The LGBTQ movement stands at a turning point. In the 40 years since the Stonewall Riots, our lives have changed immeasurably. We have Gay-Straight Alliances in schools across the country, out characters in movies and on television, affirming communities of faith, and openly gay public officials. But we are still unequal as working people, as members of the military, as families, as immigrants, as students, as taxpayers, and as citizens.
All across the country, LGBTQ people are regularly the victims of hate crimes and discrimination on the job. More than 30 states have banned same-sex marriage. Several states have banned us from adopting children, and in the majority of states it remains legal to fire people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Perhaps most discouraging, we have seen little movement on our federal legislative priorities. Though “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been swept into the dustbins of history, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been mired in delays for decades, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) still codifies discrimination as the law of the land despite marginally favorable Supreme Court rulings, and other legislation that would provide equal protection in immigration law, schools, housing, credit, and many other aspects of American life remain on the to-do list. All the while, supposedly progressive leaders openly refuse to prioritize our civil rights, and many of our own leaders (out elected officials and directors of long-standing LGBTQ advocacy organizations) have become mouthpieces of the status quo – urging us to continue waiting patiently for equality.
In light of this discouraging state of affairs, hundreds of thousands of Americans – LGBTQ and straight – are demanding a new direction for our movement. In October of 2009, more than 150,000 people marched on Washington to demand full federal equality. Activists young and old returned to their communities inspired, and people everywhere are still pushing for change at home.
We believe this momentum can fundamentally change the current political dynamic, restricting support for those who stand in the way of full equality, and emboldening those who want to do the right thing. No longer can we settle for empty promises while our youth commit suicide, our rights are stripped away at the ballot box, and we are treated as second-class citizens. The time has come to say unequivocally that we are more than a political movement – we are a civil rights movement.
GetEQUAL exists to serve and grow this constituency of everyday Americans – LGBTQ and straight – who are willing and ready to demand equality. We are committed to working with everyone, no matter the sex, gender, race, class, look, age, ability, religion, family status, and citizenship to build a society in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are equal.
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Senators Warren, Franken, Gillibrand, and Brown: LGBTQ workers desperately need federal legislation that would end discrimination in the workplace -- but the version of ENDA that is currently pending in the House and Senate stops short of ending workplace discrimination once and for all. We deserve more than "asterisk equality." We're asking progressive champions in the Senate -- Senators…
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