Labor union vows to advocate on behalf of transgender workers during contract negotiations

Washington – Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), applauds the member-delegates of the 2.1 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for passing a resolution at their 2012 national conference in Denver yesterday.  The resolution states that SEIU local groups and members will bargain for transgender-inclusive heath care coverage as part of their contract negotiations with businesses and employers.

“This is a tremendous step forward in the fight for workplace equality for LGBT people,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “Our friends at SEIU recognize that all workers should be treated equitably, and that includes being free from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  We are incredibly grateful to Mary Kay Henry and the SEIU member-delegates for continuing to be champions of justice and equality.”

With the passage of this resolution, SEIU joins the HRC Foundation, who, for the last decade, has been working to make workplace policies and protections more inclusive for transgender employees and their families through its Corporate Equality Index (CEI). This year the CEI rating criteria was made more stringent, requiring employers to have transgender inclusive health insurance coverage.  A remarkable 206 companies met the criteria.  Furthermore, HRC's Healthcare Equality Index recommends that all U.S. healthcare facilities provide transgender-inclusive health coverage to their employees.

Historically, transgender people have been categorically denied health care coverage for medically necessary treatment, irrespective of whether treatment is related to sex reassignment/affirmation.  Until recently, nearly all U.S employer-based health insurance plans contained “transgender exclusions” that limited insurance coverage for this population.  

 
 
Newly filed lawsuits challenges the discriminatory treatment of same-sex couples under state law.

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, lauds Lambda Legal and the ACLU for filing coordinated lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Illinois disparate treatment of same-sex couples under state law.  The cases, limited to the state of Illinois, seek recognition from the courts of the inferior status of civil unions.

“Thank you to the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and most importantly to the courageous couples who have made their stories public in order to achieve equality for all same-sex couples in Illinois ,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “These laws suits are a critical step on our journey. ”

HRC will continue to work in coalition with advocates in the state, such as Equality Illinois,  to advance marriage equality legislation in the state House and Senate. Both the lawsuits and legislation promote critical conversations on the impact of discriminatory laws on same-sex couples and their families. Pursuing two strategies increases the odds of success in Illinois.                          

 
 
From: David Cohen
Publisher/Owner of PINK/PINK PAGES

Dear PINK Readers,
I want to share with you this important email i got few minutes ago from Dan Rafter, the Online Campaigns Manager at Human Rights Campaign.  This is what he wrote:

Dear david, 
Have you seen this video yet? Have you shared it?

It's shocking footage of a North Carolina pastor's plan "to get rid of all the lesbians and queers"by putting them all in a concentration camp until they die.

I'm completely serious. Over 30,000 HRC supporters have spoken out against this rank bigotry since we posted about it on Facebook this week. We need to triple that total before we deliver the messages next week – will you help?

Watch this horrifying video, share it with everyone you know, and sign the petition. ( see above)

Here's what he says:
"Build a great big large fence, a hundred fifty, hundred miles long... put all the lesbians in there... Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can't get out..."
"...And you know what, in a few years, they'll die out... Do you know why? They can't reproduce."

Don't let him get away with these sickening, hateful remarks – speak out and share this with everyone you know.
Please forward this email, share the video on Facebook and Twitter, and help spread the word. We can't let this kind of thing go unanswered.

Thanks for standing against hate,

Dan Rafter, 
Online Campaigns Manager
Human Rights Campaign

 
 
Equality at the Pump: ExxonMobil’s Hometown Newspaper Tells Company to Protect LGBT Employees

Dallas Morning News Editorial Board Advocates for Equality

WASHINGTON – Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, joins the Dallas Morning News in calling on ExxonMobil to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the company’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy. This morning, the Dallas Morning News editorial board weighed in on the controversy surrounding ExxonMobil’s 13-year refusal to add the protections, publishing a scathing editorial

The fight to make ExxonMobil’s non-discrimination policy inclusive dates back to 1999.  Before Mobil Corp. was acquired by Exxon Corp., Mobil prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and offered health benefits to domestic partners of its employees. Upon its 1999 merger with Exxon, the non-discrimination policy was removed and the domestic partner benefits program was closed to new employees. Since that year, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation along with other groups such as the New York City Pension Funds, has filed a resolution to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories in the company’s EEO policy.

