Springfield, IL, May 31, 2013
Today Friday, May 31, 2013, the Illinois General Assembly ended its current session without passing SB10, which with the Governor's signature, would have made Illinois the 13th state to enact equal marriage rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. Now the bill will have to wait until fall 2013.
From Gay Liberation Network
"House Speaker Mike Madigan, the de facto leader of the Illinois Democratic Party, is responsible for this abject betrayal," said Andy Thayer, long-time equal marriage rights activist and co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network. "Anyone who knows anything about Illinois politics knows that Speaker Mike Madigan owns the House – if he had insisted on a positive vote from his caucus, it would have passed.
"People should remember this when Mike Madigan's daughter runs for the governor next year, which appears to be all but certain. And people should remember that it was Madigan's ally, Representative Greg Harris, who pledged repeatedly to bring the bill to a vote by today, and then broke that promise.
"It's not like this was a politically difficult vote. The latest poll, by Crain's, shows that advocates for equal marriage rights in Illinois out-number our opponents by a nearly two-to-one margin. The Senate passed it and Governor Quinn repeatedly pledged to sign it, but the real power broker in Illinois couldn't be bothered. Speaker Madigan has repeatedly shoveled millions of tax dollars to his wealthy cronies, leaving the state's finances in a total mess, but when it comes to passing civil rights legislation, he refused to spend any political capital."
From John Knight, director of the LGBT Project of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois:
"We are disappointed that the Illinois House failed to act on Senate Bill 10, approving the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples across the state. We are most distressed for the thousands of couples across the state whose lives and families deserve the dignity and recognition of marriage. We will continue to speak with legislators about the vital need to extend the freedom to marry for these couples. Our litigation filed a year ago this week also continues.
"We had hoped that Illinois would become the 13th state to approve the freedom to marry today. It did not happen, but we will wake up tomorrow prepared to continue the fight for fairness and equality in Illinois. This effort has been advanced by hundreds of volunteers and advocates. We are confident it will move forward to success."
From James Esseks, director of the national ACLU LGBT Project:
“Although today’s events in Illinois are disappointing, we will keep fighting. The movement towards fair marriage laws is gaining momentum all across the country. It may take a bit more work with people of good will, but it’s only a matter of time before the freedom to marry comes to Illinois.”
From LAMBDA LEGAL
At the close of the legislative session the Illinois House of Representatives did not call for a floor vote or advance The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, the bill that would grant same-sex couples in Illinois the freedom to marry. Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Jim Bennett, Director of the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal:
"This is a stunning failure in the Illinois House. This is too important to families across Illinois, and Lambda Legal's lawsuit, Darby v. Orr which was filed a year ago yesterday will move forward. The day is coming when Illinois will have the freedom to marry. Lambda Legal has been working in the Midwest for the respect of our relationships for 20 years and we won't stop until same-sex couples in Illinois are treated with dignity and respect.
"We'd like to thank Sen. Steans for passing this bill in the Senate. We thank Rep. Harris, Rep. Cassidy and Rep. Mell, who have worked so hard to see this through. However, it's unacceptable that our community did not at least get the vote Rep. Harris promised on the House floor. We have a right to know where our elected officials stand on the fundamental right to marry the person you love. We will continue to work with them to push toward passing this critical law as soon as possible."
The momentum for the freedom to marry has been steadily building; in the past six months, Washington, Maine, Minnesota, Delaware and Rhode Island have joined 9 other jurisdictions in granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry (Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington D.C.) President Obama and President Clinton have endorsed marriage for same-sex couples, and in Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have publicly supported marriage for lesbian and gay couples.
Together, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois each filed lawsuits on May 30, 2012, representing a total of 25 same-sex couples from across the state of Illinois seeking the freedom to marry. Two days later, the Illinois Attorney General's office filed papers agreeing that barring same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional. The Cook County Clerk and States Attorney also agree that the marriage ban is unconstitutional.
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin released the following statement:
“The House of Representatives has neglected the rights of its constituents by failing to vote on marriage equality legislation. For months, LGBT couples and their children have had their lives put on hold throughout an exhaustive political process that ultimately came up short.
“Today’s inaction is a prime example of why the U.S. Supreme Court must rule in favor of full marriage equality nationwide to ensure the security and welfare of these and countless other American families aren’t left to chance in future political battles.
