206 companies urge Supreme Court to rule Title VII covers LGBT workers

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A total of 206 companies have signed onto a legal brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to find Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars discrimination against LGBT people in the workforce.

The friend-of-the-court brief — organized by the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, Out & Equal, Out Leadership and Freedom for All Americans — is signed by the nation’s top businesses and argues anti-LGBT discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, thus illegal under the Title VII.

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Free legal clinic for the LGBTQ community in Ohio opens

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CLEVELAND (AP) | Ohio’s first free legal clinics to specifically serve the LGBTQ community have opened.

WEWS-TV reports the clinics in Columbus and the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood were launched by the nonprofit Equality Ohio with grants from the Cleveland Foundation, the Ohio State Bar Association and the Victims of Crime Act.

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Trump comes out against Equality Act

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With a vote on the Equality Act in the U.S. House expected on Friday, a senior administration official indicated exclusively to the Washington Blade that President Trump opposes the bill.

“The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” the senior administration official said via email.

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Trump administration announces ‘conscience rule’ for health care providers

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Above: President Trump on May 2, 2019, announced the final version of a “conscience rule” for health care providers that critics contend would allow anti-LGBT discrimination. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Trump administration on May 2 announced the final version of a “conscience rule” for health care providers.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights in a statement said the rule “protects individuals and health care entities from discrimination on the basis of their exercise of conscience in HHS-funded programs.”

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Deal requires Facebook to end discriminatory ad targeting

By : wire report
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SEATTLE (AP)| Facebook and Washington state have reached a legally binding agreement that requires the tech giant to stop enabling advertisers to unlawfully discriminate in who sees their ads.

Facebook says it was already doing so. Under pressure from civil rights activists, it announced in April it removed thousands of categories from its “exclusion targeting” tools, which allow companies to control who sees their ads, including for jobs and housing. The removed categories included attributes such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion.

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Ex-Colorado official: No bias in same-sex wedding cake case

By : wire report
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DENVER (AP) — A former Colorado civil rights commissioner whose remarks on religion were the basis of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling for a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple insisted last Wednesday she has no religious bias and wouldn’t have said anything if she’d known how her remarks would be used.

Diann Rice acknowledged she made remarks cited by the high court when it ruled last Monday in favor of Jack Phillips, a suburban Denver baker. But she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that she made the comments after Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission already had ruled against Phillips and for Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins.

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U.S. agency to Congress: Pass law against LGBT workplace discrimination

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Employment Non-Discrimination protest in May, 2010. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key).

An independent, bipartisan U.S. agency is set to deliver to President Trump on Wednesday a report calling on Congress to “immediately enact a federal law” against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination, although lawmakers are unlikely to act any time soon given the current makeup of Congress and the long history of stalling on the issue.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights details in the 154-page report the history of discrimination against LGBT people and the lack of non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in federal law, citing a 2015 hearing the agency held on the issue.

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Gavin Grimm testifies on civil rights after 100 days of Trump

By : Chris Johnson of the Washingston Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Transgender student Gavin Grimm testified before Congress Thursday on the experience of his Virginia high school denying him access to the bathroom consistent with the gender identity as well as harms the Trump administration’s withdrawal of pro-trans guidance has caused for transgender people.

Gavin made the remarks during a congressional forum hosted by U.S. House Democrats on the state of civil rights after the first 100 days of the Trump administration. Witnesseses sharply criticized the Trump administration — in particular the U.S. Justice Department under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — for failing to live up to equal protection under the law.

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Gambian activists cheer exit of anti-LGBTQ leader

By : Wire Report
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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP)- In August 2014, Jamu Camara was at home with her girlfriend in the Gambian resort town of Kololi when police arrived for a surprise raid, taking both women in for questioning.

“They just said they heard we are lesbians, blah blah blah,” the 21-year-old soccer player recalled. “I told them, ‘You have no right to detain me here. I’m not going to say anything because you don’t have your evidence.'”

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Google launches fund that could donate $4M to ACLU, others

By : Wire Report
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) – Google has created a crisis fund that could raise up to $4 million for four immigrant rights organizations.

Google has confirmed a USA Today report that it is funding an initial $2 million for the fund that can be matched with up to $2 million in donations from employees. The money will go toward the American Civil Liberties Union, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the International Rescue Committee and the U.N. Refugee Agency.

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Arizona Democratic lawmakers push anti-discrimination laws

By : Wire Report
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PHOENIX (AP) – Democratic Arizona lawmakers who want to amend the state’s civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status appealed Jan. 30 to Republicans’ pro-business core to support the effort.

Democratic leaders said at a Capitol news conference that the state’s lack of protection is hurting its national reputation among businesses.

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Fidel Castro is dead, will LGBT Cubans now gain more civil rights?

By : Wire Report
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HAVANA (AP) — He overthrew a strongman, brought his country free health care and education, and enlisted Cubans in what he called fights for freedom from Central America to South Africa. Fidel Castro also maintained a steel grip at home, jailing dissidents and gays, controlling freedom of travel and expression and declaring virtually any activity outside his control to be illegitimate.

Since the revolutionary’s death Friday night, Cubans have defended Castro’s record while human rights groups said they hoped that his brother and successor, Raul Castro, would move faster toward allowing Cubans more freedom of speech, assembly and other basic rights.

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