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Content about Human rights in the United States

February 19, 2015

Caution urged after draft report details potential policy change

The US Army is reportedly considering making it easier for transgender people to serve in the military.

A draft document obtained by USA Today proposes raising the authorisation level needed to initiate dismissal proceedings against trans service members.

The leaked report, which has not been adopted as official directive, does not rescind current Army policy, which considers transgender people "administratively unfit" for service.

January 23, 2015

Human Rights Campaign has published its annual State Equality Index and warns that despite marriage equality in most states, other inequalities persist

Human Rights Campaign has today published its annual State Equality Index, which ranks 50 US states and Washington D.C with regards to the protections that it offers LGBT citizens.

It has broken states down into four categories, with 29 states occupying the bottom slot: those states offering the least protection.

Just seven states fill the top category: those with the most protection.

January 9, 2015

Retailer claims the right to discriminate against transgender employees

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has taken the rare step of suspending Saks Fifth Avenue’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) score, following the retailer's claim that transgender employees are not protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The department store made the claim in response to a discrimination lawsuit filed by Leyth Jamal, a transgender former employee, alleging discrimination, harassment and a hostile work environment based on her gender identity.

Saks scored 90 out of 100 on the most recent CEI, the national benchmark for gay-friendly companies.

July 17, 2014

Case marks 25th consecutive legal victory for marriage equality since US Supreme Court gutted DOMA last year

Circuit Judge Luis Garcia struck down Florida's gay marriage ban on Thursday (17 July) declaring it unconstitutional.

The judge said the soonest same-sex marriages could take place in Monroe County (located in the Florida Keys) would be Tuesday (22 July). This is the only county in the state over which Garcia has jurisdiction.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi immediately filed an appeal and stated: 'Finality on this constitutional issue must come from the U.S. Supreme Court.'

June 4, 2014

Plaintiffs, lawyers, Chad Griffin, Dustin Lance Black and Rob Reiner among those on hand to celebrate The Case Against 8

They all made history together overturning California's Proposition 8 and on Tuesday (3 June) in Los Angeles, they reunited for the premiere of a documentary film about their journey.

Proposition 8 plaintiffs Jeff Zarillo and Paul Katami and Kris Perry and Sandy Stier were joined at the event by lead attorney Ted Olson as well as Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, Oscar winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, Oscar winning producer Bruce Cohen, and actor-director Rob Reiner.

May 20, 2014

Staff Sgt. Tracy Dice Johnson will be the first spouse of a member of the US armed forces to receive equal death benefits over her National Guard wife Donna’s death in Afghanistan in 2012

Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Tracy Dice Johnson will be the first ever military spouse to receive the same death benefits given to heterosexual widows and widowers when their spouses die in the line of duty.

Tracy married wife Donna Johnson in Washington in February of 2012 but she was killed by a suicide bomber just months later in Afghanistan in October that year.

December 21, 2013

Transphobic group Privacy For All Students claim state officials are refusing to count signatures in two counties

Conservative groups in California aiming to overturn a new pro-trans student law which allows students to use restrooms which match their gender are claiming state officials are refusing to count signatures for a referendum.


Anti-trans group Privacy For All Students have filed a lawsuit saying couriers delivered the signatures ahead of the deadline on 10 November in the counties of Tulare and Mono County, but were not counted because of the Veteran's Day weekend.

September 30, 2013

Attorneys successfully led effort to overturn California's Prop 8

Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, former rivals who came together to fight California's Proposition 8, announced today (30 September) that they are joining the effort to overturn Virginia's gay marriage ban.

The federal lawsuit Bostic v. Rainey contends that the Virginia Marriage Amendment and other Virginia laws that prohibit gay and lesbian couples from marrying are unconstitutional, restrict personal freedom, and cause serious harm to loving and committed couples and their families.

July 29, 2013

They tell GSN they want to have another wedding ceremony with families present

Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami may finally be married men, but they are still planning a wedding.

One of the two couples who were the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit that brought down California's Proposition 8, the couple got married at Los Angeles City Hall on 28 June in the first hours that same-sex marriages became legal again in the state.

'We had to watch our wedding back on TiVo to really have it sink in because it all is very out body,' Katami said when the couple chatted with Gay Star News recently.

July 18, 2013

Conservative FOX News host wants states to decide issue for themselves

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly says he is 'outraged' that the US Supreme Court last month allowed California's Proposition 8 to be overturned resulting in gay marriages resuming in the state.

'I was outraged that the people of California vote for traditional marriage and then the Supreme Court finds a loophole to overturn that vote,' he said today on CBS This Morning. 'That's not what America's all about.'

California voters approved the ban on gay marriage in 2008 after a four month period during which same-sex marriages were allowed to take place.

July 11, 2013

The gay guys who threatened to marry straight guys' girlfriends release their final video in the viral saga

July 1, 2013

Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy turns down request

The sponsors of Proposition 8 failed in a last-ditch attempt at stopping same-sex weddings from resuming in California over the weekend.

After weddings unexpectedly resumed Friday (28 June) afternoon, the gay marriage opponents challenged the Ninth Circuit Court action that allowed it to happen.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy turned down the request to stop the marriages on Sunday (30 June) without comment.

