Blog of Rights

Sam
Ritchie

Iowa Continues Tradition as Civil Rights Pioneer

By Sam Ritchie, ACLU at 12:31am

Earlier today, the seven justices of the Iowa Supreme Court continued the state’s long history of pioneering civil rights by striking down a state law prohibiting same-sex marriages. In a unanimous decision, the Court declared that it was unconstitutional…

Victory Over Transphobia in Gainesville

By Sam Ritchie, ACLU at 11:04am

Yesterday, the residents of Gainesville, Florida, soundly defeated an effort to repeal a city ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. With turnout nearly double that of a typical city election, voters rejected Amendment 1, which would have reversed a discrimination ban passed by the city council, by a stunning 58 percent to 42 percent margin. Go Gainesville!

What makes the victory sweeter is that the proponents of Amendment 1, the deceptively named Citizen for Good Public Policy PAC, had pushed the initiative using scare tactics preying on public ignorance of and misconceptions about transgender people. Instead of talking about what the law did do — protect LGBT people from being fired, denied housing or refused service simply for being who they are — they made up something that the law did not do: allow male pedophiles to hang out in women’s washrooms.

That was what the whole Amendment 1 campaign became about. "Keep men out of women’s restrooms!" The LGBT citizens of Gainesville were trying to make sure they wouldn’t live in fear of being fired or kicked out of their apartments and the opposition was making up lies about the bathroom. Today Jim Gilbert, a spokesperson for CGPP, even said he was proud of the group for focusing so consistently on trumpeting this lie in their efforts to deny basic protections for gay and trans people.

Obama Bests Bush on International LGBT Rights

By Sam Ritchie, ACLU at 5:22pm

Yesterday, the Obama administration reversed years of anti-LGBT Bush administration policy by endorsing a U.N. statement calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality worldwide. Matt Coles, director of the ACLU's LGBT Project, issued the following…

Will Logic and Public Opinion Defeat Don't Ask, Don't Tell?

By Sam Ritchie, ACLU at 2:46pm

Yesterday, Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) introduced legislation to overturn the disastrous "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy, which bans LGBT people from serving openly in the military. While this legislation has been introduced previously,…

Another Adoption Ban Looms in Tennessee

By Sam Ritchie, ACLU at 5:49pm

Right now, our country is in the midst of the worst recession in recent history. The global financial system is facing a crisis of historic proportions. Government entities, from small school districts to the State of California, are facing budget…

Stand Up for Lawrence King

By Sam Ritchie, ACLU at 12:57pm

One year ago today, Lawrence “Larry” King, a 15-year-old student at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, California, was shot to death in class by the boy he asked to be his Valentine. By the time he was killed, Larry had endured years of…

Trade Your Signature for Equality

By Sam Ritchie, ACLU at 3:12pm

Tomorrow, our friends over at Join the Impact are having another national event to support LGBT equality. They’re calling it the “Nationwide DOMA Protest,” but it’s actually much more than that. Tomorrow’s event is…

Five Years After Flores Victory, More to be Done

By Sam Ritchie, ACLU at 6:18pm

In addition to being my birthday, today is the fifth anniversary of the settlement in Flores v. Morgan Hill Unified School District. In that case, six students sued their school district after enduring horrifying homophobic harassment from their classmates…

Don't JUST Get Mad... Get Equal!

By Sam Ritchie, ACLU at 6:39pm

In 2000, in the days after the passage of California’s so-called “Knight Initiative,” I remember getting an e-mail that included this quote: “Failure is just success that hasn’t happened yet.” I can’t remember…

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