Press

Action Alert and Update

Date: 
April 26, 2002

  1. Nationwide Action Alert on Vermont’s Gov. Howard Dean
  2. Help Defeat Massachusetts Anti-Marriage Measure
  3. Tacoma Passes Inclusive Non-Discrimination Ordinance
  4. New York City Passes Transgender Ordinance
  5. May 20 Lobby Day in Albany New York
  6. Peaceful Demo at St. Patrick’s Cathedral this Sunday
  7. Leon County (FL) Passes Non-Discrimination Measure
  8. Allentown Passes Inclusive Non-Discrimination Ordinance
  9. 5/14 NGLTF Leadership Awards in Washington

TAKE ACTION!
CONTACT VERMONT GOVERNOR DEAN

Vermont Gov. Howard Dean opposes the legal use of marijuana for medicinal purposes for people with AIDS and other serious illnesses. He is working hard to block the passage of H.645, a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in his state. Gov. Dean is considering a run for the U.S. presidency and has appeared throughout the country, soliciting and receiving financial support from GLBT people and organizations, largely due to his leadership in the enactment of Vermont’s civil union law.

H.645 passed out of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee this week and now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Committee Chair Richard Sears, a political ally of Dean, has not decided how he will vote. Some have speculated that the Governor will lean on Sears to not bring the bill up for a vote.

There is tremendous public support for ending the prohibition of medical marijuana. A Pew Research poll conducted in 2001 found that 73 percent of American adults supported permitting doctors to prescribe marijuana for their patients. This finding is consistent with all of the other public opinion polls conducted. Further, since 1996, voters in eight states and the District of Columbia have voted in favor of ballot initiatives to remove criminal penalties for seriously ill people who grow or possess medical marijuana.

Lorri L. Jean, executive director of NGLTF wrote in a letter to Dean: "As a physician, your support for this bill would be consistent with the recommendations of medical experts. For example, in 1999, the National Academy of Sciences' Institute for Medicine released a report, funded by the White House Office of Drug Policy, concluding that 'there are some limited circumstances in which we recommend smoking marijuana for medical uses.'"

Vermonters living with HIV/AIDS need your help. If Governor Dean is visiting your state, urge him to support the medical marijuana bill, H.645. If you would like to write or call him, he can be reached at:

Governor Howard Dean, MD
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101
or call 802-828-3333

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MASSACHUSETTS COMMITTEE REJECTS PROPOSED ANTI-GAY MARRIAGE BAN

The Joint Committee on Public Service voted 15 to 0 this week to not recommend a measure that would put the question of amending the state constitution to ban gay marriage before voters in 2004. The recommendation will now go before a joint meeting of the state's House and Senate on May 8. In order for the measure to proceed any further, 50 out of the 200 state legislators must vote yes both this year and next. Massachusetts residents should contact their legislators through www.massequality.org.

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TACOMA, WASHINGTON PASSES INCLUSIVE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE

The Tacoma (Washington) City Council voted 8 to 1 this week to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city's anti-discrimination ordinance. This is the second time the City Council approved this addition, however after the first vote in 1989 voters repealed the additions. There is speculation that opponents may attempt once again to put it before the voters.

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NEW YORK CITY ADDS GENDER IDENTITY TO THE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE

This week, the New York City Council voted 45 to 5 to prohibit discrimination against transgender people in the city's anti-discrimination ordinance. Mayor Bloomberg has pledged that he will sign the measure into law. The ordinance prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. After Mayor Bloomberg signs the measure, the ordinance will make it illegal in the city of New York to discriminate on the basis of a “person's gender identity, self image, appearance, behavior, or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self image, appearance, behavior, or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the legal sex assigned to that person at birth.” For more information and to send a note of thanks to the Councilmembers who supported the ordinance, visit the Empire State Pride Agenda at www.prideagenda.org.

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LOBBY DAY IN NEW YORK MAY 20

Empire State Pride Agenda invites New Yorkers to participate in the tenth annual Lobby Day on May 20 in Albany. Join hundreds of people who will come to Albany to fight harassment and discrimination. Pending bills include: AB 2634/ SB 1628 (Safe Schools Bill), AB 1971 (anti-discrimination bill).

Contact Ralph Wilson at rwilson@prideagenda.org, 212-627-0305 or Jim O’Herien at joherien@prideagenda.org, 518-472-3330 for more information. Only 15 days until the registration deadline of May 10! Registration is available at www.prideagenda.org.

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PEACEFUL DEMO AT NYC'S ST. PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL

A diverse coalition of organizations, individuals and leaders from the LGBT and allied community will conduct a peaceful demonstration and press conference to express their concern and dismay over the response to the growing Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. These events offer an opportunity to address a variety of issues, including the scapegoating of gay priests and the church hierarchy's continued lack of compassion for abuse victims. Gather this Sunday, April 28 across from St. Patrick's (Fifth Ave & 50th/51st, New York) at 9:30 am for a peaceful demonstration and at 11:00 am for a press conference following the Cardinal's Mass.

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LEON COUNTY (FLORIDA) ADDS SEXUAL ORIENTATION TO ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

On April 16, the Leon County Commission voted 6 to 1 to add sexual orientation to the county's non-discrimination policy. Neither Leon County, nor Tallahassee, its largest city, currently has a Human Rights Ordinance. Leon County is expected to become a Charter County later this year. At that time activists will work to get a human rights ordinance passed that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

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ALLENTOWN, PA PASSES INCLUSIVE ORDINANCE

On April 3, the Allentown, Pennsylvania city council voted 5 to 2 to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Unfortunately, those that oppose these protections are already gathering signatures in an effort to put a repeal on the ballot. To help in the fight to keep the law in place, contact PA-GALA at Liztrish@aol.com, 610-432-5449.

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NGLTF LEADERSHIP AWARDS IN WASHINGTON ON TUESDAY, MAY 14

On May 14th, NGLTF will hold its annual awards reception in Washington, DC. This year's recipients of the NGLTF Leadership Awards are comedian Margaret Cho, star of HBO's "Six Feet Under" Matthew St. Patrick, and DC's Black LGBT Pride Day. The event will be held at the Dorothy Betts Theater in the Marvin Center on the campus of George Washington University, in Washington, DC. Go to www.ngltf.org/events/leadawarddc2002.htm for tickets and information.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.