Despite improved federal laws, discrimination continues to be a problem for LGBTQ people across the country. Nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ Americans report having experienced discrimination in their everyday lives. In 30 states, LGBTQ people are at risk of being fired, refused housing, denied a home loan, or being turned away from a business simply because of who they are.
The Equality Act would provide consistent federal non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in all aspects of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, federally funded programs, public spaces, and jury service. It would amend current civil right laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community and strengthen non-discrimination protections for women and other minorities.
Urge Congress to pass the Equality Act by sending your representatives our pre-written letter. Click here to get started.
Trans Military Ban
On March 19, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington, DC ruled that the federal government cannot implement the policy to ban transgender service members and that her ruling would remain in effect at least until March 29th.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced the House would take a vote on Thursday, March 28 on a resolution against President Trump’s transgender military ban. The ban is set to take effect on April 12.
“This is another blatant attack on what ultimately makes our military the strongest in the world. Serving our country has nothing to do with race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity; and everything to do with believing in our Constitution, the one thing that makes us all uniquely American,“ said Lora Tucker, CEO of CenterLink.
70 percent of the American public believe transgender people should be able to serve in the U.S. military, and the American Medical Association has stated there is no medical evidence to support barring transgender personnel. Transgender care cost the military less than 1 percent of its health budget since 2016.
Lessening Impediments from Taxes for Charities Act
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created two new sections of the tax code that will increase taxes on nonprofit organizations. These provisions will force nonprofit organizations to pay a 21 percent federal tax on the cost of employee transportation benefits, including transit and parking; and to calculate unrelated income streams in a way that increases tax burden.
These provisions divert already scarce resources from LGBTQ community center budgets and will make hiring and retaining qualified employees more difficult.
Contact your representatives and ask them to support The Lessening Impediments from Taxes (LIFT) for Charities Act, which is bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would prevent nonprofits from paying federal tax on the cost of employee transportation benefits.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
On May 18th, legislation that included harmful changes and deep cuts to SNAP was rejected. However, the administration has since proposed a rule that would time-limit food benefits for unemployed and underemployed people who can’t document sufficient weekly work hours. Under the rule, these recipients would only be able to receive three months of benefits every three years because states would have far less flexibility to waive the time limits for areas with limited employment opportunities. Anti-hunger advocates estimate the rule would cause 755,000 to lose benefits.
Lack of access to employment and other social protections makes LGBTQ Americans hungrier than nearly any other demographic group. Tthe consequences are dire—food insecurity exacerbates many chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, worsens depression, and even leads to poorer health outcomes for individuals with HIV.
CenterLink and other advocacy groups are requesting you submit comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in opposition to the rule before the deadline of April 2.