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Posts Tagged ‘discrimination

Homeowners group allows only married couples to rent

A Central Florida homeowners association covenant prohibits owners from leasing their homes to couples who aren’t married, raising the ire of gay rights advocates and homeowners who can’t locate tenants, reports Local 6 News in Orlando

The development is near the University of Central Florida. The rules were created, in part, to prevent the homes from becoming similar to nearby college apartments.

But abandoned homes are forcing current residents to maintain the properties.

A man who owns a home in the development had to move to Texas for employment reasons is trying renting the house for $1,600 a month, including HOA fees.

“It’s ridiculous,” says Eric Marberg. “I might have to quit my job here and move down to Florida and try to get something going.”

“Whether intended or not, this HOA law discriminates against many types of people,” said Tom Dyer, publisher of The Watermark, an Orlando gay and lesbian magazine. “And what’s most offensive is they’re saying the only kinds of people who can form a cohesive responsible household unit are married heterosexuals. And that discriminates against lots and lots of people.”

Fair or not?

You decide.

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Written by kickingalion

December 19, 2008 at 4:34 pm

Examining Discrimination Against HIV+ People

Written by kickingalion

December 13, 2008 at 4:33 pm

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Petitions target rescinding new ordinance banning discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgender individuals

KALAMAZOO — Petitions aimed at rescinding a new city ordinance banning discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgender individuals in housing, public accommodations and employment began circulating in Kalamazoo churches last weekend.

Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, said Thursday that his organization is supporting the efforts of unnamed local activists toward a 2009 ballot measure to rescind the ordinance.

City officials say circulators now have until Dec. 31 to collect at least 1,300 valid signatures from registered voters living in Kalamazoo. If successful, it would require the Kalamazoo City Commission to place the referendum on a ballot, letting city voters decide if the ordinance will stand. In addition, the city charter requires that provisions of the new ordinance be suspended until electors decide.

At issue is a revised and expanded city anti-discrimination ordinance that makes it a civil infraction to discriminate in Kalamazoo against gays, lesbians and transgender citizens in housing, public accommodations and employment. For example, a landlord could not refuse to rent an apartment to a gay or lesbian couple based solely on their sexual orientation.

In addition, contractors seeking to do business with the city must show proof they have a policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The measure, initiated by the Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality, was adopted 7-0 by the City Commission on Dec. 1 and faced no expressed public opposition.

Ordinance provisions became effective today and violations are punishable by a fine of up to $500, plus costs.

Glenn confirmed that AFAM has a supporting role in the local petition drive. But he declined to name local organizers, saying “determining who their spokesman is is up to them.”

“There is a petition being circulated to allow the citizens of Kalamazoo to make the decision on this ordinance, not the politicians,” Glenn said.

“Experience proves that in other jurisdictions, ordinances like this have been used to discriminate against and penalize people who believe homosexual behavior is wrong.”
Terry Kuseske, a spokesman for KAFE, said his organization “was hoping we would be able to avoid some kind of ballot.”

“We’ve built a lot of relationships with organizations already to support this ordinance,” Kuseske said. “We tried to craft something that was more Kalamazoo.”

According to City Attorney Clyde Robinson, the city charter gives citizens 20 days from the effective date of a new ordinance to file petitions challenging it. Those petitions must contain signatures equal to 15 percent of the valid ballots cast in the last commission election.

Glenn said organizers’ goal is to collect 2,500 to 3,000 signatures.

If petitioners are successful, Robinson said the charter requires the City Commission to either rescind its ordinance adoption or put the measure on the ballot for voters to decide. A regular election date could come as early as May.

According to Glenn, outcomes have been mixed in other Michigan cities that have had referendum elections on similar gay-rights measures.

Most recently, he said Hamtramck voters defeated an ordinance there by a 55- to 45-percent margin Nov. 6. Glenn said a combination of Catholic and Muslim churches rallied major opposition to Hamtramck’s gay-rights ordinance.

Glenn declined to identify where petitions are available for persons wishing to sign or churches that are participating in circulating them.

Kalamazoo voters have supported two previous gay-rights election issues. In 2001, city voters rejected a proposal which would have blocked the passage of municipal laws to protect gay rights and ban the city’s offer of same-sex benefits to employees.

And in 2004, while voters statewide passed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Michigan, the majority of Kalamazoo voters opposed it.

Contact Kathy Jessup at kjessup@kalamazoogazette.com or 388-8590.

Written by kickingalion

December 12, 2008 at 11:04 pm

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Advocates urge council to pass anti-discrimination law

Measure would apply to employment, housing

By Connie McKinney

BINGHAMTON — Miller Hoffman knows what it’s like to be hassled for being a transgender person.

“Discrimination against transgender people is part of our daily lives,” she told Binghamton city council on Monday night.

The Binghamton resident was one of 11 people who spoke in favor of a local law that would make it illegal to discriminate against transgender individuals. The proposed law would also protect against discrimination because of height and/or weight as well as age, race, religion, national origin and sexual orientation.

