This Week’s Developments in LGBTQ Nondiscrimination

December 21, 2018 • 12:27 pm

Gov. John Kasich signs historic, pro-LGBTQ executive order; Judge takes up case on ACA’s protections for transgender Americans; Two Kansas cities pass nondiscrimination ordinances

WASHINGTON – In a historic move, John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio has signed an executive order protecting LGBTQ state employees from discrimination. A notoriously anti-LGBTQ federal judge in Texas has agreed to reopen a case questioning whether or not the Affordable Care Act can protect transgender Americans from discrimination. This week, two Kansas cities passed comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinances. And Saturday marks eight years since Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed. Freedom for All Americans’ Weekly LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Update has all the latest developments that should be on your radar:

Republican Governor John Kasich Signs Pro-LGBTQ Executive Order:
Ohio Governor John Kasich has signed an historic executive order protecting LGBTQ state employees from discrimination. In what will be a defining element of Governor Kasich’s legacy, he will be the first Republican Governor of a state without statutory protections for LGBTQ people to issue an executive order protecting state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Kasich will leave office next month, and will be replaced by Governor-elect Mike DeWine. DeWine has not weighed in on this specific executive order, but has in the past expressed an openness to preserving Kasich’s executive orders.

Texas Judge Reopens Case Questioning ACA’s Nondiscrimination Protections for Transgender Americans:
Following a request from the Trump administration, Judge Reed O’Connor, a federal judge in Texas, has agreed to lift a stay on a case challenging the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) transgender nondiscrimination protections. Section 1557 of the ACA prohibits health programs or facilities that receive federal funds from discriminating on the basis of gender identity. In its request, the Justice Department even suggested a time table for the court that would result in a ruling by the end of May. Judge O’Connor has previously ruled against LGBTQ protections in court, signaling the administration picked him specifically to take up this case.

To get a better sense of how transgender Americans experience health care discrimination every single day, please visit Faces of Freedom – a new LGBTQ movement-wide resource that elevates the stories of LGBTQ people and allies.

Two Kansas Cities Pass Comprehensive Nondiscrimination Ordinances:
Mission and Prairie Village, Kansas are the latest cities in the state to pass comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinances. The Mission City Council passed the measure at its meeting Wednesday. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The city council also voted to raise the civil penalty fee for discrimination from $500 to $1,000. Prairie Village City Council passed their ordinance unanimously Monday night with a vote of 12-0. Their ordinance, similarly to Mission’s, extends protections to the city’s LGBTQ residents and raised the city’s civil penalty fee for discrimination from $500 to $1,000. Merriam, Kansas is currently considering a similar nondiscrimination ordinance.

Saturday Marks Eight Years Since Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell:
Eight years ago tomorrow, President Obama signed the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Act into law. This would end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and allow gays, lesbians, and bisexuals to serve openly in the U.S. armed forces. The move is seen as one of the biggest accomplishments in LGBTQ equality in the last decade. The anniversary comes as the legal challenges mount to the Trump administration’s discriminatory trans ban, which has garnered criticism from a multitude of voices – including republican lawmakers and former military officials.

Faces of Freedom is a new resource that brings together powerful messengers and stories of discrimination, creating a one-stop resource for reporters, policymakers, advocates, and others who need to harness the power of storytelling and the diversity of the LGBTQ community. It includes more than 350 stories from nearly every state and will be continue to expand in the coming months. You’ll meet LGBTQ people who have faced discrimination, family members and friends who support their LGBTQ loved ones, and community members like business leaders and small business owners, people of faith and clergy, and Americans across the political spectrum who all support full equality under the law for LGBTQ people.

 

Freedom for All Americans is working to secure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for all LGBTQ Americans, no matter which state they call home. For more information on state-specific legislation, or to browse our stories of discrimination, please visit www.FreedomForAllAmericans.org.


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