June 17, 2013

Russ and Matt, a young couple who make YouTube videos about being gay in the US military, are going to get married

Matt and Russ, two Marines in the US army, have gotten engaged in an incredibly cute proposal video.

The proposal, which Matt has been planning for months, took place at Russ’ welcome home party where the couple was celebrating alongside a few of their friends.

Writing on his YouTube page, Russ said: ‘Matt completely surprised me by proposing during my welcome home party. It turns out he had been planning it for months. I am so happy!’

June 13, 2013

If an anti-work place discrimination bill ever gets to the US Senate, Marco Rubio will vote it down

One of the shining lights of the Republican Party, reaffirmed his opposition to anti-discrimination laws for gay and lesbian workers.

June 10, 2013

Activist Jeff 4 Justice has filmed himself challenging people from his hometown who backed the referendum banning same-sex marriage in California

A Californian gay activist has challenged the people in his hometown who supported Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the US state 2008.

Jeff Girard, who makes videos under the screen name Jeff 4 Justice, delivered a balloon and flowers to people who he claims donated $63,750 (€48,000) to ‘yes on Proposition 8’ in Yuba-Sutter in the Greater Sacramento area in northern California.

But the gift is a prank with a sting in the tail. He also delivered a message to each of them, which he insisted they read before handing over the present.

June 7, 2013

Poll says that of those in favor, 61% want national law rather than a state-by-state approach

As decisions by the US Supreme Court on California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act are awaited, public support for gay marriage is solid, according to a Bloomberg National Poll released Thursday (6 June).

Just over 1,000 people were polled and 52% said they are in favor of giving same-sex couples the right to get married while 41% said they oppose the idea.

May 30, 2013

Latest poll numbers come as US Supreme Court could overturn Proposition 8

A new poll shows that 56% of Californians now favor gay marriage - the highest level of support ever shown in the state where voters passed Proposition 8 in 2008.

The latest poll numbers, released this week by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California, are almost a complete reversal of a 2000 poll when 55% of respondents were against gay marriage.

Since then, support has steadily climbed reaching 50% in March 2010 and 53% in January.

May 29, 2013

Matthew Phelps and Ben Schock marry over the weekend in Seattle

When Matthew Phelps proposed marriage to Ben Schock last December, he got worldwide attention because of the setting he chose: inside The White House.

The couple had been invited by the Military Partners and Families Coalition to attend the White House holiday tour and photos of Phelps, on bended knee, went viral.

On Saturday (25 May), the couple made if official when they got married in Seattle, Washington - one of 12 states in the US where same-sex marriage is legal.

Phelps got married in his USMC dress uniform while Schock wore a tuxedo.

May 25, 2013

Senate already has approved and governor has promised to sign into law

The Puerto Rican House of Representatives on Friday (24 May) approved a sweeping nondiscrimination bill that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing, governmental services, public accommodations and private entities.

The Senate has already approved the bill and Governor Alejandro García Padilla has vowed to sign the legislation into law.

The vote occurred as similar legislation - the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) - remains stalled in the US Congress.

April 10, 2013

New Mexico Republican Governor Susana Martinez has signed a law giving the heterosexual spouses of veterans special treatment in applying for occupational licenses and then vetoed a bill which would have given the same-sex spouses of veterans the same treatment

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has vetoed a bill that would have given all spouses of military veterans special treatment in applying for occupational licenses to work in the state directly after she signed a bill that gave that same special treatment to heterosexual spouses only.

March 26, 2013

'We'll see a very reasoned decision coming out of this court'

Their legal standing in even defending Proposition 8 was questioned by US Supreme Court justices today. But attorneys seeking to uphold California's ban on gay marriage say they had a good day in court.

'The court asked some penetrating, measured questions of both sides and it's in the hands of the court,' attorney Charles Cooper said on the court steps shortly after he argued the case inside.

March 19, 2013

In new poll, 58% in favor while 36% want it to remain illegal in US

Support for gay marriage in the US has risen to 58%, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll of 1,001 adults.

The poll results, released Monday (18 March), show support for marriage equality is at an all-time high.

There are still 36% of respondents who believe it should be illegal.

The results are a reverse of just a decade ago when the same poll showed only 37% in favor while 55% were opposed.

March 16, 2013

The Defense Department comes to a resolution to its final Don't Ask, Don't Tell case

Air Force Major Mike Almy has settled his Don't Ask, Don't Tell lawsuit against the US Defense Department.

He brought the suit because of his 2006 discharge. During a routine search of emails, notes to his then-boyfriend were found. The correspondence was shown to a commander. After being relieved of his duties, Almy lost security clearance and a part of his pay. There was a 16-month  investigation, and the 18 year career military man was discharged. His severance was half of what it would have been if he left the Air Force for other reasons.

March 7, 2013

Federal government could bring hate crime charges to high-profile case

The FBI is getting involved in the murder investigation of Marco McMillian, a gay mayoral candidate in Mississippi who was murdered last week.

The agency 'will assess evidence to determine whether federal prosecution is appropriate,' Deborah Madden, an FBI public affairs specialist, tells USA Today.

A 22-year-old man named Lawrence Reedhas been charged with McMillian's murder. The victim's family says McMillian was beaten, dragged and set afire.