Equality For All

The Ricci Ruling and the Sotomayor Nomination

In anticipation of a ruling by the Supreme Court in Ricci v. DeStefano today or Monday, People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker issued the following statement: "Opponents of Judge Sotomayor have gone to great lengths to use the ruling of her panel in Ricci v. DeStefano against her, and they will surely ramp up their efforts if the Supreme Court overturns the Second Circuit. But the simple fact is that the Supreme Court's ruling, whatever it may be, will not reflect upon Sotomayor's jurisprudence."

An Open Letter to President Obama from People For the American Way

Today, PFAW President Michael B. Keegan issued an open letter to President Obama urging him to use his influence to advance the cause of LGBT equality and make good on his promises to help end discriminatory policies such as DOMA and Don't Ask Don't Tell.

PFAW Statement on Supreme Court's Age Discrimination Ruling

The Supreme Court today issued a split decision severely limiting the ability of victims of age discrimination to obtain justice under federal law. "This is an obvious example of blatant judicial activism from the ultra-conservative wing of the Supreme Court," said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President at People For the American Way. "The Court ignored the clear meaning of the law and simply rewrote it to achieve the policy result they wanted. This decision makes it far more difficult in the real world to prove discrimination. It's Lilly Ledbetter all over again."

Presidential Memorandum: "A Very Small Step in the Right Direction"

In reponse to President Obama signing a memorandum granting a limited number of benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees and reiterating his pledge to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan said,

PFAW Statement on Assassination of George Tiller

Dr. George Tiller, a physician who has been targeted for years for his willingness to provide abortion procedures often in the most difficult circumstances, was assassinated today in his church in Kansas. People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan said, "I am deeply saddened by the killing of Dr. Tiller. He was a man who was dedicated to the belief that all women deserve access to safe reproductive health services including abortion. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his friends, and his community.

Rev. Byron Williams on Prop 8 and Marriage Equality on CNN's Campbell Brown

Rev. Byron Williams spoke about Prop 8 and marriage equality on May 27th 2009, on Campbell Brown's show on CNN. Williams is a member of African American Ministers In Action (AAMIA).

PFAW Foundation Statement on the California Supreme Court's Decision to Uphold Prop 8

Today, the California Supreme Court denied a court challenge to Proposition 8 and allowed a bare majority of voters to place the controversial language in the State Constitution. The language bars civil marriage for same-sex couples in California, despite the fact that the Supreme Court found marriage to be a "fundamental right" just last year. The Court also upheld the unions of 18,000 same-sex couples who wed before Proposition 8 took effect.

NOM Board Member Advocates Criminalization of Homosexuality, Overthrow of Government

People For the American Way calls on the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to repudiate the bizarre and troubling remarks made by its board member Orson Scott Card, who has advocated for criminalizing sex between same-sex adults and for overthrowing the government if same-sex marriage were permitted.

House Passes Hate Crimes Legislation

Today the House of Representatives passed the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 by a bipartisan vote of 249 to 175. The legislation protects individuals from violent crimes motivated by victims' sexual orientation, disability status, gender or gender identity. The legislation still needs to be approved by the Senate.PFAW President Michael B. Keegan said, "I applaud the House for passing this legislation. Hate crimes remain all too common in this county, and it's important that the federal government take strong stand to ensure that no one is subjected to the threat of violence because of who they are. I'm especially pleased that this bill contains strong First Amendment protections to ensure that no one's right to free expression will ever be affected by this law. All Americans have a right to live in safety, and all Americans have a right to speak, preach, and worship freely."

Harry Jackson: Point Man for the Wedge Strategy

A report by People for the American Way Foundation examining the political activities of Bishop Harry Jackson, who has emerged as the leading African American voice of the Religious Right political movement.

Point Man for the Wedge Strategy: New Report Examines Political Activities of Bishop Harry Jackson, Face of the Religious Right's Outreach to African Americans

Bishop Harry Jackson, who has emerged as the leading African American voice of the Religious Right political movement, is waging a campaign in the District of Columbia against marriage equality. This report follows Jackson's years on the national political scene since he announced that God told him to campaign for George W. Bush's reelection in 2004.

