May 2, 2012 | by Phil Reese
National news in brief: May 4
Empire State Building, gay news, gay politics dc, Washington Blade

New York LGBT activists are trying for a fifth time to push passage of a gender identity non-discrimination bill. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

N.Y. Assembly passes gender identity bill

ALBANY — The New York State Assembly has sent on to the Senate a bill that would bar employers from discriminating based on gender identity, according to the Empire State Pride Agenda.

In its fifth attempt, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act passed 80-55 this week with bipartisan support, and now heads to the Senate where an intense battle over yet another pro-LGBT bill could be expected. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have similar laws.

“Currently under New York State law, a person can lose their job, be refused service in a restaurant, kicked out of a public library or evicted from their home simply because of how they express their gender,” said ESPA interim executive director Lynn Faria. “As a result of this discrimination, more than one-third of transgender New Yorkers have been homeless at one time and 74 percent of transgender people have been harassed at work.”

Several municipalities and counties, including New York City and Albany, have passed local versions of the protections. New York State already bars discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Boehner to defend DOMA against veteran

WASHINGTON — Though she’s in the grips of stage IV breast cancer, Iraq war veteran Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan will have to face a new foe in her struggle to have her marriage recognized by the defense department: House Speaker John Boehner.

According to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which is representing Morgan and seven other military families, though the Department of Justice has decided not to defend the law against claims that it sets up a two-class system for military personnel — especially in terms of spousal benefits like health insurance — Boehner has assembled a bipartisan legal advisory group and says he will fight to defend it.

“Speaker Boehner’s request to defend this case in the wake of the ongoing harm done to military families by these discriminatory laws is reprehensible and callous,” said Army veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.

AU student president comes out as transgender

WASHINGTON — The outgoing president of student government at American University came out as transgender in a heartfelt editorial published Tuesday in the student newspaper, the Eagle.

Though students had always known her as Tim, she signed her editorial for the first time as Sarah McBride, helping promote visibility and awareness of transgender students, and promoting understanding of gender identity issues.

“With every birthday candle extinguished, with every penny thrown, my wish was always the same,” McBride writes. “I am now blessed with the opportunity to live my dream and fulfill a truth I have known since childhood.”

Family Equality Day events planned

BOSTON — Family Equality Council announced this week that celebrations for the first annual International Family Equality Day will be held in four American cities, as well as at venues around the world.

The May 6 multi-city event will celebrate the more than two million children being raised by LGBT parents with proceedings in New York, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Dover, New Hampshire. Additionally, events will also take place on that day in Canada, Germany, Finland, Switzerland and South Africa.

“There is a need not only to recognize and celebrate our families at the local level, but to also take a moment to appreciate the global LFBT family community we are part of,” said Brent Wright, Director of Programs at Family Equality Council.

 

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