Queer Nation Demands Comprehensive Federal Civil Rights Legislation
By Melanie Nathan, July 31, 1204.
Continuing to pressure Congressional Democrats to advance comprehensive federal civil rights legislation that will give lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans the same legal rights and protections that all other Americans currently have, Queer Nation is targeting Rep. Mike Michaud in a social media campaign titled “Which Side of Your Mouth Should We Listen To?”
Michaud, who is gay and a candidate for governor in Maine, supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which only bars employment discrimination against LGBT people and has a sweeping religious exemption that would let nearly 200,000 religiously affiliated employers fire or deny jobs to LGBT Americans.
Many national and state LGBT groups dumped ENDA over its religious exemption. On other issues, Michaud has called for “real solutions.” He asked Pres. Barack Obama to “follow the example of strong anti-discrimination laws in Maine” and bar discrimination by federal contractors.
“Mike Michaud should take his own advice and support comprehensive LGBT civil rights legislation, not a bill that has been languishing in Congress for 20 years and that gives LGBT Americans far less than half of the rights and protections found in the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said Alan Klein, a member of Queer Nation. “Mike Michaud’s platitudes on ENDA will not protect LGBT people.”
In the November 2013 editorial in which he came out, Michaud wrote “I plan to run a positive campaign that focuses on finding real solutions to the challenges we face, not just empty platitudes and old ideas repackaged in new rhetoric.”
In a March 6 statement, Michaud urged Pres. Barack Obama to sign an executive order barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by federal contractors saying, “In the absence of Congressional action, the President should follow the example of strong anti-discrimination laws in Maine and other states to ensure that no one in the federal workplace is discriminated against because of who they are or who they love.”
Rep. David Cicilline, who is gay, supports ENDA, and his rhetoric has been expansive.
“Rep. Cicilline is an expert in lip service,” said Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation. “He says he believes in equal rights, yet he supports ENDA, a bill that trades minimal protections for some LGBT Americans for legalized discrimination against many other LGBT Americans.”
Kidd continued, “ENDA gives nearly 200,000 organizations that claim a religious affiliation the right to continue to fire us or refuse to hire us. That’s not equality, Mr. Cicilline. That’s double-talk.”
Many national and state LGBT groups dumped ENDA over its religious exemption. While supporting ENDA, Cicilline has made bold comments about civil rights for LGBT people and endorsed comprehensive legislation on other issues.
In an undated position statement, Cicilline said, “As an openly gay man, I have a deep understanding of the importance of achieving equality for all citizens. Throughout my career in public service, I have consistently stood up for equal rights.”
In a January 15 speech on the House floor on comprehensive immigration reform, Cicilline said, “The American people deserve a vote on this critical legislation, and I urge my colleagues and I urge the Speaker to bring this bill to the floor so we can fix our broken immigration system and enact comprehensive reform that will make a real difference, not only in our economy, but in the lives of millions and millions of people.”
Queer Nation’s campaign earlier targeted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has since endorsed comprehensive federal civil rights legislation for LGBT Americans. Also targeted were Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, and Rep. Jared Polis, who are gay, and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who is bisexual. The campaign has received just over 33,000 views on Facebook. It is also being distributed on Twitter and other social media networks. Queer Nation demands a comprehensive civil rights law that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, education, credit, public accommodations, and federally funded programs.
Queer Nation is a direct action group dedicated to ending discrimination, violence, and repression against the LGBT community.