Blog of Rights

The Good, Bad, and Ugly for Religious Liberty and LGBT Rights in Defense Bill

The Good, Bad, and Ugly for Religious Liberty and LGBT Rights in Defense Bill

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:15pm
A sure sign of early summer in Washington, besides the sticky, humid air, is the House and Senate Armed Services Committees kicking off the annual process to pass the defense authorization bill – known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill always touches on a range of important ACLU issues, primarily those at the intersection of national security and civil liberties, and, this year, sexual assault in the military. But, we, as the ACLU lobbyists who focus on freedom of religion and belief and LGBT rights, weren't left out of this annual summertime rite. Here are a few of the things we saw – good, bad, and ugly.
VICTORY! Social Security Administration Drops Surgery Requirement for Gender Change

VICTORY! Social Security Administration Drops Surgery Requirement for Gender Change

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU & Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:05am

Late last week, after nearly a decade of advocacy led by our coalition partners at the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Social Security Administration (SSA) updated its policy for changing gender designation in Social Security records.…

Religious Liberty and Inclusion

Religious Liberty and Inclusion

By Julian Bond, Chairman Emeritus, NAACP at 9:42am

By the mid-1960s, the civil rights movement had made significant cultural, legal and political progress in advancing the cause of racial...

Oregon Legislature Repeals Surgery Requirement for Gender Change on Birth Certificate

Oregon Legislature Repeals Surgery Requirement for Gender Change on Birth Certificate

By Becky Straus, Legislative Director, ACLU of Oregon & Kevin Díaz, Legal Director, ACLU of Oregon & Amanda Goad, LGBT Project at 3:55pm

With Gov. Kitzhaber's approval of HB 2093 yesterday, transgender people in Oregon will no longer have to show proof of surgery in order to change their birth certificates to accurately reflect their gender. Previously, Oregon law required surgery in…

A Loving Reality for All

A Loving Reality for All

By Greger Calhan, Legal Fellow, ACLU, Racial Justice Program at 12:16pm

The month of June represents a double anniversary for Mildred and Richard Loving. Two weeks ago, the Virginia couple would have celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. And earlier this week on June 12th, Americans celebrated the 46th anniversary…

It's Not All About Marriage

It's Not All About Marriage

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 11:04am

With all the attention over the past several months given to our DOMA challenge at the Supreme Court and to our state marriage campaigns from Rhode Island and Delaware to Minnesota (and we haven't given up the fight in Illinois!), you may be forgiven…

Red Lion Area School District Chooses the Low Road

Red Lion Area School District Chooses the Low Road

By Sara Mullen, ACLU of Pennsylvania & Molly Tack-Hooper, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Pennsylvania at 2:02pm

Issak Wolfe, a transgender student at Red Lion School District, graduates today. Graduation day is one of life's big milestones and cause for celebration. Unfortunately, Issak's big day will be marred by the fact that the school district has refused…

A Wedding Cake For Fido & Fluffy But Not For Dave & Charlie?

A Wedding Cake For Fido & Fluffy But Not For Dave & Charlie?

By Kiela Parks, Advocacy Associate, ACLU of Colorado & John Krieger, Communications and Outreach Director, ACLU of Colorado at 12:03pm

Imagine being told that the love between you and your partner is less legitimate than a dog wedding. Or having your commitment to one another compared to pedophilia.

Stephanie Schmalz and her partner, Jeanine, wanted to order some cupcakes…

Bringing Marriage to "Modern Family"

Bringing Marriage to "Modern Family"

By Alicia Gay, ACLU at 10:34am

You might be asking yourself: What does Modern Family have to do with an upcoming landmark Supreme Court case about the freedom to marry? Well, the ACLU launched a campaign today urging Modern Family's producers to script a wedding episode for popular…