Marriage equality heads into Arizona lawbooks, but voters still have last word (again)

Marriage equality heads into Arizona lawbooks, but voters still have last word (again)

A new law proposed by 13 co-sponsors will put marriage equality into Arizona lawbooks – provided voters repeal the unconstitutional 2008 voter-enacted amendment. House Bill 2117 repeals a 1996 statute banning same-sex marriage.

The legislative-passed language was bolstered by Proposition 102, which amended the state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The conundrum is that voters changed the Arizona constitution and the constitution requires a people's vote to be changed.Kaine Fisher, partner and director of Family Law for the Rose Law Group, says that the state statute can't become effective unless voters reverse their position on marriage equality. Read more »

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Does Saks Have the Legal Right to Fire a Transgender Employee?

Does Saks Have the Legal Right to Fire a Transgender Employee?

A former employee of Saks & Co. is taking the luxury retail store to court in Texas, claiming that she was discriminated against for being transgender.

Leyth Jamal says she was belittled by coworkers, forced to use the men’s room and repeatedly referred to by male pronouns (he and him) before ultimately being fired. The company responded in late December with a motion for the federal court to dismiss the case. In it, Saks’ lawyers don’t spend much time on any specific claims about mistreatment, instead arguing that transgender people simply aren’t protected by federal non-discrimination laws. Read more »

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Charlotte Diocese Under Fire for Terminating Gay Teacher

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today condemned another Catholic school firing of an LGBT employee as evidence of the church’s continuing efforts to keep workers in the closet.

Charlotte-area teacher Lonnie Billiard was fired from Charlotte Catholic High School after announcing on his personal Facebook page last fall that he planned to marry his partner. Billiard had been a teacher at the school for 15 years, and continued working there as a long-term substitute after he retired in 2012. Read more »

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Advocates hopeful Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey defends LGBT rights

Advocates hopeful Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey defends LGBT rights

Activists in Arizona are hopeful Gov. Doug Ducey will continue to move the state forward on social issues, particularly the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents.

One primary concern for groups such as Equality Arizona, an advocacy organization for LGBT rights, is whether Arizona might see a resurrection of legislation similar to SB 1062.

The bill -- vetoed by former Gov. Jan Brewer in February -- would have strengthened religious protections in the state and allowed businesses to refuse service based on a sincerely-held religious belief, leading to fierce outcry of violating gay rights. Read more »

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Virginia should not sanction faith-based discrimination against gays

Virginia should not sanction faith-based discrimination against gays

When asked Monday about his “rights of conscience” bill that would sanction discrimination against gays and lesbians, Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, cited the recent firing of Atlanta’s fire chief as a cautionary tale.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed fired Kelvin Cochran last week after the fire chief distributed to some co-workers copies of his self-published Christian book condemning homosexual acts as “vile, vulgar and inappropriate.”

Marshall and other Cochran supporters see this as an issue of religious freedom — not the poor judgment of a manager of 750 employees.

A boss should not be proselytizing on the job, sending chills through a diverse organization or creating a hostile work environment. Read more »

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Cost to business of staying in the closet

Cost to business of staying in the closet

Failing to be inclusive of employees of different sexual orientation can have disastrous effects on staff morale and productivity, according to a new survey. 

More than 80% of those polled in a study of 200 senior lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) business figures by LGBT network OUTstanding said that being unable to be themselves at work damages people’s confidence and isolates them from workmates. 

Of those surveyed, 85% said that gay employees who stay in the closet waste valuable energy pretending to be someone they’re not, while 86% said that the fear of being outed to colleagues makes them anxious.  Read more »

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Location

SkySong
1365 N. Scottsdale Road Build 3
Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale’s Human Relations Commission hosts its third Civil Dialogue Series from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 21 at SkySong, 1365 N. Scottsdale Road, building 3. Business leaders will share their perspectives and discuss organizational challenges as it relates to diversity and inclusionary practices.

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Your God and My Dignity

Your God and My Dignity

I’VE been called many unpleasant things in my life, and I’ve deserved no small number of them. But I chafe at this latest label:

A threat to your religious liberty.

I don’t mean me alone. I mean me and my evidently menacing kind: men who have romantic relationships with other men and maybe want to marry them, and women in analogous situations. According to many of the Americans who still cast judgment on us, our “I do” somehow tramples you, not merely running counter to your creed but running roughshod over it. Read more »

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