E-News for ACLU-AL Friends

JUNE 2009

FIGHTING FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES IN ALABAMA SINCE 1965

 

The ACLU celebrates LGBT Pride Month in June

National ACLU Work:

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, and the ACLU is working hard this month – and every month – to fight for LGBT rights.  Here are some recent developments from across the country...

 

Tennessee Schools End Censorship Of Gay Educational Web Sites After ACLU Lawsuit (6/4/2009)
NASHVILLE, TN – Dozens of Tennessee schools have restored access to online information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, just over two weeks after the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against two Tennessee school districts for unconstitutionally blocking student access to such sites. The company that provides Internet filtering software to as many as 107 Tennessee school districts has adjusted the software to allow access to a variety of educational and political LGBT Web sites that were blocked before the lawsuit was filed.

 

LGBT Organizations Point Out that Lawsuits Could Set Back Progress on Marriage for Same-Sex Couples (5/27/2009)
NEW YORK – In response to the California Supreme Court decision allowing Prop 8 to stand, four LGBT legal organizations and five other leading national LGBT groups are reminding the LGBT community that ill-timed lawsuits could set the fight for marriage back. The groups released a new publication, “Why the ballot box and not the courts should be the next step on marriage in California.” This publication discourages people from bringing premature lawsuits based on the federal Constitution because, without more groundwork, the U.S. Supreme Court likely is not yet ready to rule that same-sex couples cannot be barred from marriage. The groups also revised “Make Change, Not Lawsuits,” which was released after the California Supreme Court decision ending the ban on marriage for same-sex couples in California. This publication encourages couples who have legally married to ask friends, neighbors and institutions to honor their marriages, but discourages people from bringing lawsuits.

 

High School Student Takes On Anti-Gay Harassment And Wins (5/18/2009)
VALLEJO, CA – The American Civil Liberties Union announced today that it has reached a settlement agreement with the Vallejo City Unified School District on behalf of a high school student who faced anti-gay harassment and discrimination from teachers and school staff and was required to participate in a school-sponsored “counseling” group designed to discourage students from being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The settlement is designed to combat harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity at all the district’s schools, and includes district-wide anti-harassment training for students and staff.

 

Maine Ends Ban On Marriage For Lesbian and Gay Couples (5/6/2009)
Portland, ME – Maine Governor John Baldacci signed into a law today a bill ending the ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The Maine Civil Liberties Union, which lobbied hard for the bill, applauds the governor for recognizing that lesbian and gay couples in the state should no longer be denied the legal protections, recognition and respect that comes with marriage.

 

Federal Court Awards Transgender Veteran Maximum Compensation In Sex Discrimination Case Against Library of Congress (4/29/2009)
WASHINGTON, DC – A federal judge ruled that transgender veteran Diane Schroer is entitled to the maximum compensation for the discrimination she suffered after being refused a job with the Library of Congress. The American Civil Liberties Union brought a sex discrimination lawsuit on behalf of Schroer, a Special Forces veteran who retired after 25 years of service, when she was denied a job after announcing her intention to transition from male to female.

 

New Mexico Agrees To Provide Retirement Health Insurance To Domestic Partners Of State Employees (4/28/2009)
ALBUQUERQUE – In response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, New Mexico has agreed to provide retirement health insurance to the domestic partners of state employees.

 

The ACLU LGBT Project fights discrimination and moves public opinion on LGBT rights through the courts, legislatures and public education.  To learn more, please visit www.aclu.org/lgbt.

 

ACLU of Alabama Work:

The Alabama affiliate has focused on two specific areas of discrimination faced by LGBT Alabamians: protecting the family rights of LGBT parents and their children, and representing students on college campuses across the state seeking to form LGBT student clubs.

 

Protecting the rights of LGBT parents and their children is central to achieving equality for all LGBT people. Alabama courts routinely deny child custody and visitation rights to LGBT mothers and fathers solely on the basis of their sexual orientation. The Alabama Supreme Court has issued particularly disturbing religiously-based rulings against LGBT parents making Alabama law the worst in the country.   Mothers and fathers who are often desperate for help turn to the ACLU. It is an ongoing part of our mission to provide direct representation to these parents or assist private attorneys who represent them. 

 

The affiliate has also assisted students on more than fifteen college campuses in Alabama establish school-recognized LGBT student clubs after their petitions to form such clubs were denied or ignored by university administrators. We have intervened without litigation when possible but have gone to court as necessary. (Auburn University v. Auburn Gay and Lesbian Alliance)  (Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Association v. Sessions and the University of South Alabama).

 

 

 

Thank you for your continued support of civil liberties in Alabama!

 

 

Olivia Turner

Executive Director, ACLU of Alabama

 

 

207 Montgomery Street, Suite 910, Montgomery, Alabama 36104

T: 334-262-0304  |  F: 334-269-5666  |  info@aclualabama.org

www.aclualabama.org