civil rights

All posts tagged civil rights

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (USA)

Published August 11, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)

Would prohibit discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. Such protections are already available to employees of the federal government through executive orders for sexual orientation and gender identity in 1998 and 2009 respectively; this would extend them to employees in the private sector (religious organisations exempted).

First introduced in 1994

103rd Congress

House of Representatives

Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 1994

H.R. 4636 June 23, 1994 Rep. Gerry Studds (D-MA)

Died in the House Subcommittee on Select Education and Civil Rights


S. 2238 July 29, 1994 Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA)

Died in the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources


Introduced in the following congresses 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 110 on each occasion Gender Identity was not included and the bill either died in committee or failed on the floor when put to the vote.

111th Congress Employment Non-Discrimination Act 2009

Includes Gender Identity

House of Representatives

H.R. 2981 June 19, 2009 Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)

Referred to the House Judiciary Committee

H.R. 3017 June 24, 2009 Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)

Referred to the House Judiciary Committee


S. 1584 August 5, 2009 Rep. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee

Current U.S. LGBT employment discrimination laws

All employment:
Sexual orientation and gender identity Sexual orientation onlyState employment:
Sexual orientation and gender identity Sexual orientation only No state-level protection for LGBT employees

United ENDA coalition




Australian Human Rights Commission

Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986

An Act to establish the Australian Human Rights Commission, to make provision in relation to human rights and in relation to equal opportunity in employment, and for related purposes

The Australian Human Rights Commission works to promote and protect the rights

What are human rights?

Every person has inherent dignity and value. Human rights help us to recognise and respect that fundamental worth in ourselves and in each other.

Australia has agreed to uphold the human rights standards set out in a number of international treaties and declarations, including:

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

Related Legislation

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Equality


Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland

is an independent statutory authority established under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.Our core business is to receive and deal with complaints of discrimination and other contraventions of the Act, and to promote human rights in Queensland.

Anti-Discrimination legislation and decisions

Tracking Your Rights: Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender & Intersex People


Gender Identity & Vilification


Coming Out Early: the Fight to Help LGBT Youth

Published August 7, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Coming out early: the fight to help LGBT youth | Feature Story on

The story speaks to a real crisis in the US for teens who identify as LGBT, this situation may simply reflect the inadequate welfare supports systems. However, I am interested in the experiences of Australian teens who identify, please read the story.

It would not be drawing a long bow in stating that for any person, adolescences is a time of transition from childhood towards adulthood in most societies. During which we grow in all dimensions of which we are, subsequently emerging into adulthood as a butterfly.  However, it is also a time of much personal angst and self-doubt, if not parented appropriately could cause considerable psychological emotional and social damage whose affects may last a lifetime.  Then if we consider kids, who identify as Same Sex Attraction Transgender and/or Intersex the level of confusion seems to go up a level.

This entry looks at

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench upheld the decision of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission tribunal in Nichols v. M.J. & Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, 2009 SKQB 299.

Society and kids

In this self-obsessed world somehow we freely abdicate our responsibility for raising kids to experts, denounce under resourced parents or even blame the child. Kids are no longer adults on trainer wheels but an accumulation of social problems solved through clinical, criminal justice and/or interventions. Some pop psychologist labelled them as aliens, dangerous and a threat hence becoming The Other. Unless it is your child then this false crisis becomes a reality a strange mix of soap opera, hormones and duelling egos. However, there is nothing new here in this conflict of cultures mostly it seems promoted by music bands and tee shirt venders to promote merchandise sales. While some developmental experts (i.e.  Erik Erikson William Damon) argues the conflict between parent/authority & adolescent is a health part of the young person’s transition. What is really happening parents feed on a diet of the alien in their midst, kids told that it is all about challenging what is and some ask why it is so and then both being punished for not being normal.

Rainbow Nation kids

Hey, Mum & Dad meet my boyfriend, what did you say Jason.

What would your response be if your son or daughter identified as Same Sex Attraction, or there was some conflict between their biological and gender identity?

The real issues faced by young people who identify are the same as those faced by all kids.  However, there are additional issues what may be youthful experimentation may turn into something more critical


The Law: rainbow matters

Published July 29, 2009 by Michael C Leeson


Landmark Gay Rights Cases (USA)

1933—O’Malley v. Amalgamated Shirtwaist Inc.: The right of gay people to sign legal documents is upheld

1947—Meyerson v. City of Boulder: The court struck down a local bylaw that required all homosexuals to shout, “Gay coming through,” while walking in public

1967—Big Faggot Dave v. United States: Won the right for gay plaintiffs to be protected from offensive epithets when court cases are titled

1973—Miller v. Williams: Reggie Williams was held responsible for $245 in damage done to the car of Scott Miller, a gay man

1972—Martin v. Alabama: Men permitted to hold hands so long as no one is looking

1973—Miles v. Baskin-Robbins: Anyone—anyone—is allowed to ask for up to two sample tastes before purchasing

1990—Marker’s Bar and Grill v. Fitzgerald: Stated that gay bars did not have to be named with a poor double entendre

2006—Oppenheimer v. Toomey: Upheld the right of closeted gays to remain trapped in miserable, loveless marriages for the rest of their lives

Unity Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Published July 21, 2009 by Michael C Leeson – Live From Turkey Hollow

Part One “Oh Lord Not Now!”

Part Two: Learning from History

Part Three: Picking Our Issues

Part Four: What Now?