“We’re grateful to the bill’s sponsors, state Rep. Greg Harris and state Sen. Heather Steans, for their leadership in getting us this far, and will continue to work with them and all of our allies in Illinois to ultimately achieve full marriage equality.
“We have come so far over the last few months and this tremendous progress is thanks in part to the tremendous leadership of businessman and philanthropist Fred Eychaner, to whom our community is very grateful.”
AN ANTI-GAY DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT AGAINST EXXON MOBIL WAS FILED IN ILLINOIS
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Earlier this week, Exxon Mobil was charged with workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act
in a complaint filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights
The complaint was filed by Freedom to Work
, a national non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans, which conducted groundbreaking testing to reveal Exxon’s discrimination against an LGBT job applicant.
According to the complaint, two fictitious and nearly identical resumes were submitted for an Illinois-based job opening with Exxon. The better-qualified LGBT-identified candidate was never called but the other non-LGBT candidate received three calls requesting an interview.
A May 24th New York Times story about the case can be viewed here:http://nyti.ms/10S1eu6
A May 22nd AP story about the case can be viewed here:http://abcn.ws/10Yk9aW
Statement by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.
Edie Windsor lost the love of her life in 2009. They had been together for more than 40 years. They were partners and best friends. They shared everything and honored their responsibilities to one another. Yet, in the eyes of federal law, their marriage was viewed as separate and unequal.
Edie and her late wife, Thea Spyer, are two of millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans denied their fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with their families. When Thea passed away, Edie was billed more than $363,000 in federal taxes — because, under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal government treated her and Thea as complete strangers, thereby denying them the estate tax protections afforded to married couples.
With an unaffordable tax bill and an untenable system, Edie could not remain silent, and she decided to challenge DOMA as a violation of our Constitution. Thankfully, she is not alone.
Citizens across the country have risen up to challenge DOMA, and on Wednesday I will proudly join two of those Americans, my constituents Karen Golinski and Amy Cunninghis, to hear oral arguments before the Supreme Court. They have the support of President Obama, who ordered his administration to stop defending this measure in our legal system, and members of Congress, who have signed amicus briefs reaffirming our belief in marriage equality.
The only national leaders still standing on the wrong side of history are House Republicans, who have used taxpayer dollars to pay outside counsel to defend discrimination. The Republican-approved lawyers have lost in every case and appealed each ruling. So the fight goes on.
Wednesday, Edie’s case will come before the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, justices heard oral arguments on Proposition 8 — the measure that banned same-sex marriages in California.
In both cases, the justices will hear compelling stories of love, commitment and family. They will be asked to consider the individual facts of each argument alongside broader questions of DOMA and Prop. 8′s constitutionality. They will confront values and issues as old as our republic: matters of justice and civil rights, fairness and the role of government, equality and equal protection under the law.
The court’s conclusion must be firm and clear: DOMA and Prop. 8 are unconstitutional. Neither measure meets the standards of our founding principles. Both deserve to take their rightful place in the dustbin of history.
The proponents of laws against marriage equality have long known that such laws would not pass constitutional muster or withstand judicial review as demonstrated by their efforts to preclude judicial review. In 2004, the Republican-controlled House passed the so-called Marriage Protection Act to try to prevent federal courts from ruling on challenges to DOMA. They even claimed that the landmark case, Marbury v. Madison, was “wrongly decided.”
Their idea, known as “court-stripping,” betrays one of the cornerstones of our system of checks and balances: that our judiciary must be independent, free from manipulation by Congress and the president, so that our Constitution and individual rights are always safeguarded. Indeed, defending individual rights and equal protection are core functions of judicial review.
Those rights are at stake in the DOMA and Prop. 8 cases. It is clear that there is no legitimate federal or state government interest in discrimination. Under any standard or by any degree of judicial review, there is no justification for laws against marriage equality.
Both DOMA and Prop. 8 were enacted with motives ranging from “majoritarian prejudice or indifference.” Attempts have been made by proponents of these laws to justify them on erroneous and deeply offensive stereotypes. Yet prejudice — whether motivated by animus or indifference — does not make it right for LGBT families to be punished, stigmatized, or denied their rights.
