Washington Markup

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. The ACLU also included this as one of our top LGBT second term recommendations to President Obama. This change will not only protect the privacy of transgender individuals, but also brings SSA in line with other federal agencies and prevailing medical standards for the treatment of transgender individuals.
The 40th Anniversary of an LGBT Milestone in Congress

The 40th Anniversary of an LGBT Milestone in Congress

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:00pm

Forty years ago today, "Battling Bella" Abzug, a member of Congress from New York and a trailblazer for women, introduced a bill to protect gay people from discrimination for the first time in American history. The Equality Act of 1974 would have banned…

Ending Solitary Confinement – The Dangers of Isolation for LGBTI Prisoners and Detainees

Ending Solitary Confinement – The Dangers of Isolation for LGBTI Prisoners and Detainees

By Patrick DePoy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:33pm

Recently, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Constitution Subcommittee held a landmark hearing on solitary confinement.  The goal of the hearing was to comprehensively examine and reassess the overuse of solitary confinement in federal and…

Anti-LGBT Bill Is About Discrimination, Not Taxes

Anti-LGBT Bill Is About Discrimination, Not Taxes

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:24pm

The so-called "Marriage and Religious Freedom Act," introduced in the House of Representatives today, is a discriminatory wolf in anti-IRS sheep's clothing. Touted as a modest response to the IRS selective targeting affair, the bill is nothing of the…

The Sweeping License to Discriminate Hidden in the NDAA

The Sweeping License to Discriminate Hidden in the NDAA

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:58pm

With Congress having recently approved this year’s NDAA, we think it is important to draw attention to a provision (Section 533(a)(1)), which, though hidden away, is unprecedented, sweeping, and could invite dangerous claims of a right to discriminate against not just lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members, but also women, religious minorities, and in the provision of health care.

On the First Anniversary of Wal-Mart v. Dukes:  Stand Up or Be Trampled

On the First Anniversary of Wal-Mart v. Dukes: Stand Up or Be Trampled

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:27am
Image above: Betty Dukes with Senator Al Franken. The author, Deborah Vagins, to the immediate right, joined by coalition partners.

Over a decade ago, I had the great honor to be part of a team representing Betty Dukes, an employee at Wal-Mart who…

Voter Suppression is an LGBT Rights Issue – Just Ask Asher

Voter Suppression is an LGBT Rights Issue – Just Ask Asher

By Patrick DePoy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:05am

Like many Americans, Asher Schor is excited to vote this coming November. Asher was born and raised in Pittsburgh, works at a public interest law firm, and feels more motivated than ever to participate in the electoral process. But Asher…

Anti-Gay Pandering Cannot Stop Historic Momentum for LGBT Rights

Anti-Gay Pandering Cannot Stop Historic Momentum for LGBT Rights

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:10pm

What an amazing and historic week it has been for the cause of gay rights. On Wednesday, for the first time in our country’s history, a sitting President of the United States said that he supports the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian…

Racial Justice and LGBT Equality – Moving Beyond the Politics of "Divide and Conquer"

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:53pm

It was recently revealed in internal strategy memos from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage that the organization hoped to pit racial and ethnic minorities against the LGBT community as a way to defeat and rollback gay rights advances,…

New DOJ Profiling Guidance: LGBTQ-Inclusive, But Inadequate

New DOJ Profiling Guidance: LGBTQ-Inclusive, But Inadequate

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:36am

This piece originally appeared at Slate's Outward blog.

"Hands up, don't shoot!" "We can't breathe!"

With the backdrop of a national, youth-led movement demanding reform of a system of policing that too often approaches communities…