I will let Mixner’s words speak for themselves, the key points here are the themes he explores and question he asks.  The article speaks to what seems to be human nature that ‘we don’t learn from the past’ and for whatever reason generation after generation seeks to reinvent the square wheel. His target the self-appointed and self-styled ‘New Gay Civil Right Movement’ (US) it seems a network of vanilla mainstream Gay/Lesbian civil rights organisations. When reflecting on historical successes of liberation movements he makes the following point

“People with clearly defined values and principles are the best agents of change. Those who are willing to negotiate or compromise beyond those values and principles often find that they merely face more demands for them to compromise again…. Individuals who know ‘the line in the sand’ and refuse to compromise are often instigators of great change.”

It seems Mixner calls for us to draw a ‘line in the sand’, a position based on our principles that we will not make a compromise on. He reflects on the 200-year campaign by African Americans to gain freedom and some sense of qualified equality. He indentifies the work of Dr King, and attempts to draw some connections between African Americans journey and our own. However, we were there too, campaigning for equality and observance of our civil rights it seems that all those oppressed by the cultural elite demanded equality at that time.

If we are serious about a civil rights movement, we need to start answering a range of questions.

Who are we? The Rainbow Nation or Vanilla wafer

What is the underpinning ideology? Socialism or Liberal Democratic individualism

What are our shared or community vision, values and beliefs?

Where do we come from? rural, regional, suburban or cosmopolitan

When do we start addressing these issues? Strategic or ad hoc

How do we unify such a diverse community? Collaborative or elitist

Why do we need to undertake this task? Aims & objectives? Goal?

Reverse Racism and the US Surpreme Court

Published July 18, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Ricci v. DeStefano

Reverse discrimination

The Supreme Court and Redefining Racism

Posted by Jos – July 17, 2009, at 10:04AM @Feministing

Reversing “Reverse” Racism or Something.

Posted by Samhita – June 30, 2009, at 01:44PM @Feministing

Should we question Alito’s motives in the Ricci case

by Adam Serwer on June 30, 2009 9:35 AM The American Prospect

Senate votes big expansion of federal hate crimes

Published July 18, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

The Associated Press: Senate votes big expansion of federal hate crimes

Hate Crime

On this day, the US Senate voted on and passed the Matthew Shepard Act (the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007, or LLEHCPA), HR 1592.

Existing legislation:

1968 federal hate-crime law (18 U.S.C. § 245(b)(2))

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said,

“This bill simply recognizes that there is a difference between assaulting someone to steal his money, or doing so because he is gay, or disabled, or Latino or Muslim,”.

The Senate hate crimes bill is S.909

Some noted points

  • Authorises federal prosecutions of hate crimes where the state or local authorities are unwilling or unable to do so.
  • remove the current prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally-protected activity, like voting or going to school
  • It provides $5 million in grants to state and local law enforcement officials who have trouble meeting the costs of investigating and prosecuting these crimes.
  • require the FBI to track statistics on hate crimes against transgender people (statistics for the other groups are already tracked).
  • Prosecutions under the bill can occur only when bodily injury is involved, and not if or when a minister or protester expresses opposition to homosexuality, even if another person committing a violent action follows their statements.
  • Provisions passed restating that the bill does not prohibit constitutionally protected speech and that free speech guaranteed unless intended to plan or prepare for an act of violence.

History: S.909 – 111th Congress

Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009

  • April 2, 2009 Introduced HR1913 by Rep John Conyers bill to House of Reps
  • April 24, 2009, the House Judiciary Committee passed a new version of the bill (HR 1913) by a vote of 15–12.
  • April 29, 2009 HR1913 passed the House of Reps, by a vote of 249–175, with support from 231 Democrats and 18 Republicans
  • April 28, 2009 Sen. Ted Kennedy , D-Mass., introduced hate crimes bill as S.909
  • July 15, 2009 bill incorporated as an amendment into S.1390, the National Defence Authorisation Act for Fiscal Year 2010. By a 63-28 cloture vote


  • 45 co-sponsors
  • Pro-bill Democrats control both houses of Congress
  • Obama strong supporter


  • Infringes on states’ rights
  • Infringes on First Amendment rights to free speech
  • Obama said he would veto S.1390 if it includes more money for an F-22 fighter program he is trying to terminate.

Some 45 states have hate crimes statutes on their books and about half the states have laws covering crimes based on sexual orientation.

The FBI receives reports of nearly 8,000 hate crimes every year. Of those, about 15 percent linked to sexual orientation, which ranks third after those involving race and religion.

My comment

I am glad the bill has successfully jumped another hurdle in its 10-year plus journey, and maybe this time it will become a reality. However, there are concerns and question that really need asking at this time.

Point 1

In my own experience of discrimination, it generally take two forms

  • Verbal – Conservative rants, church dogma or red neck fury
  • Structural or implicit discrimination  this is more about omission

This bill as far as can be determined seemingly does not cover either it speaks only on violence directed at the individual or the spoken word on planning of an attack. It seems this loophole   leaves a wide open door for ongoing abuse.

Point 2 – Infringes on states’ rights

8It is not clear on how it would infringes on states’ rights, it speaks to authorising federal prosecutions of hate crimes where the state or local authorities are unwilling or unable to do so. It does seem reasonable for the Federal Government to seek justice for the citizenry where for whatever others do not.

Point 3 – Infringes on First Amendment rights to free speech

I would consider the greatest flaw in this legislation the amendment to allow haters to speak hate, it continues the grand tradition of not making people fully accountable for matters to which they speak. In our daily life how often, do we hold our tongue out of respect this loophole allows hate mongers to not only promote the issue to which this article seeks to address? However, allows these people to incite others to violence without holding them accountable.

Point 4

In the incorporation of this Act into S.1390, has the Right sort to block this bill once again, as Obama said he would if there was funding for the F 22 program attached? Oh when middle aged heterosexual white men feel threatened they seem to try anything to ensure the preservation of their power base and therefore the status quo. the duplicity of it all