Monday, September 28, 2009

Family Day Proclamation Includes LGBT Families


Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release September 28, 2009


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Our family provides one of the strongest influences on our lives. American families from every walk of life have taught us time and again that children raised in loving, caring homes have the ability to reject negative behaviors and reach their highest potential. Whether children are raised by two parents, a single parent, grandparents, a same-sex couple, or a guardian, families
encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things. Today, our children are confronting issues of drug and alcohol use with astonishing regularity. On Family Day, we honor the dedication of parents, commend the achievements of their children, and celebrate the contributions our Nation's families have made to combat substance abuse among young people.

The 21st century presents families with unprecedented challenges. Millions of women and men are struggling to balance the demands of their jobs with the needs of their families. At the same time, our youngest generation faces countless distractions in their social environment. They are coming of age in a world where electronic devices have replaced the playground, televisions have preempted conversation, and pressure to use drug and alcohol is far too prevalent. Parents bear significant stress and burdens to protect their children from harmful influences.

It is our responsibility to talk with adolescents about the risks of abusing alcohol, tobacco, or prescription and illicit drugs, and other harmful behaviors. These substances can destroy the mind, body, and spirit of a child, jeopardizing their health and limiting their potential. Active parents, voicing their disapproval of drug use, have proven themselves to be the most effective preventative method for keeping our children drug-free. A strong and engaged family can make all the difference in helping young people make healthy decisions. By coming together as a family and discussing the events of the day, parents can foster open communication, share joys and concerns, and help guide their children toward healthy decisionmaking. A strong nation is made up of strong families, and on this Family Day, we rededicate ourselves to ensuring that every American family has the chance to build a better, healthier future for themselves and their children.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 28, 2009, as Family Day. I call upon the people of the United States to join together in observing this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities to honor and strengthen our Nation's families.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tell Congress it needs to pass ENDA now!

Today, the House Education and Labor Committee will hold a hearing to discuss ENDA, the federal employment nondiscrimination law that would ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. It is past time for Congress to pass ENDA -- please take action NOW to help us get the support we need. We must tell our Representatives and Senators how important these protections are to LGBT people.

If passed, ENDA will ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in all aspects of employment, including hiring, termination, promotion and compensation. Since currently it is still legal in thirty states to fire an employee based on sexual orientation, and in thirty-eight states to fire an employee based on gender identity, ENDA is an exceptionally important piece of legislation that deserves our community's full support and attention.

Please take a minute of your time to fill out the contact information on CenterLink's website and send out a letter to your senators and representatives urging them to support ENDA, and ask your friends, family and constituents to do the same.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

DOMA Repeal Introduced in Congress

Good news! Today lawmakers introduced legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law that discriminates against lawfully married same-sex couples. Through DOMA, the federal government selectively denies same-sex couples more than 1,100 federal protections and responsibilities, including Social Security and immigration benefits, that apply to all other married couples.

The Respect for Marriage Act was introduced in the House by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO). The bill has 91 co-sponsors.

DOMA is discriminatory and harmful to families. Married same-sex couples pay taxes, serve their communities, struggle to balance work and family, raise children, and care for aging parents like other Americans. Their contributions and needs are no different than anyone else’s and their relationships deserve the dignity and protection of federal recognition.

The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal both sections 2 and 3 of DOMA. Section 2 creates an exception to the full faith and credit clause for married same-sex couples. The Respect for Marriage Act would eliminate that provision, but it would leave each state free to decide whether to recognize marriages of same-sex couples from other states. Section 3 excludes same-sex spouses from all federal benefits and protections, including Social Security survivor benefits, the right to file joint taxes, and the right to petition for permanent residence for a foreign spouse. The Respect for Marriage Act would require that the federal government treat all married couples equally.

Our friend and partner Jason Bartlett from the National Black Justice Coalition reminds us of what exactly DOMA has meant for our community. “DOMA is an egregious piece of legislation as it codifies discrimination into federal law. As African Americans, we know all too well the injustices that laws such as this impose on our communities and our families and we are sensitive to the federal government trying to define our families. Let us consign the mistakes of the past to history and move forward together. We call on Congress to pass the Respect to Marriage Act as we continue to fight for our civil rights.”

NCLR is proud to have worked in close cooperation with other groups and lead co-sponsors to help define the scope of the bill to repeal DOMA and to secure federal respect for the marriages of same-sex couples. We support the legislative repeal, as well as the legal overturn, of DOMA.