In March, ExxonMobil again asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to allow it to omit a resolution, sponsored by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its EEO policies from its shareholder meeting which will be held May 30.  The SEC rejected the request to block the shareholder resolution.  

“ExxonMobil has resisted offering basic employment protections for their LGBT employees for years,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “With each passing year, it becomes more apparent that instituting inclusive non-discrimination policies is the right thing to do.  This year alone, the New York State Comptroller said it’s fiscally responsible, the SEC cleared a path to progress, and the oil giant’s hometown newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, called on the company to protect all workers” 

On HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, ExxonMobil received a score of -25. In contrast, oil and gas companies such as Chevron, BP, Shell, and Spectra received scores of 85 or higher. As of 2012, 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their EEO policy and 50 percent include gender identity.

More information on the HRC Corporate Equality Index is available at www.hrc.org/cei.

 
 
 Human Rights Campaign Announces Endorsement of Tom Barrett for Governor

WASHINGTON – Today the Human Rights Campaign – announced the endorsement of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett for Wisconsin Governor.  Barrett is a strong supporter of LGBT equality and will fight for fairness for all Wisconsinites.  Current Governor Scott Walker’s record is fraught with divisiveness and anti-LGBT sentiment.  In addition to his “divide and conquer” approach to union labor in the Badger state, Walker supported the 2006 Wisconsin anti-marriage amendment and does not support basic rights and protections for LGBT people. 

“Tom Barrett has been a champion for equality throughout his career in public service,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “His dedication to the LGBT community and his commitment to fairness for all Wisconsin families make him the right choice for Governor.”

Tom Barrett is a strong supporter of equality, he opposed the 2006 amendment and earned 100 percent on HRC’s scorecard in the last Congress in which he served. He is also a leader in the community and has the support of local and national Democratic leaders, labor leaders, and education leaders.

“Tom Barrett’s energy and courage is needed in Madison.  When elected, he will fight for all Wisconsin families.  Tom has proven himself an effective leader – exactly what the people of Wisconsin need,” added Solmonese. 

Paid for by the Human Rights Campaign. Jim Rinefierd, Treasurer. Not authorized by any candidate, candidate’s agent or committee.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness

 
 


From: National Press Secretary • Media Matters for America

Fox's Tammy Bruce Says She's "Been Told" She'll "Never" Guest Host For O'Reilly Because She's Gay

In a subsequent post on her blog, Tammy Bruce wrote that she was being snarky and sarcastic in her tweet and defended Fox for being "willing to hire an openly gay women before anyone else in television." She added that she had been told she would never guest host O'Reilly because of her sexual orientation by "a friend of mine" and that she has "never even asked to host the Factor (or any other show at Fox), and no one at Fox ever told me I couldn't." 
Longtime Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce tweeted yesterday that she's been told she'll never guest host The O'Reilly Factor because she's gay. Bruce did not specify whether she had received that message from the network's personnel, but replied favorably to a fan who responded to her tweet by criticizing the network.

Bruce is a conservative radio show host who regularly appears on The O'Reilly Factor with host Bill O'Reilly. According to Nexis, Bruce most recently appeared on the program's April 6 broadcast with guest host Juan Williams.

Bruce is openly gay, a fact she's noted on The O'Reilly Factor. A biography posted on WMAL, which carried her radio show (the program now streams "exclusively at TalkStreamLive"), states that when her radio show "debuted in Los Angeles in 1993, she was the first openly gay woman in the country to host a show on a mainstream talk radio station."

Bruce's comments came in response to a follower who told her she needs "to fill in for O'Reilly sometime." Bruce replied: "I'd love to fill in for O'Reilly, but I've been told it will never happen because I'm gay. Go figure..."