The proposed law would apply to employment, housing and public accommodations. Council members may vote on the proposal on Dec. 15.

Lin Hill, a transgender person and Binghamton University graduate student, praised the council for considering the law and said it’s needed to protect against discrimination.

A few people spoke in support of overweight people being protected, including Amanda Jones of Endicott. Overweight people are often yelled at on the street, she said.

“What does matter to people of all sizes is that they’re treated with dignity and respect,” she said.

Lawrence Parham asked the council to add formerly incarcerated people to the groups seeking protection against discrimination. He chairs a task force to help former inmates re-enter society.

Edward Crumb, a Binghamton attorney, was the only person who commented against the law. He said he supports the purpose of the law but was concerned about some “legal loopholes.” For example, the law doesn’t include educational institutions that are under the supervision of the state Regents, which would include Binghamton University and may include local schools.

Written by kickingalion

December 2, 2008 at 5:11 pm

soldier awarded $380K in discrimination case

(London) A lesbian soldier who was subjected to long-term harassment from a sergeant who wanted her to have sex with him has been awarded nearly $380,000 by a British employment tribunal.

The amount was half of what Lance Bombardier Kerry Fletcher, 32, had sought, but is still one of the biggest payouts imposed by a workers’ rights board.

 

Fletcher testified that after the military did nothing to stop the harassment when the man and his army friends attempted to destroy her career and health.

Her car was vandalized, she was belittled at work and she received threatening phone calls.

Text messages from the sergeant to the woman were entered into evidence.  In one he told her: “Look I might be able to convert you. You don’t know what you are missing.”

Her tormentor denied he had discriminated against her, claiming he was only legitimately enforcing discipline. The Ministry of Defense denied it had swept Fletcher’s complaints under the carpet.

Nevertheless, the tribunal ruled in January that Fletcher had been the victim of “direct sex discrimination and harassment,” allowing her claim for monetary damages to move forward.

Fletcher, an accomplished horsewoman and 10-year career soldier, took part in the Trooping the Color ceremony and served with distinction in Bosnia.

“She is a completely innocent person whose life has been destroyed by the Army because she was rash enough to stand up for herself,” her attorney John Mackenzie said.

After the tribunal made its initial finding, Fletcher quit the military. Mackenzie told the remedy hearing that his client’s position within the Royal Artillery became “untenable” after she won her case against the Ministry of Defense.

Even though the MoD has apologized to Fletcher, “The claimant felt unable to continue to serve within the Royal Artillery because she felt she would continue to be victimized and discriminated against,” Mackenzie told the tribunal.

“The immediate consequence of the act of discrimination is that the claimant’s career in the Royal Artillery has collapsed and it’s the respondent’s conduct that has caused this collapse.”

The British military ended its ban on gays and lesbians serving in the armed forces in 2000.

–Courtesy 365Gay

Written by kickingalion

December 2, 2008 at 5:06 pm

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China pledges to fight AIDS discrimination

Chinese health authorities and the U.N. AIDS agency pledged to fight discrimination against people with the disease in China with the unveiling Sunday of a massive red ribbon, the symbol of AIDS awareness, at the Olympic Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing.

Organizers said the fear of being stigmatized at work or in their communities is discouraging many people at risk of HIV infection from being tested. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

After years of denying that AIDS was a problem, Chinese leaders have shifted gears in recent years, confronting the disease more openly and promising anonymous testing, free treatment for the poor and a ban on discrimination against people with the virus.

State television Sunday showed Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visiting a village hit particularly hard by AIDS in eastern China’s Anhui province. Wen, who makes such annual visits to mark World AIDS Day, observed Monday, held hands with children orphaned by AIDS and spoke to patients in beds.

The topic, however, still remains very sensitive and authorities regularly crack down on activists and patients seeking more support and rights.

“About half of all Chinese would not want to share a meal with a person with HIV/AIDS, and a quarter would not want to shake hands,” said Dr. Bernhard Schwartlander, country coordinator of UNAIDS in China. “People will not come forward to be tested. They won’t benefit from treatment. They won’t talk to their partners and colleagues about HIV/AIDS — putting themselves and others potentially at risk for HIV.”

Schwartlander was speaking at the Bird’s Nest stadium, a main Olympic venue, during the unveiling of a 66-foot by 50-foot (20-meter by 15-meter) banner on which the red AIDS awareness ribbon was printed.

“Stigma and discrimination are major obstacles in an effective response to AIDS. We need to engage all sectors of society in China to combat these issues and work together to stop the disease,” said Minister of Health Chen Zhu. He did not specify any steps they would take.

Official estimates put the number of people living with HIV in China at about 700,000, with around 85,000 people with full-blown AIDS, UNAIDS said in a statement. But the number of officially reported HIV cases remains only 264,302 — far lower than the estimated total, in part because of reluctance to seek testing.

–Associated Press

Written by kickingalion

November 30, 2008 at 4:13 pm

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