by April Hawkins, Out & Equal Senior Communications Associate | President Obama’s State of the Union address was laden with messages of hope and advancement for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. In the first few minutes of his speech, he clearly stated:
It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.
President Obama committed to ensuring “equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families – gay and straight.” He specifically mentioned the forward motion of equality and called for Congress to pass the Violence Against Women Act. His words are evidence of an increasingly favorable climate for workplace reforms and set the stage for an executive order on federal contractors and add to momentum for an Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
“President Obama has been an outstanding ally to the LGBT community, and we thank him for his commitment. I hope that he will move forward on an Employment Non-Discrimination Act to protect all Americans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Out & Equal Founding Executive Director Selisse Berry. “In 29 states, anyone can be fired simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. An all-inclusive ENDA would be a true forward motion of equality in the workplace, providing all Americans with legal protections from workplace harassment and discrimination.”
Liberté and Egalité?
Marriage Equality in France
2013 may be an outstanding year for marriage equality and adoption rights in France. The Assemblé National, France’s national assembly, approved a bill to legalize marriage equality and allow same-sex adoptions. The French Sénat will review the bill on April 2nd.
If the law passes the Sénat, it will be a monumental victory for equality in France. Until now, same-sex couples have been able to receive limited benefits under the French equivalent of civil unions. However, same-sex adoptions are nearly impossible. In fact, in 2007, France’s highest civil court, the Cour de Cassation, barred a woman from adopting her partner’s child.
Polls show that a majority of French voters support marriage equality.