civil rights

All posts tagged civil rights

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

Your honour it was the victims fault

Published July 17, 2009 by Michael C Leeson


is the practice of treating people differently on the basis of distinctions made without regard to individual merit. Examples of categories on which social discrimination is seen include race, religion, gender, weight, disability, ethnicity, height, employment circumstances, sexual orientation and age.

Gay panic = Homophobia

HAD = Homosexual Advanced Defence

Homosexual panic

Hate crimesViolence against LGBT people




Sissyphobia: Gay Men and Effeminate Behavior

Biphobia Lesbophobia Transphobia Lavender baiting

Michael Savage

Iris Robinson

Matthew Sheppard

How to Get Away with Murder: A Guide to the Gay Panic Defense | |

16 July 2009 Author: jaysays

Nelson Mandela: A Man

Published July 14, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Nelson Mandela: a man turned into statues in his own lifetime | World news |

Madiba is a man who has faced oppression and through his humanity developed resilience that beams from his every word and action. He is no superhero, but an activist who stood up against his oppressors to gain justice, at great personal risk. It is this quality, his resilience that singles him out in history as a great man of principle, a leader who embraced his humanity and showed respect to others that has given him authority. In our community we have many people through their lived experience have gained that quality of inner strength to bounce back or adapt.

In reality we all have that potential however it takes commitment to both principles and action.  It is in the word and deeds that say to our oppressors, that you can marginalise me, oppress me, deny my culture beat me, imprison me and even kill me but I will not be defeated.  I was here yesterday, I am here today and I will be here tomorrow demanding my rights to be treated as a human being.

The Declaration of Independence of these United State of America

Published July 11, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

The Declaration of Independence of thefe United Statef of America | Los Angeles Times

The United States’ Declaration of Independence may well be the most cited yet least read or understood document in American history.

This article speaks to the observance and celebration of July 4 on which citizens need to take the time to read this document, and reflect on its words. It implies that many cite this document however may not fully understand or appreciate it, other than in supporting a convenient truth or subjective opinion.

David Cameron apologises to gay people for section 28

Published July 11, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

David Cameron apologises to gay people for section 28 | Politics | The Guardian

David Cameron has embarked on another major step in the modernisation of the Conservative party by offering a public apology for section 28, the notorious legislation which banned the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools.

Admission aimed at reconciliation for past injustice or political opportunism aimed at courting a voting block? When there is an election in the air politicians seem to say some of the most unexpected things and act in very strange ways. It was a conservative government that legislated t ensure elected local officials  did not enact some subversive deviant agenda to pervert 5-6 yr olds by giving them the opportunity to read about social diversity. In this case I hold mixed feelings about the sincerity or even authenticity of his apology. Conservatives rant about big brother, however seem to readily employ him to ensure the status quo is maintained at all cost.

Stonewall’s unfinished legacy

Published July 11, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Stonewall’s unfinished legacy | Nancy Goldstein | A Great President

This article speaks to both our past and the present, very similar to a number of pieces written to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It does have some insightful observations.

“Post-Stonewall improvements in the lives of many LGBT people have been profound, though neither swift nor easy.”

However, there have been profound advances this must be the message that we hold on to for as long as it takes to achieve equality. We started this journey many years ago persecuted and marginalised with other groups deemed as second-class citizens and in some cases not even citizens in their own country. Some too have had similar success to ours in receiving incremental acknowledgement from those who have used and abused us. While our culture has denied and many false prophets have taken advantage of us, we are still here.  Our resilience has given us the voice to advocate and determination to overcome our adversity now as these hardships slowly fade it is not the time to rest.  We will not gain true equality as long as long as there is discrimination against anybody for who they are.

I defer to Dr King