A Win For Workplace Fairness

— by CAP Action War Room, The Progress Report

President Obama Just Announced The Single Largest Expansion Of LGBT Workplace Protections In Our Country’s History

Progress

As many as 9 out of 10 voters believe federal law already protects LGBT workers from discrimination. But it doesn’t. And while the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was passed by the Senate this year, it has stalled in the House; Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has made it clear that there is “no way” ENDA will pass this year.

Enter the latest chapter of the Obama Administration’s “year of action.” The White House announced today that President Obama will issue an executive order requiring that all companies who contract with the federal government must not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Think Progress reporter Zack Ford has the details:

The order, expected to be finalized in the coming weeks, is an extension of orders previously issued by past presidents — most recently Johnson — similarly banning employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin among all contractors and subcontractors who do over $10,000 in business with the government in any one year.

The protections will reach over one million LGBT workers across the country, making it the single largest expansion of LGBT workplace protections in our country’s history. There continue to be 29 states that offer no employment protections on the basis of sexual orientation and 32 with no protections based on gender identity, but many LGBT workers in those states will now have workplace protections for the first time ever. As many as 43 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and 90 percent of transgender people have experienced some form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace.

As with Obama’s executive order raising the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $10.10, this order will cover an enormous number of people but still relies on Congress to pass a law making sure that millions more LGBT Americans have the freedom to work.

Recently, some LGBT advocates have been giving second thoughts to the current ENDA bill in Congress, based on a religious liberty exemption that could have the potential interpreted too broadly. Here’s Zack Ford again:

The LGBT movement has also become increasingly divided over whether ENDA in its current form is worth pursuing. After two decades of failed consideration in Congress, the bill has been weakened by an exemption that would grant religious organizations unprecedented privilege to continue discriminating against LGBT people. A number of state groups and legal organizations have recently dropped their support for ENDA because they believe that the exemption goes too far and codifies into law the idea that LGBT identities are incompatible with faith. The executive order is thus an important step even if ENDA eventually passes.

BOTTOM LINE: Americans of any sexual orientation and gender identity should have the freedom to work and the right to equal treatment in the workplace. President Obama’s latest executive action is the biggest expansion of those rights in American history. There is more left to be done when it comes to giving all Americans equal protection, and Congress should follow the President’s lead by passing a federal law that ends unfair and discriminatory workplace practices that hurt LGBT workers and their families.

Resources on LGBT Workplace Discrimination:


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

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Optimizing LGBT Health Under the Affordable Care Act

 

Strategies for Health Centers

By National LGBT Health Education Center and Center for American Progress
Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) is expected to expand insurance coverage to millions of Americans starting this year. Among those most in need of access to affordable health insurance and high-quality health services are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Research has shown that many LGBT Americans, particularly same-sex couples, transgender people, and those living with HIV, have difficulty accessing insurance and are disproportionately likely to lack coverage.  This brief explains how the Affordable Care Act will benefit LGBT Americans, particularly through better data collection, stronger nondiscrimination policies, a new essential health benefits standard and other insurance reforms, and coverage expansions. Part 1 provides an overview of the issues, while Part 2 discusses how America’s health centers, which are integral to efforts to enroll uninsured people, can deploy effective strategies for reaching LGBT people.

Read more here …

See Also: Fact Sheets on the Affordable Care Act and LGBT Communities


Asking Patients Questions about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Clinical Settings

By The Fenway Institute and Center for American Progress
The Institute of Medicine, the U.S. government’s Healthy People 2020 strategy, and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations are among many entities that have recommended asking sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) questions in clinical settings and including such data in Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Many health care providers are in the process of considering how to do this. In order to better understand how a diverse group of people would respond when these questions are asked, several hundred patients at four health centers across the United States were surveyed about asking SOGI questions in their health center.  This study found wide patient support for the importance of SOGI data and demonstrated the feasibility of collecting SOGI data using existing question designs.

Read more …

Center for American ProgressThis material [the articles above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

SB192: They Hope You Don’t Care About Reproductive Freedom

A few legislators want to weaken Nevada’s strong laws protecting reproductive freedom, and they’re doing it by claiming they’re protecting religion. The Religious Freedom Preservation bill (Senate Bill 192), which passed in the Senate and is now in the Assembly, would allow health care providers to deny needed services to patients because of their personal views about race, religion, gender, social status, and type of illness or injury.

Should your health needs be subject to a religious test?  That would be a definite, “NO!”

 Tell your Nevada Assemblyperson that health care providers cannot use religion to discriminate against patients.

We’ve asked the supporters of this bill why Nevada needs these so-called religious protections. We have not received an answer. Maybe it’s because religious freedom is currently well-protected under state and federal law. On the other hand, we have seen numerous real-life attempts to use laws like this to deny access to health care in other states:

  • Pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control or emergency contraception because it is “dangerous” or “not right” for women
  • Doctors and entire hospitals refusing to terminate pregnancies, even to save the life of the mother
  • A hospital denying HIV medication to a patient because of his sexual orientation
  • Dozens of companies suing to escape the contraceptive provisions of President Obama’s health care program

Health care professionals’ primary concern must be a patient’s welfare. Their job is to provide needed health care services, not to impose their personal, religious beliefs on their patients.

Urge your Assemblyperson to protect access to health care that is free from discrimination. Ask them to oppose this troubling and unnecessary bill.

In liberty,

Vanessa Spinazola
Legislative Director
ACLU of Nevada

Google Announces Worldwide Campaign To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

By Judd Legum on Jul 7, 2012 at 7:50 pm


Today, Google has announced an ambitious effort to legalize same-sex marriage across the globe. The project, called “Legalize Love,” was annouced earlier today at an event in London focusing on LGBT issues in the workplace.

Dot429.com has the details:

The “Legalize Love” campaign officially launches in Poland and Singapore on Saturday, July 7th. Google intends to eventually expand the initiative to every country where the company has an office, and will focus on places with homophobic cultures, where anti-gay laws exist.

Google’s Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe outlined the initiative at a Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London earlier today. “We want our employees who are gay or lesbian or transgender to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office. It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work.

Their strategy involves developing partnerships between companies and organizations to support grass-roots campaigns.

The project will initially focus on Poland and Singapore before expanding to other countries. Palmer-Edgecumbe explained that Google will impress on these countries that “being a global center and a world leader means you have to treat all people the same, irrespective of their sexual orientation.”

The initiative was immediately praised by representatives from Citi and Ernst & Young.


This article was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.