Blog of Rights

Settlement In “No Gay Reception” Case Shows that Public Businesses Do Not Have a License to Discriminate

Settlement In “No Gay Reception” Case Shows that Public Businesses Do Not Have a License to Discriminate

By Joshua Block, LGBT Project at 2:25pm
Earlier today, the ACLU and the ACLU of Vermont announced a fantastic settlement that we obtained in Baker & Linsley v. Wildflower Inn.   We brought the case on behalf of a same-sex couple who were told they could not have their wedding reception at a Vermont resort called Wildflower Inn because of the owner’s personal religious beliefs about marriage.   As part of the settlement agreement, Wildflower Inn agreed that Vermont’s public accommodations law prohibits unequal treatment of same-sex couples, which includes turning away same-sex couples seeking to have a wedding reception, failing to respond to inquiries from those couples, or discouraging those couples from using the facilities.  The resort also agreed to pay $10,000 to the Vermont Human Rights Commission as a civil penalty and to place $20,000 in a charitable trust to be disbursed by the couple.  The plaintiffs, Kate Linsley (nee Baker) and Ming Linsley, will not be retaining any of the money for themselves.
Why So Few Female Firefighters, NYC?

Why So Few Female Firefighters, NYC?

By Mie Lewis, Women's Rights Project at 1:15pm

Last Friday, a committee of the New York City Council attempted to answer a simple question: Why is it that in the year 2013, only 37 of 10,500 firefighters in New York City are women? Why is it that only a fraction of one percent of New York City's…

Nelson Mandela’s Important Legacy for LGBT Movement

Nelson Mandela’s Important Legacy for LGBT Movement

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 12:09pm

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." -- Nelson Mandela

On Thursday, the world mourned the death of former South African President and anti-apartheid…

Handy Tips for Transgender Travelers

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 11:14am

The hubbub over the TSA naked machines and "enhanced pat-downs" impact everyone who travels. But if you're a transgender individual, you might be especially wary of what you'll confront in the security line. So be sure to check…

A Minister and a Rabbi Walk Into a Vegas Wedding Chapel...

A Minister and a Rabbi Walk Into a Vegas Wedding Chapel...

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 2:40pm

There are currently 32 states and counting that have marriage equality. This is up from 12 states before we helped Edie Windsor strike down the Defense of Marriage Act in the Supreme Court last June.

In the states where gay couples have just…

You Can't "De-Gay" Our GSA

You Can't "De-Gay" Our GSA

By Joshua Kilburn at 7:36pm

My school, South Garland High School in Garland, Texas, is really large and diverse. It’s also right outside of Dallas, so it’s not like the fact that gay people exist is something new here. But I do still sometimes hear the word “faggot” thrown…

Bobbi and her family

"I should not have had to sue my employer to have a healthy pregnancy or keep breastfeeding"

By Bobbi Bockoras at 1:53pm

As a mother of three children, working in the manufacturing industry, I am truly in the minority: I'm one of 30 women in our facility and the only one with small children. Still, I hardly thought that in this day and age I would have to fight just…

A New Hero for Transgender Rights

A New Hero for Transgender Rights

By Rachel Healy, Director of Public Education and Communications, ACLU of Maine at 2:50pm

The girl, known in court documents as Susan Doe but now known to the world as Nicole Maines, was the subject of a court case over the rights of transgender students to use the correct bathroom for their gender. And last week she won. On January 30,…

Why ENDA's Religious Exemption Must Be Narrowed

Why ENDA's Religious Exemption Must Be Narrowed

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:21am

Remarkably, there are only 16 states that currently have workplace non-discrimination laws that are fully inclusive of LGBT people. This leaves LGBT people vulnerable to workplace discrimination in well over half of the country–an unacceptable situation…

Ban Censorship, Not Websites!

Ban Censorship, Not Websites!

By Chris Hampton, ACLU LGBT Project at 6:13pm

Today is Banned Websites Awareness Day – a designated day within Banned Books Week – which is sponsored by our friends at the American Association of School Librarians and designed to raise awareness of the overly restrictive blocking of…