California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law SB 1172, a bill that will put an end to dangerous and disproved efforts designed to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender expression that have proven to inflict great emotional harm, that can lead to depression, substance abuse and suicide. This makes California the first state to ban 'gay cure' therapy on minors with this new law.
Efforts to change sexual orientation or gender expression have been debunked as junk science, and have also been proven harmful to children and adults. All major medical and mental health organizations have denounced the practice including: the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American School Counselor Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Pan American Health Organization.
Kate Kendell President of The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) issued the following statement:
"This legislation is one of the most important bills NCLR has ever sponsored. Since 1993, NCLR’s Youth Project has provided legal support to LGBT youth who have been damaged by psychological abuse and mistreatment at the hands of abusive mental health practitioners who tell these youth that who they are is bad, sick, and wrong. We have seen firsthand the terrible, lasting damage caused by these deadly practices. This law provides a powerful tool to make sure that therapists who abuse LGBT youth can be held legally accountable. And just as important, it sends a powerful message of affirmation and support to LGBT youth and their families—telling them loud and clear that the state of California will not stand by while state-licensed therapists abuse their power to harm LGBT youth and propagate the deadly lie that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder that can be “cured.”
Special thanks also go to the many organizations who sent action alerts to their members and urged the Governor to support the bill. And a very special thanks to you, the people who—through your calls, your emails, and your tweets—took the time to ask Governor Brown to put a stop to these practices.
We are also grateful to celebrities such as Jane Lynch, Chely Wright, and Wilson Cruz who worked alongside us, tweeting their followers to encourage them to ask the Governor to sign this bill.
Chad Griffin President od Human Rights Campaign issued the following statement:
"We're grateful to Governor Brown for standing with California's children. LGBT youth will now be protected from a practice that has not only been debunked as junk science, but has been proven to have drastically negative effects on their well-being. We commend Governor Brown for putting children first, and call on all states to take California’s lead on this issue. We will continue our fight against this kind of child abuse, which has been deemed harmful to children by all major mental health, medical, and child welfare organizations."
Authored by California Senator Ted Lieu, SB 1172 was sponsored by Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gaylesta, Lambda Legal, Mental Health of North America, and the Courage Campaign. This week nearly 50,000 concerned citizens signed a Human Rights Campaign petition urging the Governor to sign the bill.
Please send aheartfelt thank you to Governor Brown for his leadership on this issue. You can thank him directly by tweeting him @JerryBrownGov or by using TinyURL.Com/ThankCAGov.
Source Press releases from HRC and NCLR
From HRC: Supreme Court to decide fate of Prop 8 case shortly; denial of hearing would mean return of marriage equality in California
WASHINGTON – In a matter of weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether or not to hear the Perry v. Brown case – the suit challenging California’s ban on marriage for gay and lesbian couples known as Prop 8. If the court decides not to hear the case, the appeals court ruling will stand striking down Prop 8 as unconstitutional, and the state will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples again. The court will also consider whether to review a number of cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bars the federal government from recognizing married same-sex couples, even in states that legally recognize their union. These milestones, along with the four states deciding marriage-related issues on the ballot in November makes these next few weeks critical to the future of marriage equality in this country.
On Wednesday, September 18, 2012, at 1:30 p.m. E.T., the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) will hold a national phone press briefing on the status of the marriage cases in front of the Supreme Court and the marriage equality landscape across the country.
In the states, voters in Washington and Maryland will head to the polls to affirm marriage equality legislation passed by their state legislatures. In Maine, we are looking at the first chance to proactively pass marriage at the ballot. And in Minnesota, voters can vote no on a proposed constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. Heading into 2013, we’re also looking at possible marriage equality bills in states like Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
Of course, the presidential election also will be a turning point in the fight for marriage. President Obama supports full marriage equality – and is the first president to do so while in office. He’s also directed the Justice Department to stop defending DOMA. Mitt Romney presents an alarming contrast – he doesn’t support relationship recognition for same-sex couples (even George W. Bush supported civil unions), he’s vowed to defend DOMA, and he’s even pledged to support a constitutional amendment banning committed, loving same-sex couples from marrying.
