US Gay workers still lack protection

Today the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by a Georgia security guard who said she was harassed and forced from her job because she is a lesbian. The court therefore avoided an opportunity to decide whether a federal law that bans gender-based bias also outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Reuters notes:

The justices left in place a lower court ruling against Jameka Evans, who had argued that workplace sexual orientation discrimination violates Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Workplace protections are a major source of concern for advocates of rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-lgbt/u-s-high-court-turns-away-dispute-over-gay-worker-protections-idUSKBN1E51OT

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US Gays still lack corporate benefits

American gays are still lagging behind in the provision of corporate benefits, reports Bloomberg.

After the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015, some big companies stopped offering domestic-partner benefits, assuming that committed same-sex couples would just get married.

But that’s not the case, says the Human Rights Campaign, which is encouraging firms to offer domestic-partner benefits. Starting next year, companies will have to offer benefits for unmarried couples if they want a perfect score on the organization’s high-profile LGBT Corporate Equality Index.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-09/companies-face-pressure-to-maintain-benefits-for-lgbt-couples

US gay workers rights in court

Reuters reports that the US government will urge a U.S. appeals court in Manhattan to rule that federal law does not ban discrimination against gay employees.

The U.S. Department of Justice is supporting a New York skydiving company in a lawsuit brought by a former instructor who accused the company of firing him after he told a customer he was gay and she complained.

The case will require the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether discrimination against gay workers is a form of unlawful sex bias under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That law bans discrimination based on workers’ sex, race, religion and other traits.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-lgbt-court/u-s-appeals-court-to-consider-rights-of-gay-workers-idUSKCN1C10EW

Goodbye Edie

The BBC reports that Edith “Edie” Windsor, whose same-sex marriage fight led to a landmark US ruling, has died aged 88. She leaves her wife Judith Kasen-Windsor.

Windsor’s Supreme Court case struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, granting same-sex married couples federal recognition for the first time.
She sued the US government after being ordered to pay $363,053 in federal estate tax after her previous wife, Thea Spyer, died.

The couple had married in Canada in 2007.

Gay Activist sends condolences to family, friends and colleagues.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41248327

Wedding cakes – the new battleground

American gays are concerned at the direction their new President is taking on gay rights.

Bloomberg comments:

Early on, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people seemed to be exempted from Donald Trump’s most inflammatory rhetoric. He was the first Republican presidential nominee to mention LGBT people in his acceptance speech. After his election, he declared same-sex marriage “settled law.” Once in office, he left in place an executive order protecting the federal government’s LGBT employees from discrimination.

But any early optimism among gay-rights supporters has disintegrated in recent months. The Trump administration has rescinded policies that supported transgender students and soldiers and signaled its opposition to gay rights in a pair of federal cases.

Most recently, the U.S. Justice Department filed a brief in support of Masterpiece Cakeshop, a Colorado bakery that refused on religious grounds to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding. The bakery was sanctioned by the state, and the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case this fall. The Department of Justice supported the argument that cake decoration is artistic expression and therefore deserves special protection.

Expect a major battle.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-12/trump-adds-to-rollback-of-obama-legacy-with-anti-gay-measures

Mark Merlis

Your Activist is sad to report the death of gay writer Mark Merlis on August 15 at a hospital in Philadelphia. He was 67.

Mr Merlis died of pneumonia associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, said his husband, Robert Ashe.

Mr. Merlis worked as a health-care analysis for the Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service and as an independent consultant. His first novel, “American Studies,” was published in 1994.

It remains an excellent book.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/mark-merlis-novelist-who-explored-gay-life-in-20th-century-america-dies-at-67/2017/08/23/d5bbac94-8762-11e7-a94f-3139abce39f5_story.html?utm_term=.eb4875e972f6

US Gays feel less safe since President Trump was elected

Nearly two-thirds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people say they feel less safe since President Donald Trump took office, according to Time.

34% said society would be “a lot” more accepting in the next 10 years, a drop from 54%.

37% said they have faced different treatment since President Trump took office.

Gay and Lesbian Americans say 12% of them voted for Trump, and 67% voted for Hillary Clinton. 7% identified as Republicans, 57% identified as Democrats and 35% as Independents.

http://time.com/4842910/donald-trump-lesbian-gay-bisexual-lgbt-poll-safe/