Equality For All Americans

FACT: The survivors of the Orlando shooting could be fired from their job or kicked out of their apartment simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Throughout most of Florida, it is legal to fire someone or deny them access to housing or public accommodations because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

But it’s not just Florida.  In 32 states across the country, hardworking Americans can be fired from their jobs or denied housing simply because of who they are or who they love.  While in many places it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the LGBT community is currently left out of nationwide and many statewide non-discrimination protections.

At the federal level, the Equality Act would establish explicit, permanent protections against discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity in matters of employment, housing, access to public places, federal funding, credit, education and jury service. In addition, it would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in federal funding and access to public places.  The Equality Act is supported by over 70% of all Americans as well as major corporations like Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, Facebook, and others.

But we also need to lay the groundwork in the 33 states that don’t have clear, fully inclusive non-discrimination laws for all LGBT Americans.

We can no longer wait.  The time has come for us to speak out, stand up, and act up.  We can do this.  LGBT and straight – you can help!

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Contact your US Senator and Congressperson and tell them to support the Equality Act.  Even if they already support the Equality Act, it never hurts to remind them of why we need their support! Simply click the link here (contactingthecongress.org) to find out who represents you in Congress.  Type in your address; you’ll be given the phone number and web contact page for both of your senators and your representative in the House.  Below are some sample scripts that you can use when you email or call these men and women.  Make sure to ask for a response!
  2. If you live in one of the states below, contact your state legislators and urge them to support legislation extending full non-discrimination protections to the ENTIRE LGBT community where you live.  Find your state below and follow the links (some states have separate links for House and Senate; for other states you will need to find your legislative district first).  Alternatively, you can use OpenStates.org to find your state legislators.  Some states have automatic forms you can fill out while others will only provide a phone number or email address.  Below are additional sample scripts you can use when you call or email these men and women.  Once again, make sure to ask for a response!
  3. Support organizations like Lambda Legal (find them on Facebook & Twitter) or Freedom for All Americans (Pledge your support, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter).  And yes, if you feel so inclined – donate money.  While our voices were necessary to win marriage equality, it also took a lot of cold hard cash.  Remember, every little bit counts.
  4. Share this with your friends and family!

Here’s a form letter for emailing/writing your US Senators and Representative:

Dear ________________,

FACT: The survivors of the Orlando shooting could be fired from their job or kicked out of their apartment simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Throughout most of the United States, it is legal to fire someone or deny them access to housing or public accommodations because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).  This problem comes up over and over again in the 33 states that don’t have clear, fully inclusive LGBT non-discrimination laws.

Therefore, I am writing to urge you to support the Equality Act to extend clear and fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections to all LGBT Americans.  The current patchwork of local and state laws leaves millions of Americans subject to uncertainty and potential discrimination that impacts their safety, their family, and their livelihood.

The Equality Act is supported by over 70% of all Americans as well as major corporations like Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, Facebook, and others.

It’s time to end discrimination in our country. Thank you for doing what is right for the people of [your state] and the United States.

Thank you,
[Your Name]

Want to call your Senators or Representative?  Great! Try this sample message!

Hello, my name is __________, and I’m calling today from __(city)__ to urge Senator/Representative __________ to support the Equality Act to extend clear and fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections to all LGBT Americans.  The current patchwork of local and state laws leaves millions of Americans subject to uncertainty and potential discrimination that impacts their safety, their family, and their livelihood.

The Equality Act is supported by over 70% of all Americans as well as major corporations like Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, Monsanto, and others.

It’s time to end discrimination in our country. Thank you for doing what is right for the people of [your state] and the United States.

Is your state on the list?

Alabama; Alaska – Click here to find your legislative district and your legislator, then click here to find contact information, ; Arizona – Click here to locate your legislative district and then click here to find your Senate and House legislators; Arkansas; Florida – click here for the House and click here for the Senate; Georgia; Idaho – Click here to locate your legislative district then click here to find contact information; Indiana; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Michigan – Click here for the House and click here for the Senate; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; New Hampshire – Click here for the House and click here for the Senate; New York – Click here for the State Assembly and click here for the Senate; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio – first look up your full zip code; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming.

