With the U.S. Supreme Court hearing testimony tomorrow on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans in places like Michigan, I thought it would be a good time to repost my interview with April DeBoer and Jayne Rowze. Although much has happened since our interview a bit over a year ago – like the addition of a fourth child to their family – it’s worth hearing directly from Jayne and April why this case is so critical to couples like them. They talk about the terrifying experience that made them realize that their second-class citizenship status was a threat to the children they are raising together.…
INTERVIEW: Meet Jayne Rowse & April DeBoer, two Michigan women at the center of this week’s SCOTUS marriage equality case
Anti-trans* woman uses Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to sue Planet Fitness for terminating her membership
Earlier this month I wrote about a woman in Midland who had her Planet Fitness membership cancelled because she spent her days in their gym warning anyone who would listen that Planet Fitness had a “No Judgment Zone” policy that permitted a transgender woman to enter the women’s locker room. Keep in mind that their locker rooms have private changing stalls and their toilet stalls have doors on them. But the presence of a “man” in the locker room was simply too much for Yvette Cormier who then returned every day the following week to “warn” women about Planet Fitness’s horrible policy of tolerance, inclusion, and acceptance.…
This is the feel good story of the month so far.
Planet Fitness, a national chain of fitness clubs, has a the motto “Judgement Free Zone”. So, when one of their members in Midland, Michigan complained (and complained and complained) that a trans* woman was using the women’s locker room, they reluctantly took action. The action was to tell the small-minded complaining woman to take her business elsewhere as she was no longer welcome at their club and they cancelled her membership:
As religious groups across the nation lobby to have new laws passed to ensure their right to discriminate against the LGBT community, Democrats and even some Republicans are moving to ensure the LGBT kids, at least, are protected from bullying and violence.
The only new Democrat in the U.S. Senate after the 2014 election is Michigan’s own Gary Peters. Peters announced today that he is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation to prevent bullying of LGBT kids.
Although federal civil rights laws explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin, they do not protect Americans from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.…
300 same-sex couples married in Michigan last year will have their marriages recognized by the state government
Last year, nearly 300 same-sex couples took advantage of a one-day window of opportunity to legally marry in the state of Michigan. It was a joyous day which Anne and I documented with words and emotional photos HERE.
While the federal government via Attorney General Eric Holder quickly affirmed that the federal government would recognize the marriages as legal, the state of Michigan, led by Bigot-in-Chief Attorney General Bill Schuette, declared that it would not. A lawsuit ensued and AG Schuette along with Gov. Rick Snyder were slapped down by a federal judge last month. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith wrote:
“What the state has joined together, it may not put asunder.”
Connie Greer and Diane VanDorn of Ann Arbor (formerly Dexter). Read about their story HERE.
In a huge rebuke to Gov. Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette, and anti-LGBT homophobes in Michigan, a federal judge today ruled that the state of Michigan must recognize the marriages of the nearly 300 same-sex couples that were married last March. (See our photoblog of that joyous day HERE.)
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith wrote:
This past summer, President Obama issued Executive Order 13672 which will add prohibitions against discrimination based sexual orientation and gender identity in federal contracts. EO 13672 modifies previous Executive Order 11478 by substituting “sexual orientation, gender identity” for “sexual orientation” and Executive Order 11246 by substituting “sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin” for “sex, or national origin”.
Last Friday, EO 13672 was published in the Federal Register as a final rule meaning that it will take effect in March 2015. Patricia Shiu, director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs which is responsible for enforcement, had this to say about the new rule:
Since last week’s hearing on expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to include the LGBT community, I have been sharing testimony prepared by members of the trans* community that were to be delivered at the State House Commerce Committee hearing. Since not enough time was alotted to hear these personal stories at the hearing, seven of them have been posted at the No-T-No-Equality.com website and I am cross-posting several of them here at Eclectablog.
Here is Zoe Steinfeld’s prepared remarks:
Over the past two days, I have been sharing testimony prepared by members of the trans* community that were to be delivered at a State House Commerce Committee hearing on expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to include the LGBT community. Unfortunately, not enough time was alotted to hear these personal stories. You can read them HERE and HERE.
Today you can read Amanda Niven’s testimony and I’ll have one more tomorrow. You can read all seven of them at the No-T-No-Equality.com website.
Here is Amanda’s prepared testimony:
Good morning. My name is Amanda Niven. I am leading the Trans* Leadership Project, and I am a person that you may find confusing.…
Michigan GOP kills expansion of LGBT civil rights and passes “license to discriminate” bill out of committee
Michigan’s Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger has been paying lip service to the LGBT community by saying that he supports expanding civil rights protects to them as long as it (a) doesn’t include transgender Michiganders and (b) is accompanied by a “license to discriminate” bill that allows anyone who wants to deny basic services to gays, lesbians, or bisexuals the ability to claim “sincerely-held religious beliefs” in order to do so.
Yesterday, a House committee essentially killed off any hopes of expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to cover either LGB or LGBT people. Today, House Republicans moved forward with the “license to discriminate” bill anyway, voting along party lines to send it to the full House for a vote.…
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