Momentum is on our side – a majority of Americans, including an increasing number of conservatives, support marriage equality. Help spread the word and share this chart with your friends and family.
From: HRCFirst-of-its-kind resource shows Congress behind public on marriage for gays and lesbians Washington
– Today the Human Rights Campaign released a comprehensive survey of the marriage equality positions of Members of Congress. The new resource, available online at www.hrc.org/resources/entry/your-elected-officials
, combines Members’ marriage positions with their record on other critical LGBT issues in one searchable database. Support for marriage equality will also be noted in HRC’s Congressional Scorecard published in the fall.
“As a majority of Americans have come to support the ability of loving and committed gay and lesbian couples to marry, they rightfully want to know whether their elected officials share that fair-minded view,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
“Many Members of Congress are commendably with the public, but Congress is always a lagging indicator. It’s time for more of our leaders to get on the right side of history.”
Among both the House and Senate, 181 members support marriage equality (34 percent). 234 have made statements against (44 percent) and 122 have an unclear or unknown position (23 percent). 36 Senators and 145 Representatives support marriage equality with 52 Senators and 182 Representatives opposed.
All 100 Senators, 431 sitting Representatives and 6 Delegates were asked whether or not they agreed with this statement: “Gay and lesbian couples should not be denied the ability to pledge their love and commitment through the civil institution of marriage. I believe that two committed adults of the same sex should be able to receive a government-issued marriage license, while religious institutions retain their right to determine which marriages they will perform,” or alternatively provide an unambiguous statement supporting marriage equality. HRC supplemented that survey with other publicly available statements. Members who did not respond or whose positions are unclear are labeled as such.
Among Democrats, support is at 72 percent with 9 percent opposed and 19 percent unclear or unknown. Only one Republican in Congress supports marriage equality – Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. Support is strongest in the East (58 percent) and the West (51 percent) and weakest in the Midwest (25 percent) and the South (15 percent). In states where gay and lesbian couples can marry, 69 percent of Senators and Representatives support marriage equality while 17 percent are opposed. And in the four states facing marriage-related ballot measures in November, 56 percent of leaders are supportive of marriage equality with 21 percent opposed.
Nationally, support for marriage equality among the public is at 54 percent according to a June 2012 CNN poll
. While marriages are performed on a state level, federal elected officials play a role in the marriage equality debate including efforts to repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act barring the federal government from recognizing legally married same-sex couples. Additionally some Member of Congress continue to advocate for a Federal Marriage Amendment that would write discrimination into the Constitution and bar loving and committed gay and lesbian couples from marriage in any state.
Chicago Activists to Re-Launch Boycott of Anti-Gay Chick-fil-A
Chicago activists will re-launch a boycott of the chain Chick-fil-A
in a protest on Wednesday, August 8, from 4:30-6pm
., in front of the chain's open outlet in Chicago, located at 30 E. Chicago Avenue.
4:30 to 6 PM
The Loyola University Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild initiated organizing against the store before it opened last year. They launched a boycott of the store, which is leased from the university, but the boycott was little-known off of campus.
"As our movement against Anita Bryant showed a generation ago, even very entrenched bigots can be defeated by smart and effective use of boycotts, demonstrations and other direct mobilizations of LGBTI's and our allies," said Andy Thayer
of the Gay Liberation,
the group which is initiating next Wednesday's protest.
Bryant was a former beauty queen and TV spokeswoman for Florida oranges and orange juice. Her anti-gay career was entitled the "Save Our Children" crusade. It led to huge spikes in anti-gay violence in city after city that it visited. A huge proportion of our country's early pro-gay legislation was repealed as a result of Anita Bryant's movement.