Try out this sample letter for contacting your state legislators.

Dear ________________,

Did you know that the survivors of the Orlando shooting could be fired from their job or kicked out of their apartment simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?  It is currently legal in Florida to fire someone or deny them access to housing or public accommodations because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

This can happen in our state as well.  The laws in our state do not currently contain clear, fully inclusive non-discrimination protections for all LGBT Americans, leaving thousands of Americans in our state subject to uncertainty and potential discrimination that impacts their safety, their family, and their livelihood.

Therefore, I am writing to urge you to support legislation that would extend non-discrimination protections to all LGBT Americans in [your state].

It’s time to end discrimination in our state. Thank you for doing what is right for the people of [your state].

Thank you,
[Your Name]

Or if you would rather call, try out this sample message for contacting your state legislators.

Hello, my name is __________, and I’m calling today from __(city)__ to urge Senator/Representative __________ to support legislation extending clear and fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections to all LGBT Americans in [your state].

Did you know that the survivors of the Orlando shooting could be fired from their job or kicked out of their apartment simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?  This could happen in our state as well.  The laws in [your state] do not currently contain clear and fully inclusive non-discrimination protections for all LGBT Americans, leaving thousands of Americans in our state subject to uncertainty and potential discrimination that impacts their safety, their family, and their livelihood.

It’s time to end discrimination in our state. Thank you for doing what is right for the people of [your state].

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First 2016 Presidential Debate

To say that tonight’s debate between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump is highly anticipated is an understatement.  After all, there are predictions this may be one of the most watched debates in recent memory.  And let’s be honest – no matter which candidate you support (or if you support neither and are just watching to see the inevitable fireworks) – you’re going to need some booze to get you through the evening.

There are a ton of drinking games out there for tonight’s debacle.  The one below is from BroBible – and yes, it hurts me to post something from a site called “BroBible” – and of all the ones out there, it seems the most benign.  Personally, I think we should probably throw in a couple of extras like if either candidate mentions Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.  Perhaps throw back a shot of Antonin Scalia’s name comes up or any mention of Supreme Court nominees.  That said, even following the game below is likely to cause severe alcohol poisoning.  You’ve been warned.

be-genuine-6

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Case of the Mondays?

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work it out 

this one is spot on – love the awkward yeti!

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Health insurance rates by state

The uninsured rate in the US dropped to its lowest level ever last year – 9.1% to be exact.  But that drop in the uninsured rate hasn’t been equally felt across the country, and data recently released from the Census Bureau shows us why and a potential obvious solution to decreasing that rate even more.

When the Affordable Care Act was passed, it originally called for an expansion of Medicaid eligibility to all people who make up to 138% of the poverty level; however, the Supreme Court ruled that the forcing states to comply with the Medicaid expansion amounted to coercion – which is unconstitutional – and allowed the states to opt out.  To date, 31 states have chosen to expand eligibility, most recently Louisiana.  But that leaves 19 states that haven’t expanded, leaving a “coverage gap” in the 19 states where poor people are not eligible for Medicaid or for receiving subsidies for private health insurance available on the insurance exchanges.

It comes as no surprise then that, on average, the uninsured rate in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid is higher than in those that have.  You can see the rates by state below, clearly demonstrating non-expansion states like Texas and Florida with higher uninsured rates.

So where you live really does matter when it comes to insuring your health.

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shh… not yet…

If you come at me before I’ve had my morning coffee on a Monday…

i-just-reported-you-to-hr-for-trying-to-start-a-conversation-with-me-on-a-monday-4Mm

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Work friends

Everyone needs that one work friend they can procrastinate with!

i-enjoy-talking-to-you-when-the-only-alternative-is-going-back-to-work-63l

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overheard

I mean – where was your inner monologue saying ‘don’t want to look like a raccoon today’?

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