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.
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…

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.

The Single Most Important Step Congress Could Take to Improve the Lives of LGBT Students

The Single Most Important Step Congress Could Take to Improve the Lives of LGBT Students

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:48am

For those who work each and every day to secure basic fairness and equality under the law for LGBT Americans, the pace of positive...

Obama Promised to Stop Government-Funded Discrimination.  Has He?

Obama Promised to Stop Government-Funded Discrimination. Has He?

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:51pm

Four years ago last month, then-candidate Barack Obama promised to ensure that religious organizations that receive government funds to provide social services abide by the Constitution and are not allowed to discriminate with government funding. …

Who's the Boss? Not Who You Think.

Who's the Boss? Not Who You Think.

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:58pm

Meet Tony and Angela.  Angela is a floor worker at a manufacturing plant and Tony is her shift supervisor. Tony’s boss, who works offsite, decides whom to hire or fire at this particular plant.  But Tony makes Angela’s schedule, gives…

The LA Times Agrees – ENDA’s Religious Exemption Must Be Narrowed

The LA Times Agrees – ENDA’s Religious Exemption Must Be Narrowed

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:08am

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times published a powerful editorial arguing that a blank check for religiously affiliated organizations – far beyond houses of worship – to discriminate in employment against LGBT people should not be the price paid…

A Look at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

A Look at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:31pm

In 1998, Congress created the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to draw attention to violations of religious freedom in other countries. The commissioners vote annually to list countries that are of particular concern or place…

The American Public Gets It. President Obama Gets It. Why Doesn't Congress?

The American Public Gets It. President Obama Gets It. Why Doesn't Congress?

By Vania Leveille, Washington Legislative Office at 10:46am

Like millions of Americans, President Obama doesn't think it makes a lot of sense to fire an employee or force her to take unpaid leave because she's six months pregnant and needs a stool to sit on while working the cash register.

This is a…

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…