"But she was defeated not by an expensive, slick ad campaign run by high-paid consultants," said Thayer, "but by the mobilization of countless thousands of LGBTI's and our allies in the streets of America. The successful boycott of Florida oranges, and the rallies and marches that accompanied it, was our slick ad campaign."
While many charges of censorship have been made against Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno (D-1st) for apparently wanting to prevent Chick-fil-A from opening a store in his ward, GLN contends that both Moreno and his critics miss an important point. While it would be illegal censorship for the government to prevent a business from operating based solely on its leaders' bigoted statements, there is evidence that Chick-fil-A may be in violation of bedrock civil rights principles that should prevent it from operating.
A February 2011 article in the Windy City Times
stated that Chick-fil-A founder "Truett Cathy is quoted as openly admitting he prefers married employees, 'believing they are more industrious and productive' [and] Anyone who applies for an operator license is asked to "disclose marital status, number of dependents and involvement in 'community, civic, social, church and/or professional organizations.'" Not only does this discriminate against singles in general, but also people in same-sex relationships who, like in Illinois, are not allowed to marry. For those LGBTI people who do get employed by Chick-fil-A, the corporate culture could be interpreted as constituting a hostile working environment, if we lived in a country where labor law enforcement was taken seriously.
For more information about Wednesday's protest, contact the Gay Liberation Network at 773.209.1187 or email LGBTliberation@aol.com
, President of PFLAG in Oneonta/Otsego NY, launched a campaign to honor Glen Burke
, the first openly gay baseball player who never been recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame
. As baseball is our National Pastime, it is incredibly important that the Baseball Hall of Fame acknowledge and promote diversity within the sport itself.
To date, more than 20,000 people have joined the campaign on Charge.com
, asking that The Baseball Hall of Fame to recognize Burke's contribution and popularization of the high five. In a late season game in 1977, Burke’s Dodgers
teammate, Dusty Baker
, hit a home-run, and Burke who was on deck, raised his right hand as Baker crossed the home plate and gave him a high five.
“Glenn Burke came out to his teammates at a time when no one else was talking publicly about their sexual orientation, let alone athletes,” said Redlien. “We live in a world where the contributions of gay athletes to the history of sports is often overlooked. It’s time to recognize Burke’s bravery so that young people today can be inspired by this important figure in baseball.”
“It’s amazing to think that Glenn Burke not only made history by coming out as gay, but that he also popularized something that millions upon millions of people do, from T-ball players to professional athletes, whenever they want to celebrate a special moment,” added Redlien. “Burke’s story is something that everyone deserves to learn about, as the contributions of gay athletes are all too often overlooked in professional sports.”
Burke’s career in the Major Leagues was short. According to a PBS documentary from 2010, Burke’s sexual orientation caused friction between him and his managers, with a Dodgers official suggesting that Burke should get married to protect the team’s image. Burke retired in 1980, and said a few years later that “prejudice drove me out of baseball sooner than I should have, but I wasn’t changing.”
Burke passed away in 1995, after a battle with substance abuse and HIV/AIDS-related complications.
“I think if Burke had been supported by managers and teammates early on, he would not have left baseball so early, and could have been a contender for the Hall of Fame,” said Redlien. “Instead, Burke died tragically after feeling like he didn’t belong in professional sports. It is time for his favorite sport to give him the respect he always deserved.”
“Jeremy Redlien’s petition is mobilizing thousands of people who want to see Glenn Burke honored in some way by the Baseball Hall of Fame, they are speaking out *and joining Jeremy’s campaign in droves” said Joe Mirabella
, Campaign Manager at Change.org.
by Dan Rafter at HRC FLAWED PAPER CLAIMS TO OVERTURN 30 YEARS OF CREDIBLE RESEARCH THAT SHOWS GAY AND LESBIAN PARENTS ARE GOOD PARENTS
Washington, DC, June 11, 2012 - A flawed, misleading, and scientifically unsound paper that seeks to disparage lesbian and gay parents was roundly criticized today by organizations that protect and advance the freedoms and equality of Americans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).