Hate Crimes Legislation Passes House Judiciary Committee

The House Judiciary Committee today voted 15 to 12 to send the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 1913) to the floor for a vote. People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan issued the following statement: "Today's vote is a very positive step towards passing this bill into law. I'm extremely optimistic that this year we'll finally be able to enact hate crimes legislation that includes protections against violence based on disability status, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity.

Right Sounds False Alarm On Hate Crimes Legislation

Religious Right leaders are vehemently opposed to federal hate crimes laws in large measure because they resist any legal recognition of LGBT people (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender). They know that most Americans support hate-crimes legislation, anti-discrimination laws, and legal protection for gay couples. So they create confusion by portraying these steps toward equality as dire threats to religious liberty. This is part of a larger political strategy by Religious Right leaders to advance their policy goals and mobilize supporters with alarmist claims that Christians in America are on the verge of being jailed for their religious beliefs.

Vermont Legislature Passes Marriage For All

Both houses of the Vermont Legislature voted to override Governor Douglas's veto of marriage equality legislation, making the Green Mountain State the first state to enact marriage equality for same-sex couples through the legislative process.

Unanimous Iowa Supreme Court Upholds Marriage Equality Ruling

A unanimous Iowa Supreme Court today upheld a lower court ruling that denying marriage to same-sex couples violates the equal protection clause of the state's constitution. People For the American Way Foundation, which was amicus in the case, welcomed the decision as a victory for core constitutional and American values. "The Iowa Supreme Court's decision is a historic affirmation of equality," said People For the American Way Foundation Interim President Michael B. Keegan. "It's a joyous day for the Iowa families involved in the case, and for equality advocates in Iowa and across the nation. Congratulations to the courageous couples who challenged unfair and unconstitutional discrimination, and to One Iowa, Lambda Legal, and all their allies. We were glad to support their work in this case."

People For the American Way Welcomes Introduction of Federal Hate Crimes Law

People For the American Way welcomed the bipartisan introduction of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation would provide federal resources to help local law enforcement departments combat violent hate crimes. H.R. 1913 was introduced this week by Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Marriage Equality Opponents Blur Distinction Between Civil And Religious Marriage

Efforts to bring down discriminatory legal barriers to marriage equality have met with fierce resistance led by Religious Right organizations. Anti-equality leaders routinely blur the distinction between civil and religious marriage in order to portray legal marriage equality as a threat to their religious liberty. The truth can be a powerful weapon against that deception: when Americans understand that allowing same-sex couples to be legally wed would not require any church or congregation to bless or perform such weddings, support for legal equality jumps substantially.

President Signs Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

President Barack Obama today signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, legislation that repairs the damage done by the Supreme Court's decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear. People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert was present at the signing, and issued the following statement:

Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 Goes to President Obama's Desk for Signing

Today, the House passed S. 181, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, legislation correcting the Supreme Court's decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear that limited a worker's ability to be fully compensated for discrimination. PFAW President Kathryn Kolbert expressed appreciation for members' standing up for justice for American workers: "Thousands of workers who face pay discrimination now have an opportunity to seek justice. I applaud members of the House, and their colleagues in the Senate, for standing up for the rights of all Americans, and President Obama for his steadfast support of this legislation and of Lilly Ledbetter. I'm glad that Congress took the opportunity to strike a blow for basic fairness."

Two Key Pay Equity Bills Pass the House

PFAW President Kathryn Kolbert released the following statement on the passage of H.R. 11, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and H.R. 12, Paycheck Fairness Act in the House: "Two years after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of corporations over workers in discrimination cases, the House today corrected that mistake and brought justice to employees like Lilly Ledbetter who deserve restitution for unlawful pay discrimination. It's clear that the Supreme Court has lurched dangerously to the right, and Bush's new Justices have brought their political agenda to bear on the cases they hear. In November, the American people spoke loud and clear and voted to restore checks and balances. Today, we're seeing this come to fruition."
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