word is there will be a draft issued for public comment, along with additional transparent processes to ensure we have a true “community bill” !
So it finally seems safe to say: A ONE BILL STRATEGY is now in play. HURRAY!!
Over the next few months all eyes are on Boulder Colorado, and it could not be more fitting that Mayor Osborne is joining the Mayors of West Hollywood, Salt Lake City, Reno and Oakland, in issuing a Proclamation calling for Equal SO&GI Civil Rights — and that OutBoulder is helping to lead the charge with this lovely luncheon!
Thank you all for your intentions!! Keep it up! We’ve a long way to go still. But hope is clearly on the horizon!!!
THE FIRST Republican Presidential debate included hate-speech and incitement to discrimination that is outlawed and criminal in many countries because of the harm it causes.
AND YET WE WERE SILENT.
WE ARE SILENT NO MORE.
POST THIS QUESTION: “The 08 Republican platform says that discrimination is immoral. And President Obama, in June 2011, signed two international Resolutions affirming that human rights treaties require discrimination protections for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Do you believe the principle of protecting people from discrimination extends to LGBT Americans?”
POST TWEET TO POLITICO:
***JOIN LIVE PROTEST AT REGAN LIBRARY WITH GET EQUAL
PLEASE JOIN THE CHORUS & USE ANY CHANNELS YOU HAVE TO GET OUR MESSAGE TO THESE TARGETS.
I. STRIKE ONE: SEPT 7 – RONALD REGAN LIBRARY (Simi Valley, CA. 5 PST).
II. STRIKE TWO: SEPT 12. — TAMPA. FLORIDA STATE FAIRGROUNDS
III. STRIKE THREE: SEPTEMBER 22 – ORLANDO, FL.
Fortunately, major groups are mobilizing to change the conversation to Full Federal Equality. To push the Republicans to embrace their own principles on discrimination. And to stand down the hate speech.
FACILITATING THIS is the 2008 Republican Platform which calls discrimination immoral and promises to strongly enforce non-discrimination statutes. It promises to reject the forces of hatred and bigotry. For everyone but us.
“Ensuring Equal Treatment for All
Individual rights – and the responsibilities that go with them – are the foundation of a free society. From the time of Lincoln, equality of individuals has been a cornerstone of the Republican Party. Our commitment to equal opportunity extends from landmark school-choice legislation for the students of Washington D.C. to historic appointments at the highest levels of government. We consider discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin to be immoral, and we will strongly enforce anti-discrimination statutes. We ask all to join us in rejecting the forces of hatred and bigotry and in denouncing all who practice or promote racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, or religious intolerance. As a matter of principle, Republicans oppose any attempts to create race-based governments within the United States, as well as any domestic governments not bound by the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.”
INTERNATIONAL RESOLUTIONS REFERENCED:
LET’S HOLD THEM TO THIS. PRINCIPLES ARE PRINCIPLES & APPLY TO US TOO!
GENERAL CALL TO ACTION: If you would like to organize A LIVE ACTION in Tampa or Orlando, Florida, get in touch.
WE ARE ENTITLED TO BE PROTECTED AS WE ARE.
CIVIL RIGHTS NOW. DIGNITY NOW! THE AEB NOW!
GAY BASHING by GOP – and SILENCE by HUMAN RIGHTS COALITION.
On August 11, 2011, the GOP Presidential Candidates attacked the human rights and dignity of all LGBT Americans, some even suggesting an Amendment embedding marriage discrimination in the United States Constitution and threatening the judiciary who act otherwise.
(see video of their comments: http://www.nomblog.com/12465/)
WHAT DID THE most powerful civil rights coalition in America — THE LEADERSHIP COUNCIL ON CIVIL & HUMAN RIGHTS – say in response?
Please post this question in their contact form at:
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals.
JOIN THE FB ACTION PAGE AND SHARE THIS AT:
Confronting/eliminating those support systems that contribute to
We must give our public schools back the tools they had prior to
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 22, 2011
LGBT Organizations Announce Full LGBT Equality Demonstration During Obama’s Manhattan Visit TOMORROW!
Organizations Call on LGBT Community and Allies to Gather at 5:30 pm (ET) Tomorrow, 6/23/2011, in New York City
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, GetEQUAL — a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization — Queer Rising — a New York based grassroots queer equality organization — and Join the Impact — a national LGBT civil rights organization — announced plans to demonstrate for full LGBT equality, scheduled to take place at 5:30 pm (ET) tomorrow, Thursday, June 23rd, 2011. The event, “A Demonstration for Full LGBT Equality”, was called by the organizations in order to give the LGBT community and their allies an opportunity to gather together in unity as they raise the urgency for full LGBT equality now. As we’ve seen from one of the hardest fought legislative sessions for LGBT equality in New York history, freedom isn’t free and the work for full LGBT equality will continue.
“A Demonstration for Full LGBT Equality” will take place just outside of the perimeter of the largest LGBT fundraising event this election season with proceeds going to assist the re-election campaign of the “still-evolving on marriage equality candidate,” President Barack Obama.
For more information on the demonstration, visit: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=123451884405622#!
