civil rights

That anti-gay bill in Arkansas actually became law today. Why couldn’t activists stop it?

Monday was the deadline for Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto SB 202, the anti-anti-discrimination bill that seeks to prevent cities and counties from protecting the civil rights of gay people.

The bill passed the legislature 10 days ago. Hutchinson said he would allow it to become law. During the past week, pressure had been mounting on the governor to change his mind.

Five days ago, the Arkansas chapter of the Human Rights Campaign released a statement condemning the bill. “Discrimination is not an Arkansas value, and the Governor should take swift, immediate action to veto SB202,” said chapter director Kendra R. Johnson. Read more »

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The small Mormon step that's actually a big deal

The small Mormon step that's actually a big deal

Lasting change doesn't come in big jumps. It happens through a lot of smaller steps — not all of them smooth or easy.

Last week, the Mormon church took one of those steps when it acknowledged the steady movement toward true equality for gays and lesbians. In a rare press conference, top church leaders expressed support for laws that bar discrimination in housing, employment "and some other areas where LGBT people do not have protections."

This was not unequivocal, however. In fact, some have criticized the event as being largely designed to co-opt the call to end discrimination.

That's a fair observation. Read more »

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Mom's pie? It's no big deal

Mom's pie? It's no big deal

The strangest sermon I ever heard was about your mother's apple pie. The preacher said there was nothing special about it. I kept waiting for him to get to the punchline and say it's the love that makes it taste so good.

But he never got there. His premise – from start to finish – was that the specialness of Mom's pie is entirely an illusion.

My reaction was to go home, bake an apple pie and dare my family to suggest it wasn't the best one they'd ever eaten. They did, in fact, swoon over the pie. They know what's good for them.

The illusion of pie exceptionalism has a practical application to Arizona politics. Read more »

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Beyond marriage, challenges ahead for gay rights groups

Beyond marriage, challenges ahead for gay rights groups

Even as same-sex marriage edges closer to becoming legal nationwide, gay rights advocates face other challenges in 2015 that may not bring quick victories.

In Congress, for example, liberal Democrats plan to introduce civil rights bills in the House and Senate that would outlaw a broad range of discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. However, Republicans will control both chambers in the new Congress, and there is no sign that GOP leaders will help the bills advance. Read more »

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Justice Department Will Now Support Transgender Discrimination Claims In Litigation

Justice Department Will Now Support Transgender Discrimination Claims In Litigation

Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department’s position going forward in litigation will be that discrimination against transgender people is covered under the sex discrimination prohibition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The decision is a reversal of the department’s prior position on the matter. Read more »

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Rights Bill Sought for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans

Rights Bill Sought for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans

As barriers to same-sex marriage fall across the country, gay rights advocates are planning their next battle on Capitol Hill: a push for sweeping legislation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination, similar to the landmark Civil Rights Act that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed in 1964.

Plans for a so-called comprehensive lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights bill are still in their infancy, and advocates say the campaign could take a decade or longer. With Republicans taking control of the House and the Senate in January, they say the measure has little chance of passing in the next two years.

Continue reading the main story

RELATED COVERAGE Read more »

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Tempe, Tucson, Phoenix get perfect scores in gay civil rights report

Tempe, Tucson, Phoenix get perfect scores in gay civil rights report

In one year, Arizona has gone from being home to one city lauded as a leader in gay civil rights to sporting three municipalities garnering the accolades.

In 2013, Phoenix was the only city in Arizona to score 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign's annual Municipal Equality Index. The index grades how U.S. municipalities treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents. The Human Rights Campaign is a national gay-rights organization.

This year, Tempe, Tucson and Phoenix received perfect scores on the 0-100 scale. The cities also were among 23 designated "All Stars," for excelling on matters of equality without relying on state law. Read more »

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Donors to Gay Causes Consider Their Next Steps

Donors to Gay Causes Consider Their Next Steps

The Arcus Foundation’s latest effort in support of gay and lesbian issues began with an ominous question: "Is there a future for the LGBTQ movement?"

The tagline speaks to a bubbling uncertainty among the movement’s philanthropic vanguard. After a number of legal victories on same-sex marriage, where should longtime supporters put their money now? And will today’s triumphs make tomorrow’s donors think the struggle for gay equality has already been won? Read more »

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Phoenix leaders say gay-marriage ruling good for business

Phoenix leaders say gay-marriage ruling good for business

Opponents of gay marriage, including Gov.Jan Brewer and Catholic bishops, criticized the judge's decision. Brewer said that with its decision, the court was eroding the people's power and overstepping its bounds. Brewer noted that Arizona voters in 2008 approved a state constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

We asked: What impact do you think the ruling legalizing same-sex marriage will have in Phoenix? Please indicate whether you support or oppose the decision. Read more »

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Tempe voters weigh discrimination against gay people

Tempe voters weigh discrimination against gay people

Cities have become the battleground that pits individuals who advocate for religious liberties against those who struggle to secure equal rights for gay and transgender Americans.

The local clashes come after a more than 20-year effort by gay-rights groups to push the United States Congress to pass a federal law that would ban employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Last year, the U.S. Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) 64-32, bolstering gay-rights advocates' hopes for sweeping change. The measure stalled in the House.

Gay-rights leaders have increasingly sought success on a more local level. Read more »

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