Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Happy LGBT Month

The month of June is the celebration of National LGBT Month. Hundreds of celebrations will be happening around the country. This month highlights equal rights and the LGBT and their allies are able to show support of rights for the LGBT community. The U.S. Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in a federal landmark case, Obergefell_v._Hodges. This case involves recognition by the state of Ohio of same-sex marriage validity established in other jurisdictions. If you are not familiar with this case, it previously was Obergefell v. Himes, Obergefell v. Wymyslo and Obergefell v. Kasich.

It is a federal court challenge filed July 19, 2013, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, by James Obergefell and John Arthur, a same-sex couple alleging that the state discriminates against same-sex couples who have married lawfully out-of-state. Arthur, who was terminally ill sought to identify Obergefell as his surviving spouse on his death certificate based on their July 11, 2013 marriage on a tarmac at a Maryland airport.  The couple was granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting state officials from listing Arthur as unmarried on his death certificate, in the event he died before the court could consider the case. Arthur died on October 22, 2013.

National Coming Out Day (October 11), as well as the first “March on Washington” in 1979, are commemorated in the LGBT community during LGBT Month.

Some LGBT people remain closeted, or partially so, on the job. They fear a potential hostile work environment or the possibility of being devalued or losing their job. Even though employment protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity varies by state to state, many companies have adopted their own protection polices based on company culture. The LGBT community faces discrimination as other groups and thus is socially and economically disadvantaged.

The LGBT community consists of our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins. Understanding the importance of equality, fairness, acceptance and mutual respect is essential and it threatens the rights and freedoms of every single American. Discrimination of any kind is totally unacceptable. It is those inalienable and equitable rights that we struggle to defend, not only in this country, but also around the world.

Joseph Conrod Sr. SPHR

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