Stephanie White, executive director of Equality Michigan, an LGBTQ advocacy group, said overturning the Obama administration guidance sends a signal that the Trump administration doesn't support equality for the transgender community. "It's a callous move that doesn't actually change the law," she said. "If they repeal the guidance, Title IX still exists. We still have the U.S. Constitution. We still have civil rights protections under Title IX."
You are not alone - civil and human rights groups stand with the LGBTQ community.
BREAKING NEWS: President Trump broke his promise to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community by rescinding federal guidance outlining the rights of transgender students at schools. By undermining established policies that successfully protect children from discrimination and harassment, the President’s action sends a message to transgender students that, in the eyes of the government, they are not welcome in their schools and are not worthy of the equal treatment and fairnes...s offered to all other students.
Equality Michigan executive director, Stephanie White stated, “The administration’s action is callous, cruel, and entirely unnecessary. It sends a terrible message to an already vulnerable group of young people. At the same time, it’s important to remember that rescinding this non-binding guidance does nothing to change the federal laws that protect students today. All students, including transgender students, still have access to legal protections under the requirements of the U.S. Constitution and Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex. Michigan schools, like schools everywhere, must still comply with the law.”
Equality Michigan knows first hand the life-saving power of trans-inclusive policies at school and in our communities.
We are thankful that the new guidance affirms a valuable continuation of protections against discrimination and a commitment to using the power of the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights to address any concerns as they may arise. The policy states:
"Please note that this withdrawal of these guidance documents does not leave students without protections from discrimination, bullying, or harassment. All schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment. The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights will continue its duty under law to hear all claims of discrimination and will explore every appropriate opportunity to protect all students and to encourage civility in our classrooms. The Department of Education and the Department of Justice are committed to the application of Title IX and other federal laws to ensure such protection."
EQMI will continue our on-going work with school districts across the state to ensure that students receive the equal education opportunity to which they are entitled, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. And, we will continue to hold districts and officials accountable if they fail to meet their obligation to serve all students equally.
LGBT Detroit is launching an important effort to support members of the LGBTQ community who have been impacted by cancer. Spread the word and be sure to join them next week.
Congratulations to the Jackson Pride Center on your Grand Opening today! Equality Michigan Action Network Board Chair and State Senator Rebekah Warren and EQMI Director of Public Policy, Nathan Triplett, we glad to join you for the celebration. Keep up the great work! We look forward to continuing our strong partnership in the years to come.
Last night, Equality Michigan joined many others in celebrating the good work of Ozone House in Ann Arbor. We were lucky enough to run into James Toy at the event. Ozone House provides critical shelter and support to homeless youth, with particular attention and services for LGBTQ youth. You can learn more about them and support this great organization here: http://ozonehouse.org/
Have you met Genny, our Lead Victim Advocate? She's awesome, and she's got your back if you need her. Learn more about her and the whole team.
2nd Breaking News TODAY!
Victory! Court Rules that South Carolina Violates Right to Accurate Birth Certificates for Children of Same-Sex Spouses
"This ruling ma...kes clear that all South Carolina families deserve the security of an accurate birth certificate that lists both parents.”
(Greenville, SC, February 16, 2016) – A U.S. District Court in South Carolina ruled yesterday that the state violates the Constitution by denying accurate birth certificates for children of married same-sex couples. The ruling is a victory for Lambda Legal and South Carolina Equality clients Casy and Jacqueline Carson, a married lesbian couple, and their twins, who were issued birth certificates listing only Jacquie, and treating Casy like a legal stranger to her own children.
As stated in the ruling: “[T]he Court declares Defendant’s failure to treat same-sex spouses in the same manner she treats opposite-sex spouses in the issuance of birth certificates violates Plaintiffs’ rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. More specifically, this Court refuses to countenance Defendant’s refusal to name both Plaintiffs on their twins’ birth certificates. Defendant’s present practice is violative of Plaintiffs’ fundamental right to marriage and other protected liberties.”