The paper, “New Family Structures Study,” written by right-wing author Mark Regnerus
(of the Department of Sociology and Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin) and funded in large part by the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute, makes a number of claims about negative outcomes for children raised by gay and lesbian parents. However, for the most part, the paper doesn’t even look at same-sex couples raising a child together in a long-term committed relationship. The Family Equality Council
, the Human Rights Campaign (HR
C), Freedom to Marry
, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation (GLAAD)
pointed out that numerous flaws and a biased agenda undermine the claims made by the paper.
“Flawed methodology and misleading conclusions all driven by a right-wing ideology,” said Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of the Family Equality Council.
“That alone should raise doubts about the credibility of this author’s work. But on top of that, his paper doesn’t even measure what it claims to be measuring.”
“Because of the serious flaws, this so-called study doesn’t match 30 years of scientific research that shows overwhelmingly that children raised by parents who are LGBT do equally as well as their counterparts raised by heterosexual parents,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin
Griffin and Chrisler added that those conclusions are backed up by every major child welfare organization—whose sole objective is to ensure child welfare-- along with the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of Social Workers, who all confirm that LGBT parents make good parents.
Chrisler also said that these 30 years of research are grounded in the day-to-day reality witnessed by millions of Americans.
“Everyday people in this country see real-life examples of the love, commitment and caring these parents provide to their children, said Chrisler. “These parents are raising their children to be kind to their friends and neighbors, support their communities and uphold American values. One biased paper cannot undo the truth nor demean the value of these families.”
Regnerus is well known for his ultra-conservative ideology and the paper was funded by the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation - two groups commonly known for their support of conservative causes. The Witherspoon Institute also has ties to the Family Research Council, the National Organization for Marriage, and ultra-conservative Catholic groups like Opus Dei. Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson
said it is these anti-gay groups and their dangerous ideologies that, in fact, create some of the biggest legal, social, and economic challenges that LGBT families do face.
“The two million kids being raised by 1 million gay parents in this country are doing great, and would do even better if their parents didn’t have to deal with legal discrimination such as the denial of the freedom to marry, and ongoing attacks such as this kind of pseudo-scientific misinformation and the disinformation agenda that’s funding it,” said Wolfson. GLAAD President Herndon Graddick
added, "A growing majority of Americans today already realize the harms this kind of junk science inflicts on loving families. If the media decides that this paper is worth covering, journalists have a responsibility to inform their audiences about the serious and glaring flaws in its methodology, and about the biased views of its author and funders." Key problems with the “New Family Structures Study” include:
- The paper is fundamentally flawed and intentionally misleading. It doesn’t even measure what it claims to be measuring. Most of the children examined in the paper were not being raised by parents in a committed same-sex relationship—whereas the other children in the study were being raised in two-parent homes with straight parents.
- Given its fundamental flaws and ideological agenda, it’s not surprising that the paper doesn’t match the 30 years of solid scientific research on gay and lesbian parents and families. That research has been reviewed by child welfare organizations like the Child Welfare League of America, the National Adoption Center, the National Association of Social Workers and others whose only priority is the health and welfare of children and that research has led them to strongly support adoption by lesbian and gay parents.
- In addition, the paper’s flaws highlight the disconnect between its claims about gay parents and the lived experiences of 2 million children in this country being raised by LGBT parents. Americans know that their LGBT friends, family members and neighbors are wonderful parents and are providing loving and happy homes to children.
- The paper fails to consider the impact of family arrangement or family transitions on children, invalidating any attempt on its part to assess the impact of sexual orientation on parenting. The paper inappropriately compares children raised by two heterosexual parents for 18 years with children who experience family transitions – like foster care – or who live with single or divorced parents, or in blended families. Moreover, the limited number of respondents arbitrarily classified as having a gay or lesbian parent are combined regardless of their experiences of family instability.
