The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

LGBT Rights

There is currently no federal law protecting individuals from job discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation. This means that at any time, someone can be discriminated against, fired or not hired simply because he/she is or is perceived to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

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Congress Advances Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy

May 28, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

The United States is moving closer to repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT), a policy that requires lesbian and gay servicemembers to conceal their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the military.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted 234-194 to allow the Department of Defense to repeal the policy after the completion of a Pentagon implementation study. The vote came just hours after the Senate Armed Service Committee approved similar legislation by a vote of 16-12.


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Congress to Vote Soon on "Don't Ask Don't Tell" Repeal

May 20, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Congress is expected to vote soon on legislation to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell," a policy that requires LGBT servicemen and women to conceal their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the military.


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Federal Sentencing Guidelines Amended to Include Gender Identity

May 14, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

The U.S. Sentencing Commission recently adopted changes to the federal sentencing guidelines to permit crimes in which the victim is intentionally selected on the basis of gender identity to be eligible for sentencing enhancements.


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Study: Foreign Militaries Experience "No Negative Impact" with Swift Integration of Openly Gay Soldiers

March 2, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

UPDATE:  On March 3, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I. CT, introduced a bill to repeal "don't ask, don't tell."

A new study released by the Palm Center, a research group at the University of California, Santa Barbara, finds that foreign militaries that have made the transition to allowing openly gay service members did so successfully by implementing the new policies swiftly and with decisive leadership.


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'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy to Change by 2011

February 3, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, announced yesterday the creation of a working group within the Department of Defense that will evaluate how to implement a full repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the law that requires LGBT servicemen and women to keep their sexual orientation a secret or face discharge.


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Report Finds Record Support for Pro-LGBT Legislation in 2009

January 28, 2010 - Posted by Beth Sadler

A report released this week by The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) found that there were as many pro-LGBT bills passed nationwide in 2009 as there were in 2007 and 2008 combined. 


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Amanda Simpson: First Ever Transgender Presidential Appointee

January 4, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

Amanda Simpson

President Obama recently appointed Amanda Simpson, a transgender woman, to be the senior technical adviser to the Department of Commerce.

Simpson the first ever transgender presidential appointee – will serve in the department's Bureau of Industry and Security. The federal agency enforces sanctions and embargoes on various goods and regulates the export of sensitive technologies, such as software and machinery. Since 9/11, the bureau has made restricting the export of technologies that could be potentially used to create weapons of mass destruction a top priority.

With 30 years of experience working in the aerospace and defense industries, most recently serving as deputy director in advanced technology development at Raytheon Missile Systems, Simpson is exceptionally qualified for the position. 

A dedicated civil rights activist, Simpson played a major role in getting Raytheon to include gender identity as part of its equal employment opportunity policy in 2005.  She sits on the board of two national organizations, Out & Equal and the National Center for Transgender Equality, a social justice organization dedicated to advancing the equality of transgender people and a member of The Leadership Conference.

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Assistant Attorney General Perez Testifies on the Need for ENDA

November 11, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Enacting legislation that would prevent employers from discriminating against people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a top priority for the Obama administration, according to Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general, Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

"We cannot in good conscience stand by and watch unjustifiable discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals occur in the workplace without redress," Perez told members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions at a hearing last week on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). "We have come too far in our struggle for 'equal justice under the law' to remain silent or stoic."

As head of the Civil Rights Division, Perez oversees the enforcement of federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, disability, religion, and national origin, including the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act. 


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HUD Combats LGBT Housing Discrimination

October 27, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently proposed new regulations to ensure that its housing programs are open to all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The regulations clarify that the term "family" as HUD uses it includes LGBT individuals and couples and requires HUD grantees and participants in HUD programs to comply with local and state non-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity. The regulations specify that any mortgage loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration must be based only on credit-worthiness and not on unrelated identity factors.

The department also plans to authorize the first national study of discrimination of the LGBT community in the rental and sale of housing.  Although there have been no national studies of housing discrimination against LGBT people, state and local studies show significant evidence of discrimination.

"The evidence is clear that some are denied the opportunity to make housing choices in our nation based on who they are and that must end. President Obama and I are determined that a qualified individual and family will not be denied housing choice based on sexual orientation or gender identity," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said.

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Equality March Continues the Work of the Gay Rights Movement

October 14, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Photo Credit: Nicole Sweeney

Tens of thousands converged on Washington, D.C., this past Sunday in a demonstration of support for the LGBT community.  The march, organized by Equality Across America called for "equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states." 

Cleve Jones, a gay civil rights icon and one of the march's organizers, firmly told the crowd, "We're not settling. There's no such thing as a fraction of equality."

The Equality March took place 30 years after the first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 14, 1979.  It was the first of several national marches that transformed the gay liberation movement into a unified national movement.

Categories: LGBT Rights

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