UPDATE: Standing up for the freedom to marry, access to healthcare, and immigration equality

UPDATE: Frances and Takako and Tim and Edwin are among five plaintiff couples suing the federal government in a new challenge to the federal-recognition component of the Defense of Marriage Act, filed by Immigration Equality and the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Executive Director Rachel Tiven:

The families in today’s lawsuit meet every qualification for immigration benefits, with the sole exception that they happen to be lesbian or gay. Solely because of their sexual orientation, they have been singled out, under federal law, for discrimination and separation. That’s not only unconscionable; it is unconstitutional. We know DOMA cannot withstand careful review, and we know we will prevail on their behalf.

Fight for immigration equality extends to the customs line

In other immigration news, US Customs and Border Protection is working to eliminate the discrimination faced by LGBT couples and families who currently aren’t recognized when they go through the customs line.

When you get a customs form, it clearly states, “only ONE written declaration per family is required.” An opposite-sex couple or a family led by an opposite-sex couple only has to fill out that single form. But if a same-sex couple or LGBT-led family goes through the line, they’re stopped, separated, and forced to fill out two forms.

Standing up for the freedom to marry, access to healthcare, and immigration equality

Bullying, harassment, and hate crimes – got data?

In an effort to ensure equal opportunity, the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection surveys schools nationwide on a range of topics including staffing and finance; college and career readiness; and discipline. The most recent survey, for the 2009-2010 school year, asked about bullying and harassment for the first time in its 44-year history. The American Association of University Women analyzed the data on sex-based bullying and harassment.

UPDATE: Minnesota fighting the voting rights battle on multiple fronts

UPDATE: After more than 9 hours of floor debate, at just after 2 am yesterday, the Minnesota House passed its version of the voter ID constitutional amendment (HF 2738), sponsored by ALEC State Chairwoman Mary Kiffmeyer. The Senate moved on its version earlier this month, and now a floor vote appears imminent. Once both chambers agree, rules state that the question will bypass Governor Mark Dayton and go to the voters in November.

“Gut and go” used to move up proof of citizenship in Kansas

In 2011, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback sign into law HB 2067. Sponsored by Representative Lance Kinzer (an ALEC member), this law contained requirements for ID when voting and proof of citizenship when registering. While the effective date for ID was set at January 1, 2012, it was delayed a year and set at January 1, 2013 for citizenship.

Ryan budget further exposes hypocrisy of the war on women

“There is no way for ‘experts’ in Washington to know more about the health care needs of individual Americans than those individuals and their doctors know.”

Sometimes the Right’s hypocrisy is just that clear.

Restrictive voter ID laws may impact trans people

Last October, PFAW Foundation released The Right to Vote under Attack: The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box as part of its Right Wing Watch: In Focus series.

This report reveals just how the far the Right Wing is willing to go to win elections. Eroding the achievements of the Civil Rights movement by disenfranchising voters is abhorrent. All Americans have a fundamental right to vote, and we need to be vigilant to make sure that ever eligible voter is ready and able to vote on Election Day.

Voting rights should cut across lines of wealth and poverty, race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and disability. Also gender identity. Yet transgender people may face their own challenges at the ballot box. National Center for Transgender Equality:

Voter suppression’s on the menu in Michigan

Last month we reported on the citizenship question that came up during Michigan’s primary. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for voter suppression in the Great Lakes State.

UPDATE: DOJ and Houston senator take a stand for voting rights, against ID law

UPDATE: Texas has responded to last week’s DOJ ruling against the Texas voter ID law. Attorney General Greg Abbott has amended the state’s complaint in pending litigation to not just defend the law but to also add a direct challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, saying, “For the Department of Justice to now contend that Texas cannot implement its voter ID law denies Texas the ability to do what other states can rightfully exercise under the Constitution.” Austin American-Statesman reporting. US Senator John Cornyn also hit back at DOJ, saying, “The Justice Department's refusal to preclear this change in Texas law by the Texas Legislature is simply inexcusable.” As you can see below, the data just doesn’t back up their political claims. Texas is not subject to VRA preclearance without cause. In all locations, but especially where there are histories of discrimination, we must remain vigilant when voting law changes are made and bear out the review process.