Thanks to a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision issued earlier today, same-sex couples across the entire United States of America can now enjoy the same legal right to marry that heterosexual couples have long enjoyed. To put it mildly, this is a huge victory for love and equality in America.
However, in 32 states, some, if not all, LGBT workers, can legally be fired simply because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity:
- In 21 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming), all workers can be fired on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
- In 3 states (Arizona, Missouri, and Montana), state employees cannot be fired on the basis of sexual orientation, but state employees can be fired on the basis of gender identity, and private-sector workers can be fired on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
- In 5 states (Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio), state employees cannot be fired on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, but private-sector workers can be fired on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
- In 2 states (New Hampshire and Wisconsin), all workers cannot be fired on the basis of sexual orientation, but all workers can be fired on the basis of gender identity.
- In 1 state (New York), state employees cannot be fired on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and private-sector workers cannot be fired on the basis of sexual orientation, but private-sector workers can be fired on the basis of gender identity.
If the source I linked to above has inaccurate and/or outdated information, please leave a comment on this blog post with accurate information for a particular state.
While it is a huge victory for the LGBT movement to secure marriage equality in all 50 states, the fight for full equality for gays, lesbians, bisexual people, and transgender people is far from over. The next big fight in the LGBT rights movement should be to push for laws prohibiting public and private employers from firing people based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
This is a couple of days old, but I have great news to share:
The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday unanimously ruled unconstitutional a landmark state pension law that aimed to scale back government worker benefits to erase a massive $105 billion retirement system debt, sending lawmakers and the new governor back to the negotiating table to try to solve the pressing financial issue.
The ruling also reverberated at (Chicago) City Hall, imperiling a similar law (Chicago) Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed through to shore up two of the four city worker retirement funds and making it more difficult for him to find fixes for police, fire and teacher pension funds that are short billions of dollars.
At issue was a December 2013 state law signed by then-Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn that stopped automatic, compounded yearly cost-of-living increases for retirees, extended retirement ages for current state workers and limited the amount of salary used to calculate pension benefits.
The Illinois Supreme Court unanimously struck down the pension theft scheme despite Democratic Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan basically arguing that politicians don’t have to abide by the Illinois Constitution, which contains provisions protecting the pension benefits that our state’s public employees pay into one of several public employee pension systems, if there’s a significant pension shortfall. The Illinois Supreme Court, which has four Democrats and three Republicans, ruled unanimously that the provisions of Illinois Constitution pertaining to public employee pensions do, in fact, apply to politicians who try to screw over retirees.
Make no mistake about it, the fight against the Quinn-Rahm-Ranuer pension theft scheme is far from over.
FOX News blowhard Allen West, a far-right Republican lunatic from Florida who was voted out of Congress two years ago after repeatedly embarrassing himself and his constituents, has at least one person, Dan Emmett, at the Washington Post who wants him to be the next U.S. Secret Service Director should current Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resign:
(Julia) Pierson should be replaced and the next director should come from outside the Secret Service, with the deputy director remaining an agent. In this role, a true leader, not a bureaucrat, is needed. Someone like Florida congressman and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Allen West would be perfect for the role. West has successfully demonstrated that he possesses the leadership skills of a combat officer as well as managerial and diplomatic skills of a congressman, exactly the traits needed in the next director. Highly competent and beholden to no one in the Secret Service, he would be a superb director.
There are a boatload of reasons what that is an absolutely horrid idea.
You see, West would not be interested in protecting the President of the United States, the First Family, and other top federal officials and family members of top federal officials that the Secret Service is legally responsible for protecting, nor would he be interested in cracking down on counterfeiting of U.S. currency and other financial crimes that the Secret Service is supposed to be cracking down on. West, in the extremely unlikely event that President Obama were to appoint him Secret Service Director in the event that current Secret Service director Julia Pierson were to resign, would be more interested in using the office of Secret Service Director as a platform for political grandstanding and spewing far-right lunacy about President Obama, Democrats, progressives, and other political enemies of West.
Allen West would be a far bigger disaster than the current Secret Service leadership.