By overturning DOMA, we will ensure that spousal benefits are provided to the husbands, wives and partners of LGBT service members and veterans. We will strengthen our economy by delivering tax deductions and employee benefits to same-sex couples, in the private sector and the federal workforce. By overturning Prop. 8, California can join the march of states across the country extending the rights and responsibilities of marriage to LGBT Americans.
For Edie Windsor and millions like her, the journey has been long, hard, and defined too often by stigma, injustice and inequality. For all Americans, the fight for civil rights has been a defining cause for our country. With the Supreme Court’s action, that journey and that fight can once again bear the fruits of progress. We can bend the moral arc of history once more toward justice and secure a future of equality for all American families. Today, I hope justice prevails for Windsor and for all LGBT Americans.
Malcolm X College - 1900 W. Van Buren • 9:00am – 1:00pm - Saturday, Feb 9, 2013Join
the Illinois Immigrant Integration Summit
as we commit to fighting for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
in 2013, and to celebrate our 2012 accomplishments, including passage of SB 957, Driver's License legislation for all immigrants!- DOORS OPEN AT 8AM -9:00 am - 10:30 am : Diverse Workshops and Panels offered by ICIRR and Member Organizations
Please see workshop descriptions below and visit http://www.icirr.org/summit for more information and to register.
10:45 am - 11:45 am : Achieving Comprehensive Immigration Reform: A Panel Discussion With
Clarisol Duque, Chicago Director, Office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin
Mehrdad Azemun, Immigration Campaign Manager, FIRM / Center for Community Change
Fred Tsao, Policy Director, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Moderator: Tuyet Le, Executive Director, Asian American Institute.
12:00pm - 1:00pm : Closing Session with members, allies and elected officials.
Confirmed officials who will be present include Mayor Rahm Emanuel;
Attorney General Lisa Madigan; Congressmen Luis Gutierrez, Danny Davis, Bill Foster, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; Senators Christine Radogno, Antonio Munoz, Iris Y. Martinez, Mattie Hunter, Matt Murphy, Pamela Althoff; Representatives Tom Cross, Eddie Acevedo, Elizabeth Hernandez, Maria Antonia "Toni" Berrios, Daniel Burke, Luis Arroyo, John Cabello, Scott Drury, Laura Fine; Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka; Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle; Commissioners Bridget Gainer, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia; Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown; Will County Board Member Reed Bible; Aldermen Daniel Solis, Ed Burke, Ameya Pawar, Joe Moreno and many more!WORKSHOPS: All workshops are free to the public!
For longer descriptions and to register, please visit http://www.icirr.org/summit
- Citizenship Workshop - You and your family can apply to become U.S. citizens!
- DACAmented Youth & Allies: Take Action! - Do you want to learn about next steps after you've been "DACAmented"?
- What Every Family Needs to Know (English) - Learn your rights and get information about Family Unity Waivers and Temporary Visitors Drivers Licenses!
- Lo que cada familia necesita saber sobre (Español) - Entender sus derechos, Perdón para la unidad familiar, y las nuevas licencias de conducir en Illinois.
- Healthy Communities, Healthy Families - Join us for an overview of of the Affordable Care Act and what should be expected in 2014.
- Parent Mentor Program and Early Childhood Education 101 - Learn the basics, history and philosophy of the nationally-recognized Parent Mentor Program! Provided by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association and the Southwest Organizing Project.
- Parent Mentor Program and Early Childhood Education – Session for Existing Partners - A reflection and strategy session for partners and key stakeholders already involved in the Parent Mentor Program. Provided by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association and the Southwest Organizing Project.
- College Bound – Pathways for All Immigrants - Hear from experts from City Colleges of Chicago, IL DREAM Fund and IIT about the pathways for adults and young adults going to college or transitioning from ESL or GED to a college education and career.
- Welcoming Cities: Setting the Stage for Local and Municipal Leadership in Immigrant Integration - A panel discussion on municipal partnerships to advance immigrant integration and share best practices for creating more welcoming cities in Illinois and throughout the country!
- Building Coalitions to Fight Mass Incarceration - Join us for a panel discussion with Commissioner Jesus Garcia Elena Quintana (Adler School of Professional Psychology) on effective coalition-building that responds to the criminalizaton of the immigrant and African American communities.
