The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has consistently been a leader in advancing Equality for Lesbian, Gay , Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people nationwide.
Founded in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), has been a historic American Civil Rights organization for nearly 100 years. The ACLU does not represent a particular group of people, instead works to uphold the laws and principles of our Constitution at the Federal, State, Municipal, and individual level (ACLU, 2015).
The ACLU has half a million members and affiliates in all 50 states. They take on 5,000 legal cases a year and represent more LGBT people in legal cases than any other group nationwide. In the recent Supreme Court LGBT Marriage Equality Victory, the ACLU represented three of four plaintiffs involved. The ACLU provided council in Obergefell vs. Hodges, DeBoer vs. Snyder, and Bourke vs. Beshear (ACLU, 2015).
In addition, the ACLU represented Edie Windor in 2013 at the Supreme Court winning Marriage Equality in the State of New York and overturning Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that regulated LGBT marriage at the Federal Level (ACLU, 2015).
The ACLU provided legal services that helped to end segregation in public schools and bans on interracial marriage with Loving vs. Virginia in 1964.
This solid, well respected reputation and history is what makes the ACLU unique and important to LGBT Equality. The ACLU began representing LGBT people in 1986. It began recognition that LGBT rights are not only “LGBT rights” but significant as American Civil Rights (ACLU, 2015).
LGBT people and LGBT Civil Rights do no exist in a bubble without context to the other American Civil Rights issues. The Stonewall Riots that occurred in New York in 1969 were in the recognized civil rights era and are credited as the beginning of the modern LGBT equality movement.
Inclusion and recognition is the struggle. While other issues have been amended, numerous federal laws like DOMA and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell have been top political issues for the past 50 years.
Currently, the ACLU has launched a nationwide campaign for LGBT civil rights. While the Supreme Court ruled LGBT can get married in all 50 states many states are fighting. Texas is allowing state employees to deny marriage licenses based on their religious beliefs even though they are working in an official government position not a religious position (ACLU, 2015).
In addition, LGBT are not protected under any federal civil rights laws and 28 states will not pass state protection; marriage is often the only set of rights protected. As a result, LGBT face serious backlash to marrying the person they love. In 28 states an LGBT person can be fired, evicted denied medical treatment, and public accommodations.
Along with other national groups, the ACLU is supporting the proposed Equality Act (2015, D- Merkley – Oregon). This Federal Legislation provides the necessary federal protection. While it is a promising bill similar bills have been proposed for the past 41 years (Equality Act, 2015).
Last year the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), providing similar legal protection, passed the U.S. Senate but was blocked from a Congressional vote by Speaker of the House John Boehner. That was a Democratic Senate, now Senate is Republican and John Boehner is still speaker of the House, so the Equality Act faces many challenges and needs support to become law (ENDA, 2015).
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). (2015). Wikipedia.com. Google.com
The Equality Act. (2015). Wikipedia.com. Google.com
Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA). (2015). Wikipedia.com. Google.com
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Canvasser Rap. (2015). Grassroots Campaigns.