Category Archives: LGBT

Increasing Share of Colleges Offer Partner Benefits

Source: Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 17, 2008

The percentage of colleges offering domestic partner benefits grew gradually in 2007-8 — a year in which the benefits received intense scrutiny from critics of gay marriage.

The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources surveyed colleges and universities and found that 42 percent offer health care benefits for same-sex domestic partners, up from 40 percent a year ago. In addition, 34 percent of institutions provide the benefits to opposite sex domestic partners, up from 31 percent a year ago.
In states where voters have approved measures to ban gay marriage, domestic partner benefits have faced legal and political challenges in the last year, but many institutions have shifted the way benefits are provided to avoid cutting off health insurance to employees’ partners.

Transforming Transsexual and Transgender Rights

Source: L. Camille Hebert, William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, Vol. 15, No. 3, 2009

From the abstract:
Transsexual and transgendered individuals receive only sporadic and non-comprehensive protection against discrimination in employment. Most efforts to extend that protection, through avenues of protection as a disability or enacting legislation extending protected class status, have been unsuccessful or incomplete. More successful in recent years has been to extend protection against sexual stereotyping to transsexual and transgendered individuals. Least successful has been the argument that discrimination against transsexual and transgendered individuals is itself prohibited sex discrimination. This article argues that in fact the structure to protect transsexual and transgendered individuals from discrimination is already in place through federal and state statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, because this discrimination is classic sex discrimination. Based on common understanding of the term sex, medical definitions of sex and gender identity, and legal definitions of that term and other grounds of prohibited discrimination, this article argues that the term sex should be defined more broadly than courts have seen fit to do with respect to sexual minorities, to extend protection not only on biological status but gender-linked traits, including gender identity.

Transgender People in the U.S. Military

Source: Karl Bryant and Kristen Schilt, Transgender American Veterans Association, August 2008

This paper reports findings from a survey of transgender service members and veterans designed and administered by the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA). TAVA was founded in 2003 with the goal of ensuring that transgender military veterans receive fair, equitable, and dignified treatment from Veterans Association (VA) Hospitals. The resulting survey data produced compelling findings indicating that transgender service members and veterans, like many transgender people in the U.S., face various forms of discrimination based on their transgender status. Transgender people in particular faced discrimination while serving in the military, as well as when they accessed or tried to access services through VA Hospitals.
See also:
Press release

Public Opinion and State Action on Same-Sex Marriage

Source: Gregory B. Lewis and Seong Soo Oh, State and Local Government Review, Vol. 40 no. 1, 2008
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Studies of state gay rights, same-sex marriage, and sodomy laws find weak links to public opinion, despite repeated findings that state policies reflect citizens’ values, especially on morality policy. This study reexamines the link by testing new state-level measures of support for same-sex marriage using data on 69,000 respondents to 57 surveys and estimating the impact of that support on passage of legislative and constitutional bans in models that include general citizen liberalism, elite attitudes, interest group strength, and state innovativeness. Previous research has underestimated the impact of public opinion, which has the strongest influence on legislative bans in this model. The strength of evangelical Protestant groups appears to matter more for amending state constitutions.

The Impact of Extending Marriage to Same-Sex Couples on the California Budget

Source: Brad Sears and M.V. Lee Badgett, Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, June 2008

This analysis estimates the impact of the California Supreme Court’s recent decision to extend marriage to same-sex couples on state and local government revenues in California. Using the best data available, we estimate that allowing same-sex couples to marry will result in approximately $63.8 million in revenue for the state of California over the next three years. The weddings of same-sex couples will generate new economic activity for the state’s businesses and over the next three years, the direct spending from same-sex couples on weddings and tourism will generate over $63.8 million in revenue for state and local governments.
Related:
The Impact on Iowa’s Budget of Allowing Same-Sex Couples to Marry

Justice Department Okays Benefits for Child of Lesbian Couple

Source: Sue Reisinger, AMLaw Daily, June 17, 2008

The federal government won’t recognize same-sex couples, but it can pay benefits to their children. That’s the result of a U.S. Department of Justice opinion released June 9. According to the opinion, federal law does not prohibit the Social Security Administration from paying insurance benefits to the nonbiological child of a partner in a Vermont civil union. The decision is notable because the Defense of Marriage Act bars the government from extending federal benefits to gay and lesbian couples.

New Online Toolkit, WWW.ACLU.ORG/GETEQUAL, Makes It Easy To Make Change

Source: American Civil Liberties Union, Press Release, May 13, 2008

The American Civil Liberties Union launched a new version of its Get Busy, Get Equal online activist toolkit. Get Busy, Get Equal now incorporates new technology to make it easier for LGBT people to work for change in their communities. The website offers tools for ending gay and transgender discrimination, making schools safe, and winning recognition for LGBT relationships.