Olympics and Beyond

Undeniably, 2013 was a landmark year for LGBT rights in the United States, yet as we celebrate the many victories at home for LGBT citizens, other countries are not faring as well. And as the world comes together on the Olympic stage, all eyes are on Russia, which is currently undergoing a homophobic renaissance under President Vladimir Putin’s ban on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”

PhillyGayLawyer in Legal Intelligencer: Reflecting on Victories and Losses for LGBT Rights in 2013

Will 2014 be the year when opponents of progress will finally stand alone on the wrong side of history? The forecast looks cloudy, at best. But as I look back at 2013—the battles we’ve won and the battles we’ve lost—I see tremendous potential for advances in LGBT equality in the New Year.

It is always difficult to quantify progress in struggles for increased basic human rights. Looking at 2013 cumulatively, though, there is no doubt that the United States is picking up momentum and moving toward LGBT equality faster than ever.

One issue in which Phila. is on top with flying colors: LGBT equality

By Angela D. Giampolo

When I wrote an article in the Philadelphia Business Journal last year on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) annual Municipality Equality Index (MEI), I had no idea it would become the first in a series. And yet, here we are after this year’s publication on Nov. 19 celebrating that Philadelphia has once again come out on top with higher than perfect score, 113, and New Hope has almost doubled its score and tallied 89 points. But what does this all mean?

Employment Non-Discrimination Act: Is it ENDA or SPLENDA?

By Angela D. Giampolo Original Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/blog/guest-comment/2013/11/employment-non-discrimination-act-is.html On Nov. 7, more than 60 Senators — the number required to avoid filibuster — voted to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), breathing life into a bill that has equality advocates ecstatic about what positive implications it will have for the LGBT community. Read more…

PhillyGayLawyer in Legal Intelligencer: Pa. Rep. Proposes Ban on State Gay-Conversion Therapies

State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, announced his intention to introduce legislation this term that would effectively ban all gay-reparative or conversion therapies in the state of Pennsylvania. Collectively, such therapies are known as sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE). The Protection of Minors From Sexual Orientation Change Counseling Act, or SB 872, sponsored by Sims and Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, states, “A mental health professional shall not engage in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual under 18 years of age.” If passed, this legislation could end the litany of medical, psychological and spiritual mistreatments that have done irreparable damage to generations of LGBT youth in Pennsylvania.