From: Paul Guequierre @ HRC
New HRC President Chad Griffin calls tremendous disparities between LGBT and straight young people a call to action
Human Rights Campaign released a groundbreaking study of LGBT-identified young people and a corollary study of straight teens that shows tremendous disparities between the two groups. With more than 10,000 respondents ages 13-17, “Growing Up LGBT in America” is the largest known survey of LGBT teens and shows how critical the work of achieving equality is for future generations.
Among the report’s key findings:
Over one-half of LGBT youth (54%) say they have been verbally harassed and called names involving anti-gay slurs;
Nearly half of LGBT youth (47%) say they do not “fit in” in their community while only 16 percent of non-LGBT youth feel that way; 67% of straight youth describe themselves as happy but this number drops to 37 percent among LGBT young people; 83% of LGBT youth believe they will be happy eventually, but only 49 percent believe they can be happy if they stay in the same city or town; 6 in 10 LGBT youth say their family is accepting of LGBT people, while a third say their family is not; 92% say they hear negative messages about being LGBT – 60 percent say those messages come from elected leaders.
When asked to describe their most important problem, straight teens articulated the usual challenges of grades and college and finances. On the other hand LGBT teens’ worries were directly related to their identity as LGBT including non-accepting families and bullying. “No one would say that growing up LGBT is easy, but this survey is a stark wake-up call to the daily toll that discrimination takes on vulnerable young people,” said new HRC President Chad Griffin who begins his tenure by releasing this survey. “We have a responsibility to change that, because we know all too well that there are real life consequences to inaction.”
The first in a series of efforts to analyze the landscape for LGBT youth, the report summarizes the major findings from a general analysis of all survey responses. Over the next several months, HRC will be engaging in additional analysis that will provide a better understanding of the unique experiences of specific groups of youth, for example transgender youth, those of different races, religious traditions, etc.
“We applaud the Human Rights Campaign for shining a spotlight on this vulnerable group of teens,” said Christine James-Brown, CEO of the Child Welfare League of America. “We look forward to collaborating with HRC on policy and educational initiatives to address the compelling needs and concerns of the thousands of LGBT youth who responded to this survey.”
A full copy of the report is available at: www.hrc.org/youth.
From Mike Jones at Change
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA OFFICIALS PROPOSE ALLOWING LOCAL TROOPS TO ACCEPT GAY YOUTH AND LEADERS AFTER EAGLE SCOUT DELIVERS 275,000 PETITIONS AT NATIONAL ANNUAL MEETING
NEW YORK, NY – Sources have confirmed that Boy Scouts of America officials have proposed a new policy -- which could be voted on as early as 2013 -- that would allow local chartering organizations to decide whether or not to accept gay youth and leaders.
The proposal comes after Eagle Scout Zach Wahls delivered more than 275,000 signatures to the National Annual Meeting of the Boy Scouts of America from a popular petition on Change.org. The petition calls on the Boy Scouts to reinstate a lesbian den leader in Ohio, Jennifer Tyrrell, who was removed from her position because of her sexual orientation, and to end the Boy Scouts’ long-held policy barring openly gay scouts and scout leaders.
“Last Wednesday I delivered 275,000 petition signatures -- including the signatures of thousands of scouts and scout leaders -- to the Boy Scouts of America because I love the organization and I refuse to stand by idly as it forfeits its cultural relevancy at the very moment this country needs it most,” said Wahls. “In proposing to allow local charter organizations to decide whether or not they’ll include gay youth and leaders within their ranks, the Boy Scouts of America has taken an historic step forward, and I applaud their bravery in doing so.”
Wahls met with the Boy Scouts of America’s Public Relations Director, Deron Smith, and other top-ranking Boy Scout officials who asked not to be named after delivering the 275,000 petition signatures to the organization’s annual national meeting last Wednesday.
