Advocacy is a big part of the work that PFLAG members and supporters do, working to achieve LGBTQ equality through changing not only hearts and minds, but laws. We work at the community level, at the city and state level, and at the federal level to affect change so that people who are LGBTQ are safe from workplace discrimination, have the health care that they need, are safe in their homes and schools, and much, much more.
At the left and below is a list of many of the issues on which we advocate; simply click on a link and you will be taken to a page to learn more about the particular legislation addressing the subject matter, offering background information on the issues, why and how they impact our families, and what PFLAG is doing to address them from a policy perspective.
Marriage Equality Update:
On June 26th, 2015 the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled, and same-sex marriage is now officially legal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories. PFLAG National has been working for years at the forefront of the movement for marriage equality, and we are thrilled that it is finally here! PFLAG National has filed numerous briefs amici on behalf of all PFLAG members, sharing family voices to amplify our message: that PFLAG's values are America's values, love is love, family is family, and marriage is marriage. Through our legal arguments and these firsthand, heartfelt accounts by parents, grandparents, siblings, and couples and their children, PFLAGers have demonstrated that marriage laws previous to the SCOTUS ruling were discriminatory against people who are in same-sex couples by relegating their relationships to inferior status, and repudiating the legal argument that same-sex couples joining in marriage pose risks for the institution of marriage and threaten children. (Additionally, we have filed briefs amici on the dangerous practice of so-called "reparative or conversion therapy").
Following is a list of the briefs we have participated in:
PFLAGers know that one voice can change the world, and often have the honor of witnessing that change one heart, one mind at a time. The power of these many voices woven together tell a compelling and beautiful story of love, family, affirmation, and equality for all that is not only changing lives; they are changing laws all over this country.
The Equality Act
This bill was introduced in the House as H.R. 3185 by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI-01) and in the Senate as S 1858 by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on July 23, 2015. As of publication, the House version has 165 bipartisan cosponsors and the Senate version has 39 cosponsors.
This long-overdue bill is a comprehensive federal bill for LGBTQ civil rights, providing essential, critical protections and resetting the debate. Rather than creating a bill calling for new rights, The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal laws, existing solely to have LGBTQ people treated the same as every other protected class under federal law, while strengthening the law for all who are currently protected. People who are LGBTQ currently lack equal protections regarding employment, public services and spaces, public education, fair housing, credit, and access to jury service. This bill would amend the Civil Rights Act to provide these needed protections. PFLAG National and its many chapters will be at the forefront of the work to pass this critical piece of federal legislation.
Trans Inclusion at the Federal Level
Since January and ongoingly, the transgender community has gained a variety of widespread federal protections. PFLAG National has been front and center in meetings and policy drafting with departments across the Administration, and the results continue to emerge positively.Historically this year,President Obama became the first president to recognize transgender individuals in his State of the Union Address, saying the word “transgender.” In February HUD released a guidance to ensure equal access for transgender people in homeless shelters. In April the EEOC made clear that employers must provide workers access to restroom consistent with their gender identity, a decision backed up in June by guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The DOL Employment and Training Administration also issued a Training and Employment Guidance Letter in June to ensure that transgender workers and students have equal access to job programs funded by DOL. In May, HHS issued a guidance telling insurers that they may not restrict preventative services for transgender people, while a federal court confirmed in March that the Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination against transgender people by any healthcare provider accepting federal funds. Also in June, PFLAG National was on the keynote panel at HHS Pride which was live and globally webcast and participated in USAID and Department of State Pride, each focusing on transgender inclusion. Most recently, in June the ICE of the Department of Homeland Security releasednew guidanceenforcing a “respectful, safe and secure environment” for transgender people in immigration detention. The multi-year preparation to launch the Local Law Enforcement training about transgender people by DOJ with PFLAG National is getting its final touches and will roll out nationally soon.
Bans on So-Called “Conversion Therapy”
PFLAG National officially endorsed and participated directly in the legislative, community, and media launch in efforts to create legislation opposing so-called conversion therapy in the U.S. House and in the Administration, and the progress is palpable. In April, the White House formally announced its support of bans on so-called “conversion therapy” following years of PFLAG-inclusive federal- and state-led advocacy to end this harmful practice and after a nationwide petition. Legislatively, PFLAG National worked directly with Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA-14) who introduced a resolution requesting bans on conversion therapy, and with Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA-33) who introduced the first federal bill to prohibit advertising the practice to people of all ages under the Federal Trade Commission’s protection against consumer fraud. Work continues, and we advocate for an upcoming companion bill in the Senate.
At the state level, California, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois and DC have passed laws banning so-called “conversion therapy.” Other states such as Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, and Virginia had bills that would have banned so-called conversion therapy, but they were either voted down or died, while other states such as Arizona, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Minnesota, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Vermont have all introduced bans on conversion therapy which have yet to receive floor votes. States including Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Texas have seen a bit more action regarding their proposed statutes. PFLAG National supports these efforts to ban so-called conversion therapy. Most recently, in June, a New Jersey jury delivered a unanimous verdict that the NJ–based nonprofit Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) violated the state's consumer fraud protection laws by claiming it could "cure" clients of being LGBT.
Worldwide LGBT Rights
In Boston in December 2014, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) held a community town hall in his native state about prioritizing LGBTQI human rights globally at which PFLAG National was one of the invited and attending community speakers. Congress introduced a bill proposing the International Human Rights Defense Act (H.R.590, S.302) on Jan. 29th. The bill, spearheaded by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), would make protecting and promoting international LGBT rights a foreign policy priority. At publication, the Senate bill has 26 co-sponsors and the House bill has 58 co-sponsors.
Want to get involved? You can help advocate for fairness and move equality forward.
The Equality Act
Family Creation and Acceptance (Foster Care/Adoption)
Hate Crimes Prevention
One Voice Can Change the World: The PFLAG National Policy Guide and Advocacy Toolkit
Make it Count: The PFLAG National Get Out the Vote Pocket Guide
The PFLAG National Guide to the Dos and Don'ts of 501(c)(3) Policy Advocacy
Share Your Story
Find a PFLAG Chapter Near You
- See more at: https://community.pflag.org/getinspired#sthash.OSXYhNb6.dpuf