President Obama has made it clear that he, too, supports an end to DOMA. On June 17, 2009, President Barack Obama said, “I stand by my long-standing commitment to work with Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. It’s discriminatory, it interferes with states’ rights, and it’s time we overturned it.” The President most recently reiterated his support for the repeal of DOMA in an August 17, 2009 White House statement.

Stay tuned! We're watching the Respect for Marriage Act very closely, and we'll keep you updated on its progress and what you can do to help end discrimination against same-sex couples.

Ever Onward,

Kate Kendell, Esq.
Executive Director
National Center for Lesbian Rights

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It’s Time to Speak Out About Health Care

From Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

The president made it clear and we agree: The inaction in Congress concerning health care must end.

The misinformation from the right and the foot-dragging of those we elected to represent us have wasted too much time. It’s past time to address the health concerns that affect everyone in our country.

Everyone, right or left, agrees that no one in this country should go without health care coverage, and LGBT people — like many other communities — are disproportionately impacted by the hardship caused by the lack of access to medical care and coverage. Affordable and accessible health care is not just imperative to our well-being as individuals, it is crucial to the health of our country.

Please contact your member of Congress right now and demand comprehensive health care reform that includes a public option now.

Last night, President Obama cited stories he’s heard from people denied adequate coverage when they needed it most. There are stories like this everywhere, in every community. I’ve heard stories from you just like these. And the fact remains that LGBT people are particularly vulnerable — often underemployed or simply treated badly by the medical establishment just because of who we are.

If the LGBT community and our supporters don’t demand a solution that addresses the health care needs of all of us we just might end up with a solution that doesn’t work for any of us. We can’t let that happen.

Take action and contact Congress today for real health care reform.

The Task Force has been fighting for years on Capitol Hill to advocate for better policies and to secure funds to support the unique health needs of LGBT people.

We’re making progress, but now is the moment when we must all come together and insist that action be taken. Comprehensive health care reform is an important step in addressing the health challenges faced by so many. It will help us address the care and coverage issues that can have such a devastating impact on all of our lives. All of us deserve the stability and security of knowing that our families will have access to medical care and will not go bankrupt getting the care they need. And guess who can help ensure that, when health care reform is finally passed, it meets the needs of everyone? You.

Now is the time to ensure security and stability for everyone. Contact your member of Congress now and demand comprehensive health care reform today. Our very lives depend it.

Thank you for taking action on health care. Our elected officials need to hear from the LGBT community and our supporters.

Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Do you need a photocopier?

On October 1st, Spectrum will be moving to 30 North San Pedro Road, Suite 160. We will no longer need our Kyocera photocopier.

There are three years remaining on this assumable lease at $189/month. The equipment works great. Network-ready: you may print, copy, scan, and fax directly from your network pc. Excellent condition. The copier is an excellent choice for a small business.

If you would like to know more, please call Paula at (415) 457-1115 ext. 209.

The equipment needs to be moved by September 30th.

For details on the machine itself: (this is a black and white copier)

Please spread the word!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Movie: Straightlaced - How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up -- September 24 at the Rialto Theater, Santa Rosa

Straightlaced - How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up is an uplifting and entertaining film, featuring high school youth speaking candidly about harmful pressures of rigid gender roles and homophobia. From girls who “dumb down” so they don’t intimidate boys, to boys who are sexually active to prove they aren’t gay, to non‐conforming teens who face relentless bullying, the students in Straightlaced show how gender expectations are having an unhealthy and often dangerous impact on today’s youth.

Who: YOU! Every adult who works with children of any age, or who touches the life of even one youth. Every parent, mentor and teen can learn more about the vital issue of gender identity and its impact on mental health.

What: A North Coast premier offering cutting‐edge youth insight about the stress of peer pressure and conformity.

Why: A fundraiser to support GROUNDSPARK FILMS, the lending library of the Sonoma County Office of Education & Positive Images.

When: Thursday Evening, September 24, 2009
7:15 PM Film Showing; 6:00 PM Reception with Academy Award Winning Director, Debra Chasnoff

Where: Rialto Cinemas Lakeside, Santa Rosa
Advance tickets available at Rialto Cinemas and

Reception & Film: Donation $5 - $25 Age 18 and under: $5‐$10 sliding scale

Download the Straightlaced Event flyer for more information.