“As both an Eagle Scout with a personal investment in the success of the Boy Scouts of America and as the son of a lesbian couple, it means a lot to see this change finally set in motion,” added Wahls.
Wahls, the author of My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family and whose online video in support of his two gay moms went viral last year, delivered the signatures on behalf of Jennifer Tyrrell, a lesbian mom who was removed as den leader of her seven-year-old son’s Cub Scout troop in Ohio last month. After being removed from her position, Tyrrell started a petition on Change.org asking to be reinstated, and urging the Boy Scouts to stop dividing families and communities with a policy that excludes gay families, scouts and leaders.
“When I got the call from the Boy Scouts of America signaling that I could no longer serve as my seven-year-old’s Cub Scout den leader, I was heartbroken. But the blow was softened by the outpouring of support I received from my community and the parents of the boys I had dedicated myself to,” said Tyrrell. “I know if it was up to my community, I’d still be a Cub Scout Den Leader today, so this news is definitely a huge step in the right direction for the Boy Scouts of America.”
Tyrrell’s petition on Change.org earned the support of scores of celebrities, including most recently GLEE’s Dianna Agron, who signed the petition this past weekend at the GLAAD media awards in San Francisco, where Tyrrell was featured and addressed the crowd. Other celebrities endorsing Tyrrell’s petition include Josh Hutcherson, Julianne Moore, Ricky Martin, Fran Drescher, Kelly Osbourne, Benicio Del Toro, and more.
“Zach and the thousands of scouts and scout leaders who have joined Jennifer’s campaign were able to connect through the petition in a way that has never happened before, which definitely caught the attention of the Boy Scouts of America,” said Mark Anthony Dingbaum, Campaign Manager at Change.org. “Change happens when everyday people like Jennifer are brave enough to share personal stories that inspire hundreds of thousands to take action -- and that’s what Change.org is all about.”
Labor union vows to advocate on behalf of transgender workers during contract negotiations
Washington – Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
, applauds the member-delegates of the 2.1 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
for passing a resolution at their 2012 national conference in Denver
yesterday. The resolution states that SEIU local groups and members will bargain for transgender-inclusive heath care coverage as part of their contract negotiations with businesses and employers.
“This is a tremendous step forward in the fight for workplace equality for LGBT people,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese
. “Our friends at SEIU recognize that all workers should be treated equitably, and that includes being free from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. We are incredibly grateful to Mary Kay Henry and the SEIU member-delegates for continuing to be champions of justice and equality.”
With the passage of this resolution, SEIU joins the HRC Foundation, who, for the last decade, has been working to make workplace policies and protections more inclusive for transgender employees and their families through its Corporate Equality Index
(CEI). This year the CEI rating criteria was made more stringent, requiring employers to have transgender inclusive health insurance coverage. A remarkable 206 companies met the criteria. Furthermore, HRC's Healthcare Equality Index
recommends that all U.S. healthcare facilities provide transgender-inclusive health coverage to their employees.
Historically, transgender people have been categorically denied health care coverage for medically necessary treatment, irrespective of whether treatment is related to sex reassignment/affirmation. Until recently, nearly all U.S employer-based health insurance plans contained “transgender exclusions” that limited insurance coverage for this population.
Newly filed lawsuits challenges the discriminatory treatment of same-sex couples under state law.
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, lauds Lambda Legal and the ACLU for filing coordinated lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Illinois disparate treatment of same-sex couples under state law. The cases, limited to the state of Illinois, seek recognition from the courts of the inferior status of civil unions.
“Thank you to the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and most importantly to the courageous couples who have made their stories public in order to achieve equality for all same-sex couples in Illinois ,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “These laws suits are a critical step on our journey. ”
HRC will continue to work in coalition with advocates in the state, such as Equality Illinois, to advance marriage equality legislation in the state House and Senate. Both the lawsuits and legislation promote critical conversations on the impact of discriminatory laws on same-sex couples and their families. Pursuing two strategies increases the odds of success in Illinois.