“We are thrilled with the Court’s ruling, which settles that the Carson family and others like them are entitled to the critical safety and security that a birth certificate provides,” said Tara Borelli, Counsel at Lambda Legal. “It is long past time that states acknowledge the marriages of same-sex couples just as they do different-sex parents – and this decision is an important step in that direction. An inaccurate birth certificate causes real trouble in a family’s day-to-day life – everything from a parent not being able to enroll a child in school to not being able to authorize basic medical care. That discrimination is now coming to an end in South Carolina: this ruling makes clear that all South Carolina families deserve the security of an accurate birth certificate that lists both parents.”
Casy and Jacqueline Carson are high school sweethearts from Greenville, South Carolina. Together since 2011, the couple married in April 2014 in Washington, D.C., at a time when their home state banned marriage between same-sex couples. After they were married, Casy and Jacqueline gave birth to twins. But despite stating they were married on hospital forms, Casy and Jacqueline received birth certificates listing Jacqueline as the “Mother,” and providing “No Father Listed” in the space for the other parent.
Casy, a National Guard veteran who served until a serious injury required her to end active duty in 2013, and Jacqueline, a teacher, couldn’t afford the fees to have Casy adopt their children. Without accurate birth certificates for their children, the couple had trouble accessing Casy’s benefits for the children through the Veterans Administration and Social Security. The couple worried that Casy could be kept from getting medical care for their twins during emergencies or even routine visits, and about the stigmatizing message it would send their children when they were old enough to understand their birth certificates.
South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (“DHEC”) previously insisted that it would only issue birth certificates listing both same-sex spouses as parents if those couples obtained an adoption or a court order, something not required of married different-sex spouses. While couples should still undertake second parent adoptions if they can, their children deserve accurate birth certificates from the start. In May 2016, Lambda Legal and South Carolina Equality, with the help of pro bono co-counsel, filed a motion for summary judgment, noting that the DHEC policies that refuse to provide new birth certificates to children born to same-sex spouses are arbitrary, harmful, and violate the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Yesterday the Court ruled in favor of the Carsons and all other similar couples in South Carolina who need accurate birth certificates for their children. The next phase is for the parties to work to reach agreement on how this constitutional ruling will be implemented for those seeking corrected and accurate birth certificates. Couples with questions are encouraged to contact the Lambda Legal Help Desk at www.lambdalegal.org/helpdesk or 404-897-1880.
“How wonderful that Judge Lewis has confirmed that the constitution does not permit DHEC to treat same-sex married parents differently than other couples,” said Colleen Condon, an attorney on behalf of South Carolina Equality's Litigation Task Force. Jeff Ayers, chairman of South Carolina Equality, added “South Carolina Equality works diligently in the Statehouse and the Courthouse when needed to protect our citizens.”
Thanks to Between The Lines Newspaper for the good update on our work. http://www.pridesource.com/article.html?article=80161
Don't forget! EQMI's Department of Victim Services is hosting pop-up hours in Grand Rapids today from 2pm until 7pm at the Grand Rapids Pride Center (343 Atlas Ave).
Stop by to talk to Ms. Jeynce Poindexter, our Transgender Advocate. (And don't forget to check out the most recent staff spotlight, highlighting some of her amazing work at EQMI: https://equalitymi.org/eqmi-staff-spotlight-jeynce-poindex…/)
Pro-equality advocates, including faith and business leaders, have been working toward this win in Jackson for nearly 20 years. #WinningEquality
VICTORY! Early this morning, the Jackson City Council voted 5-2 to approve an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. Pro-equality advocates in Jackson have worked tirelessly toward this day for nearly 20 years. Congratulations to Vice Mayor Derek Dobies and the incredible advocates at Jackson Together for their tireless efforts. Equality Michigan was proud to support them. Jackson becomes the 42nd Michigan community to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations. #WinningEquality