- Protecting Your Electoral Power - Get to know the common issues facing voters at the polls from voter intimidation to language access, and get trained on poll monitoring! Provided by the Asian American Institute.
- Addressing Domestic Violence and Mental Health in Our Communities - This workshop addresses barriers to services for victims of domestic abuse such as cultural, linguistic, legal, economic factors and the fear of deportation. Provided by Arab American Family Services.
- Housing Resources Workshop - This workshop will provide information and resources on Rental Housing, Foreclosure Prevention, and Homebuyer Assistance. Provided by Northside Community Resources, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and the Rogers Park Community Development Corporation.
- How To Build Power - Organizing and Advocating for CIR - Join Josh Hoyt (ICIRR), Rudy Lopez (Center for Community Change) and Gabe Lopez (Statehouse Lobbyist) to learn about effective state and federal advocacy.
- Protecting Our Workers - Hear about ground-breaking efforts to protect low-wage workers and ensure the health and safety of all workers. Includes panelists from ARISE Chicago, Chicago Community and Workers Rights, SEIU Local 1 and Warehouse Workers UE.
For more information and to register for the summit visit http://www.icirr.org/summit
. On-site registration-all are welcome!
photos; (L to R) GOP lawmakers Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)
On Tuesday, February 5, 2013, the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would allow gay and lesbian couples to sponsor their permanent partners for residency in the United States, was reintroduced in Congress with the backing of GOP lawmakers Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA). This marks the first time the legislation has been reintroduced with GOP Congressmembers co-sponsoring the bill.
"I'm glad to join the Log Cabin Republicans in supporting the Uniting American Families Act," said Congressman Charlie Dent. "This bill is a logical extension of current immigration rules. I've received a great deal of input from the business community both in my district and nationally. We are losing talented workers because of existing law. We're also losing people who were part of civic efforts to make our communities better. These are the reasons I agreed to co-sponsor this measure."
Congressman Hanna added: "I support the Uniting American Families Act because our current immigration policy is hurting U.S. businesses and American workers. Because our laws force some couples to live apart rather than together here, Americans are pressured to take their talent, innovation, and wealth elsewhere. Businesses large and small in New York are struggling to keep some of their best workers in the United States. As a result, some companies are forced to relocate employees—and sometimes entire divisions and the jobs they represent—overseas, just to keep American talent in their organization. These Americans simply want to live in their own country with the person they love. We can keep jobs, dollars and talent right here in the United States by simply allowing financially and emotionally-committed couples to live together in the same country."
"We commend Congressman Dent and Congressman Hanna for their support of the Uniting American Families Act. They understand the reality today is that in nine states and the District of Columbia, committed gay couples can marry, but many bi-national same-sex couples are forced to live under the threat of being split up or deported," said Log Cabin Republicans Interim Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo. "These individuals are taxpayers, hard workers, and innovators, and deserving of an immigration reform package that addresses reality."
Source: Press release
by SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson(WASHINGTON, DC)
Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson today reacted to the Inaugural Address of President Barack Obama, who made history today by voicing groundbreaking support for LGBT equality.
"Today, President Obama made history with a clear and passionate declaration of the fundamental rights of LGBT Americans, and all Americans. We honor the work of his first term - especially his leadership in the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" - and expect great progress over the next four years on the very real inequalities that exist for our LGBT service members, veterans, and their families as we work together to bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice," she said.ABOUT OUTSERVE-SLDN:
OutServe-SLDN is the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel with more than fifty chapters and 6000 members around the world It works to support a professional network of LGBT military personnel and create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. It is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. For more information, visit www.outserve-sldn.org
AMERICA FOR OBAMAKEY POINTS:
Obama for presidentMiami Herald
- [President Obama’s record] includes ending the war in Iraq, which seemed like mission impossible when he took office. It includes beginning the wind-down of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan that began when today’s high school seniors entered first grade. He made a gutsy call to get Osama bin Laden. Saving the car industry was an equally tough call, and a good one. And the much-maligned Affordable Care Act ensures that Americans won’t go broke just because they get sick. He found two well-qualified women for the Supreme Court and got them confirmed without too much fuss.
