News You Should Know July 17

BTL Staff

KANSAS CITY, MO - Pastoral associate, Coleen Simon, informed her possible employer that she was married to her longtime same-sex partner before they hired her. But after being hired, Simon's LGBT status was "outed" in a Kansas City Star's 816 Magazine article showcasing her work with the St. Francis Xavier's food pantry. Shortly after the story ran, Simon was terminated from her job, with the diocese citing her marriage as the cause. On July 17, Simon filed a lawsuit in the Jackson County Circuit Court against the Kansas City Diocese.

FLORIDA - In partnership with Equality Florida, Southerners for the Freedom To Marry announced three new Florida mayors to join the list of now 35 mayors who support same-sex couples. The number has reached 450 nationwide; however, with the addition of Marni Sawicki of Cape Coral, Sam Henderson of Gulfport and Claire Schubert of Hillsboro Beach, Florida becomes the state with the most mayors for marriage equality. "Americans have come to understand that it is wrong to exclude loving, committed gay couples from marriage - and a stunning 57% of Floridians agree," Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry said. "Florida mayors are making the case that ending marriage discrimination is the right thing for America, for their communities, for business and the economy and for the tens of thousands of same-sex couples who call Florida home. Marriage strengthens families and communities, and it's time to end marriage discrimination in Florida, and in America, once and for all."

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A bipartisan bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives July 16 to fight discrimination of LGBT people worldwide. The International Human Rights Defense Act would direct the U.S. Department of State to make protecting LGBT people worldwide a foreign policy priority; the department would promote LGBT rights internationally and appoint a Special Envoy on the Human Rights of LGBT people. The Special Envoy would be responsible for coordinating the U.S. effort to defend international LGBT rights. The bill was first introduced in the Senate on June 3 of this year.

WASHINGTON, DC - Over 200 people from across the country were in Washington this week for the July 15 Transgender Lobby Day. Those in attendance took part in a daylong training consisting of workshops and round table discussions. The event was organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

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