Waiting for the Supremes: There Is ‘More Than Marriage’ on the Equality Agenda

From The Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-beyer/waiting-for-the-supremes-_b_3430813.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


While we await, hunkered down and hardly breathing, the Supreme Court marriage decisions later this month, let’s not forget there is more to freedom and equality than the right to marry and receive federal relationship recognition. There remain all the civil liberty and economic empowerment issues that attach to being an American citizen, whether one is gay, trans, or queer in the broadest sense, and whether or not one is in a relationship, for better or for worse.

This week there have been two campaigns focused on individual liberty, one a social media campaign #morethanmarriage to educate and inform, and to lay the groundwork for the post-SCOTUS world. The other a legal case, Howe v. Haslam brought to the Tennessee Court of Appeals, the outcome of which may have huge, broad repercussions for people across the fifty states.

There have been a number of organizations working on aspects of the LGBT civil rights campaign alongside the marriage campaigns, including some organizations such as HRC and our research and legal advocates, which try to cover most if not all of the bases, if not always at the same time. Laboring for anti-discrimination laws are, first and foremost, local and state organizations, including my Maryland organization, Gender Rights Maryland, while the only national organization dedicated to the employment discrimination issue is Freedom to Work. There have been social media campaigns, with petitions on www.change.org, and now the latest campaign, from the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco, called #morethanmarriage. While heavy on the trans rights aspect, as one would expect, it is also pushing for anti-discrimination laws to protect gender-conforming gay persons as well. The effort is to not only educate the larger American community that the LGBT community doesn’t have the basic rights most Americans take for granted, and most Americans believe we already have, but to educate the gay community so they recognize that marriage equality, while very significant practically and symbolically, is not the be all and end all of equality.

In support of such broad protections, Lambda Legal has filed an amicus for a case pending in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Terveer v Billington. (The Librarian of Congress, Mr. Billington, can’t seem to avoid getting into trouble). The significance of this case is that it is seeking to have sexual orientation discrimination recognized as “sex discrimination” under the law as set out in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This case parallels the efforts of Professor Feldblum of the EEOC to have the Commission recognize sexual orientation discrimination as a subset of sex discrimination, just as it already recognizes gender identity and expression discrimination as a subset of sex discrimination.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-beyer/waiting-for-the-supremes-_b_3430813.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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