In a stark departure from old Bush policies, Tom Perez, the federal assistant attorney general that runs the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, said Wednesday he will seek to fight discrimination against gays and lesbians. Pending legislation in Congress, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crime Preventions Act, federal prosecutors will be able to prosecute hate crimes against LGBT Americans.
“We must fight for fairness and basic equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters who so frequently are being left in the shadows," Perez said.
Though it seems Perez will be able to prosecute anti-gay hate crimes (the Matthew Shepard Act only requires a final Senate vote for approval and President Obama has said he will sign it), the goal of fighting LGBT discrimination in the work place faces stiffer resistance.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is currently floundering in Congress. Go to www.ActOnPrinciples.org to see the projected vote count for the bill. You can also use this site to contact your representative and tell him or her to vote for an inclusive ENDA.
LGBT Americans deserve protections from workplace discrimination.
Thanks in part to the advocacy of EQCA, California has many of the comprehensive protections that we lack on the national level, such as hate crimes and employment non-discrimination laws. This year, EQCA helped pass resolutions in the legislature putting the state of California on record in support of these and other pro-LGBT federal bills.