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column speak out
SFGN’s “Speak OUT” is a weekly feature giving a regular
voice to South Florida LGBT leaders.
What are your thoughts on the 2015
Visit SFGN.com/SpeakOut to see more of this week’s responses.
Send an Email to Jason.Parsley@sfgn.com if you know of a LGBT
community leader that should be or wants to be a part of this list.
Discrimination against the LGBT community continues to persist
despite tremendous recent legal advances. Legislation like the
Equality Act of 2015 seek to broadly expand anti discrimination
protections across numerous areas. The Act will likely face tremendous
opposition but it is still critically important to pursue these rights as the
dialogue and debate foster education and progress."
— George Castrataro, noted attorney and LGBT activist
Most Americans are unaware that LGBT people can be discriminated
against in jobs and housing in the majority of states. As was true with
marriage equality, we need to win a cultural war, in addition to hoping for
a legal remedy, by putting a face on the issues. We must tell our stories."
— Brian McNaught, noted columnist, author and LGBT activist
As we work to mobilize support in Washington, it is critical that we
not only address discrimination in employment, but also in housing,
public accommodations, credit, education, etc. Therefore, the Equality
Act of 2015 is the appropriate vehicle to achieve our goals. I am proud
that all four members of Congress representing Palm Beach County (Ted
Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings and Patric Murphy) signed on as
original co-sponsors to the bill."
With the hostile leadership in both houses of Congress, and the inability
for the two parties to work together to enact and substantive legislation,
I do not expect the bill to make much progress in the current Congress.
It is extremely unfortunate that not a single Republican has signed on
as a c-sponsor to the Equity Act. Therefore, it is critical that across the
nation. LGBT people and allies register and vote in the 2016 elections. And
although the Log Cabin Republicans and others may disagree, I believe
we should use a Congressional candidate's willingness to cosponsor the
Equity Act as a litmus test for our support."
In this day an age, I find it hard to believe that any LGBT rights advocacy
group would object to amending our civil rights laws to specifically
include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity." The fears that have
been expressed about opening up the Civil Rights Act to amendments
are unfounded. We do not control the agenda in Congress right now,
and there is a growing movement to address further protecting religious
individuals from perceived discrimination anyway. Unfortunately, the
current leadership may be more likely to move forward with that than they
are with protecting LGBT people from actual discrimination.
— Rand Hoch, President and Founder,
Palm Beach County Human Rights Council
The bill is long overdue but as Senator Merkley said, it's not enough
or written/submitted in the best way possible. Lets get this done the
— R . J. Hadley, community activist, Pride Center Health Educator
Congress must finally pass comprehensive legislation protecting
LGBT Americans from discrimination. It doesn’t matter whether this
is accomplished by enacting new legislation dealing specifically with the
LGBT community or by amending existing civil rights legislation. It needs
to be done now."
— Ken Keechl, noted trial attorney and LGBT rights activist
Why do we need comprehensive legislation that ensures Full
Federal Equality for LGBT Americans? The Equality Act, as it
is called, would guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBT
people in many of the most important aspects of our lives banning
discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender
identity in matters of employment, housing, access to public places,
federal funding, credit, education and jury service. With more
than 140 cosponsors in the House and at least 39 in the Senate, and
the support of major corporations including Apple Inc., The Dow
Chemical Company, and Levi Strauss & Co., this is the moment to pass
landmark legislation that would finally ensure all LGBT Americans
have the protections from discrimination we deserve."
— Michael C. Gongora, former Vice Mayor of Miami Beach
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