- The president deserves credit for starting to turn the economy around. Instead of losing 800,000 jobs a month, workplaces have added some five million jobs.
- [President Obama] has championed the middle class and has a larger, more tolerant notion of America that includes closing the inequality gap and evening the playing field, as exemplified by making an equal-pay-for-women bill the first law he signed. He has fought for the DREAM Act on behalf of the immigrant youths brought here by their parents, and he wants a Supreme Court that will continue to support Roe v. Wade. That’s crucial.
- Mr. Romney, meanwhile wants to cut taxes, reduce the deficit and increase military spending. That’s magic, not real math. And it’s hard to see how any candidate who keeps much of his wealth stashed overseas — like Mr. Romney — could credibly ask Americans for sacrifice.
- In the end, Mr. Obama’s policies across the board — the environment, social policy, taxes and immigration — offer a more generous vision for America. The issues he has fought for, coupled with the lingering doubts about Mr. Romney’s persona and his true intentions, make this a clear choice.
Given the avalanche of mudslinging in the presidential race, voters can easily forget that both President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have positive stories to tell about themselves and their records.
For President Obama, it includes ending the war in Iraq, which seemed like mission impossible when he took office. It includes beginning the wind-down of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan that began when today’s high school seniors entered first grade. He made a gutsy call to get Osama bin Laden.
Saving the car industry was an equally tough call, and a good one. And the much-maligned Affordable Care Act ensures that Americans won’t go broke just because they get sick. He found two well-qualified women for the Supreme Court and got them confirmed without too much fuss.
No one’s happy with the pace of the recovery, but the president deserves credit for starting to turn the economy around. Instead of losing 800,000 jobs a month, workplaces have added some five million jobs. Winning cooperation from Congress would have yielded better results, though it must be said that Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader whose stated priority is to send Mr. Obama packing, is no one’s idea of a great dance partner.
Similarly, Gov. Romney has an affirmative record to run on. His success in the business world is undeniable. Rescuing the Salt Lake City Olympics demonstrated the kind of tough-minded competence it will take to fix this nation’s finances.
As governor, he worked with Democrats to close a budget deficit of $3 billion without raising taxes or borrowing money. He passed a model healthcare reform program and burnished his bipartisan credentials by inviting Ted Kennedy, the U.S. Senate’s leading liberal, to share the spotlight at the signing ceremony.
That’s the good Romney, the one we had in mind when we noted favorably earlier this year that he was the closest thing in the Florida primary to a mainstream candidate.
He went on to win that race, but in the ensuing primaries he tacked so far to the right that at one point he managed to paint Texas Gov. Rick Perry — a hardline conservative by anyone’s definition — as a bleeding heart because of his more enlightened stance on immigration. Goodbye, Mr. Moderate. Hello, Mr. Severe Conservative.
Voters rightly complain that they don’t know what the candidates would do in office. Both the president and the former governor are big on rhetoric and stingy on details. But for Mr. Romney, the problem goes deeper, raising doubts about what he stands for and what he believes.
He has taken so many contradictory positions on important issues — abortion, immigration, even Obamacare (first he said he would repeal it; then he said he would keep the parts most people like) — that he could take any action he chooses once in office and claim that it fulfills a campaign promise he made at one point or another. He has run on his record, and he has run from his record.
That’s not an issue for the president. Not all Americans like what he stands for, but they know who he is. He has championed the middle class and has a larger, more tolerant notion of America that includes closing the inequality gap and evening the playing field, as exemplified by making an equal-pay-for-women bill the first law he signed. He has fought for the DREAM Act on behalf of the immigrant youths brought here by their parents, and he wants a Supreme Court that will continue to support Roe v. Wade. That’s crucial.
Like Mr. Romney, he has not said which tax loopholes he would close or how he would go about balancing the budget. But he has insisted on a balanced approach and shared sacrifice — cuts in spending, tax increases for the wealthiest. Mr. Romney, meanwhile wants to cut taxes, reduce the deficit and increase military spending. That’s magic, not real math. And it’s hard to see how any candidate who keeps much of his wealth stashed overseas — like Mr. Romney — could credibly ask Americans for sacrifice.