WHAT: “A Demonstration for Full LGBT Equality”
WHO: GetEQUAL, Queer Rising and Join the Impact:
GetEQUAL, a national LGBT civil rights organization,
Queer Rising, a New York-based grassroots queer equality group
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, 2011
WHERE: Sheraton New York, 811 7th Ave On 53rd Street (New York City)
With the outcome of the New York State Senate vote on the Marriage Equality Act expected any moment, supporters and allies from the LGBT community will gather together in their call for full LGBT equality now. With the majority of Americans now supporting the extension of marriage rights, there is no reason to delay or deny full equality to ALL LGBT Americans any longer. While the fight for full LGBT equality continues, we remind our leaders that without government support and protections the LGBT community is at greater risk for hate crimes, bullying, suicides and homelessness. We expect our elected officials to do the right thing by protecting the civil liberties of their entire constituency.
Attendees are encouraged to bring candles for a vigil and to demonstrate their passion and claim to full equality – win, lose or no vote on New York’s Marriage Equality Act.
** Press requests and other media-related inquiries should be directed to Michael Talon, 202-631-9830 or [email protected]**
Founded in 2010, GetEQUAL is a national grassroots organization whose mission is to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and our allies to take bold action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information, go to www.getequal.org, www.facebook.com/getequal, or www.twitter.com/getequal.
Founded in 2008 after the passage of California’s Proposition 8, Join the Impact is a national grassroots organization that strives to make a positive impact in the lives of the LGBT community, its allies, and even its opposition.
CONTACT: Michael Talon 202-631-9830 or [email protected]
As you may know, a few powerful religious groups are mounting an all out attack on marriage equality and the LGBT community in New York in the final hours of the campaign.
Fortunately, Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA) has issued a CALL to the hundreds of clergy associated with Pride In the Pulpit to go to Albany – this Monday June 20th – the last day of the legislative session.
This is a very important LAST STAND for MARRIAGE EQUALITY and AGAINST religious intolerance and civil law discrimination.
Monday is critical because the pressure from religious opposition in the final days is VERY serious.
Yesterday, I spoke for about 45 minutes with legal council for Skelos’ Majority office, Nancy Lynn Ferrini.
It is clear that there is an inadequate appreciation or understanding of the basic social compact by which all religions and all people come together under a Democratic framework, founded on principles.
As I explained to her, the basic premise of our social compact is to create a safe space for all, where no one particular group should even seek to exclude any other group of society from peaceful and safe co-existence.
On this foundation, we have laid down the principles of a Constitutional democracy: of equality under the law, and the right to pursue happiness, safe from harm by others, including the right to be free from discrimination, and the suffering it causes, as well as freedom of religion in particular, equally safe from the same discriminatory harms.
It comes down to a mutual obligation to deference and mutual respect, which otherwise causes fundamental conflict.
Obviously, this means that religious organizations can not and should not feel entitled in exercising their religious freedom to even espouse, now alone try to impose in civil law, their particular religious view points against one group, or in any way seek to deny any person’s fundamental civil right to non-discrimination and equal and full participation in all civic institutions.
To do otherwise, is an attack on the foundation of our joint existence that pierces the veil of their safe sanctuary as they are doing to others, ironically violating the very notion of the freedom of religion they enjoy on the same terms.
The relentless attacks against homosexual Americans by the Catholic church in particular, violate this basic civic duty, and perpetuates the same intolerance that has brought religious fervor and war to humanity for centuries.
Arch Bishop Timothy Dolan is a particular case in this regard. He recently arrived in New York immediately spewing homophobic rhetoric, seemingly quite gratuitously at the time. Subsequently, he was quickly rewarded with his appointment as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In perfecting this role for Rome, yesterday he increased his attacks with horrible rhetoric that threatens our very social fabric (speaking from a USCCB conference in Seattle no less). I find this quite unbearable I must say:
So the debate is not really one of marriage equality or traditional marriage. It is a debate about our basic social compact and how this is being violated at the core.
I urge everyone to go to Albany and make this case.
ActOnPrinciples has now added the Public Whip Count for GENDA in the New York Senate. http://www.actonprinciples.org/gendanysenate/
The New York Assembly passed AB 5039, a bill adding gender identity and expression to the state non-discrimination laws by a vote of 78-53 yesterday. This is the third time the Assembly has passed a comprehensive gender identity non-discrimination bill. The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Now is the time for New York Senate to take up the legislation in this session, especially with just ONE VOTE Needed.
From a recent HRC press release: According to New York State Assembly Member and key sponsor of the legislation, Daniel O’Donnell. “Transgender individuals all across New York State currently live in fear of being fired from a job or denied housing based upon gender expression; this must be changed. New York will be a stronger, more just place when we all can live secure in the knowledge that our government protects us.”
AB 5039 would amend the state non-discrimination laws to add gender identity and expression to the list of characteristics protected from discrimination in employment, education, public accommodations, housing and credit. It would also add gender identity and expression to the state hate crimes law.
ACTION ALERT: New York Governor Cuomo to introduce marriage equality
-by Tommy Equality News Thomas
Please take action, and forward this message on to everyone in your
The New York State Senate ends this legislative session at the end of
Will you please Call, Fax, Webform, Email, and Write NY Senators Today
From The Empire State Pride Agenda:
There is another reason to be hopeful that marriage will become law
Call your senator now through the New York State Senate switchboard at
“I’m calling to express my support for the bill that would allow all
Today four more senators came out for marriage. Democratic Senators
We remain committed to building momentum so that marriage equality
You can bet our opposition is throwing everything they can into the
Ross D. Levi
Call Call NY Senators now through the New York State Senate
Take Further Action Here:
And Use Webforms Here:
Please take action, and forward this message on to everyone in your
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