If he wins a second term, the president must get serious about reforming entitlements and mopping up the ocean of red ink. If spending money to avoid a second Depression was a priority in the first term, balancing the books should be his goal in a second one. To do it, he will have to take a more active role in working with Congress. The Affordable Care Act was a long overdue achievement. But leaving the details to Congress to work out the specifics was the wrong way to go about it.
Indeed, one of the more perplexing aspects of Mr. Obama’s campaign has been the failure to stump for a more reasonable Congress. Whether he gets one or not, if he’s reelected he must summon the skills necessary to persuade lawmakers to meet him halfway. That’s the kind of leader Americans want in the White House.
In the end, Mr. Obama’s policies across the board — the environment, social policy, taxes and immigration — offer a more generous vision for America. The issues he has fought for, coupled with the lingering doubts about Mr. Romney’s persona and his true intentions, make this a clear choice. In the race for president, The Miami Herald recommends BARACK OBAMA.
Source: American for OBAMA
"Governor, the people of Detroit don't forget."
Those seven words from President Barack Obama to Republican challenger Mitt Romney during the final presidential debate are reason enough for MLive Detroit to endorse Obama for another four years in office. We don't forget Romney's editorial in the New York Times titled, "Let Detroit go bankrupt." It is an unforgivable and unconsciouble position by a man with the audacity to claim himself a son of Detroit. Romney may have grown up here, but he left long ago.
Romney defends his editorial as the blueprint for, essentially, what Obama did. The president's administration brought the automakers into a controlled bankruptcy, bolstered the companies with capital, and gave them time to right the ship. Romney says he wanted to do the same, he just wanted to do it through private investment. The problem? No one was investing in anything when the automakers nearly collapsed, much less offering up $80 billion to failing companies. Lack of government intervention would have resulted in the liquidation of Detroit's Big 3 and the end of the American automotive industry as we know it.
Obama saved Detroit. We don't forget.
While enough to earn an endorsement, the president has done enough in his 3 1/2 years in the Oval Office to earn another term. The Affordable Health Care law, while touted as a step toward national health care, is actually a long-term budget solution. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the law will cut the deficit $1 trillion by 2021. Provisions within the law reign in health insurance spending on advertising and executive bonuses, and, for the firs time, insurance companies will need to publicly justify cost increases. No modern president has done more to bring health care costs into line than Obama. Passing the Affordable Care Act, even in its watered down form, is a fiscally responsible move that ensures Obama's legacy.
The Obama administration also stood strong on national security. The president extricated the U.S. from an unproductive war in Iraq, and his administration brought about the death of Osama bin Laden. He also restored our nation's standing as a voice for freedom in the world. He took the last three years to undo much of the harm created by his predecessor.
We have concerns with the president. While pushing some immigration reform, he's been shockingly tough on detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants. The Obama administration has empowered Immigration and Customs Enforcement to unprecedented levels. Thousands of hard-working immigrants have been split from their families due to heightened in ICE enforcement. The president's conservative approach to immigration enforcement falls to the right of previous presidents.
In Detroit, MLive covered the story of one man picked up in a random traffic stop in Pontiac, detained from his family and then sent back to Mexico, where he hadn't lived for two decades. This tough-line policy hurts Detroit by sending fear through immigrant communities that represent some of the strongest neighborhoods in the city. At a time when people are fleeing the city, the Hispanic community is holding strong. Obama's policy threatens these vital communities.
Obama has shown leadership on immigration in the past six months. It's hard to say, though, if that was pandering to Hispanic voters or a sign that he'll address immigration in a substantive way if given another four years. Just this week Obama said he anticipated a compromise with Republicans on immigration if he's re-elected. We hope these are signs that he'll work during a second term for comprehensive immigration reform that supports Detroit's vibrant immigrant communities.
Obama's dismal record on immigration for the bulk of his tenure is only muted by the prospect of a Romney administration. Romney's chief immigration advisor crafted the Arizona law that allows local and state police to seek out and arrest illegal immigrants. Romeny has said he would drop federal lawsuits challenging the Arizona law on his first day in office. Remarkably, immigration may be the one major issue President George W. Bush bests Obama and Romney in terms of Detroit's best interest.
Obama ran four years ago on the promise of change. He's been unable to deliver on this overarching promise, but he's had an unwilling dance partner. Republican leadership the past two years ruled out compromise as a form of governing. With an eye to the upcoming election, they chose to stand against Obama rather than work with the president in the country's best interests. Even when the president attempted to compromise - angering his supporters on the left - Republicans refused to budge off hardline stances against efforts to jumpstart the economy and pass reforms designed to prevent another economic meltdown. They put politics and special interests ahead of good government, and now criticize the president for failing to transform Washington. Amazingly, the ploy may work.
We hope not. For all of the president's faults and disappointments, he's been a steady hand through difficult times and made the right call more often than not. The auto industry bailout is a prime example. Obama intervened where Romney said he wouldn't. The president got it right and saved Detroit. Romney got it wrong. If he'd been in charge, an historic American industry and city may have fallen.
Governor, the people of Detroit don't forget.
by Dan RafterGovernor Romney’s calculated discrimination against gay and lesbian parents creates documentation struggles for kidsT
he Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, is condemning steps Mitt Romney
took as governor of Massachusetts
to discriminate against families headed by same-sex couples, including demanding that his administration personally review every request to revise birth certificates for children born to same-sex parents. According to a report in the Boston Globe
, Romney rejected a request from the state’s Registry of Vital Records and Statistics to revise birth certificate forms to apply to same-sex parents. Instead, Romney insisted his lawyers investigate every single request for birth certificates for children born to same-sex couples. If Romney’s team decided a request was worthy of revising a birth certificate, officials could then write-in, by hand, the term ‘second parent’ on the legal document. In some instances, Romney denied parents proper birth certificates for their children.
The state’s Department of Public Health warned Romney that his intervention placed children at a disadvantage, particularly later in life as they tried to obtain various forms of identification such as a passport or driver’s license, or as they registered to vote. The same DPH official also warned that allowing officials to alter birth certificates by hand – as opposed to simply revising the forms, as the state’s Registry of Vital Records and Statistics had recommended – was tantamount to a violation of statutes, and would impair efforts to keep organized state records.
Romney, who has a significant track record of deriding LGBT families and speaking out against relationship recognition, appeared not to care what impact his close oversight of same-sex families had on the law. The Globe
reports that emails between Romney officials and the Department of Public Health contained details about the marriages and births of dozens of families.
“It’s appalling that Mitt Romney would create so many additional obstacles for same-sex parents, particularly when the path to starting a family is already so hard for LGBT people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Romney prioritized his own distaste for LGBT people over the well-being of children in Massachusetts. Mitt Romney didn’t care that these children would face a lifetime of obstacles in obtaining legal documentation for things like getting a driver’s license or registering to vote; he only cared about making sure same-sex parents felt abnormal and isolated simply because they wanted to start a family.”
This isn’t the first time Romney has shown utter disregard for the challenges LGBT families face. Earlier this year, he tried to deflect from his discrimination against LGBT people by saying that adoption for same-sex couples was legal in all states but one. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Same-sex couples face overwhelming legal challenges in starting families – in fact, laws in seven states restrict same-sex couples from adopting altogether. And in the vast majority of states, adoption by LGB individuals and families is unclear and left to the discretion of judges, state agencies and adoption agencies who may discriminate.
Romney also has publicly sneered at LGBT families. During a 2004 meeting with Julie Goodridge, a plaintiff in the historic case that led to marriage equality in Massachusetts, Goodridge asked Romney what she should tell her little girl about why her two moms couldn’t marry. Romney coldly replied: “I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don’t you just tell her the same thing you’ve been telling her the last eight years.” And at an event in South Carolina, Romney bemoaned marriage equality in his state, and said of same-sex couples: “Some are actually having children born to them.”
“Mitt Romney has stood before the American people multiple times and said he does not support discrimination against LGBT people – and that is an outright lie,” added Griffin. “Denying birth certificates to children is just the latest in a long list of efforts Romney has undertaken to disenfranchise LGBT people. Support for equality is mainstream, and as a result Romney is attempting to deceive the American people – but his long history of discrimination speaks for itself.”
Birth certificates weren’t the only LGBT issue on which Romney went up against the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In 2006, DPH put the brakes on an anti-bullying guide after consulting with Romney’s staff – because the guide contained terms including “transgender” and “bisexual.”
Learn more about Mitt Romney’s anti-LGBT track record at www.hrc.org/romney