The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, May 15, 2009

ACLU Preserving the Constitution

On Tuesday night I was fortunate to be in the audience as Michael Macleod-Ball, the ACLU’s Chief Legislative and Policy Counsel in Washington, D.C, spoke here in Birmingham.

Here, Glynn Wilson at Locust Fork News Journal gives a good recap of the evening.

I wonder what Macleod-Ball thinks about Obama's reversal on releasing the torture photos. Or about the CIA lying to Nancy Pelosi about the use of waterboarding.

As a former Board member of the ACLU of Alabama I am always interested in what the group is doing to preserve our Constitution.

Here's a story out of Louisville, KY.

LOUISVILLE, KY – Nine months after an employee at a McDonald’s restaurant in downtown Louisville called a group of gay customers a series of anti-gay slurs, the American Civil Liberties Union announced today that McDonald’s has agreed to a cash settlement and diversity training for management at 30 of its Louisville-area restaurants.

Ryan Marlatt, Teddy Eggers, and three other friends had stopped for lunch at a McDonald’s restaurant on East Market Street on July 26, 2008 while visiting Louisville for the weekend. While they waited for their food to be prepared, an employee behind the counter referred to them as “faggots” to another employee. When Marlatt and Eggers objected to the slur and asked to speak with a manager, the employee who had called them “faggots” started arguing with them, repeatedly calling them “faggots” in front of other customers and calling one of them a “cocksucker” and “bitch.”

“The reason we made such a big deal out of this to begin with was because we didn’t want it happening to anyone else, so I’m very glad McDonald’s management is going to be having these trainings,” said Eggers of Indianapolis, Indiana. “We were hurt and upset, but at least we’re adults and can handle being called names. We hated thinking that this kind of harassment might also happen to someone young and vulnerable who would really take it to heart.”

The supervisor on duty refused to refund the group’s purchase, so Marlatt attempted several times in the following weeks to contact both the general manager of the McDonald’s and the corporate offices, with no results. Louisville law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, so the ACLU filed a complaint in September on behalf of Marlatt and Eggers with the Louisville Human Relations Commission. In October, representatives of a variety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups as well as other civil rights organizations protested at the downtown Louisville McDonald’s where the incident took place.

Read the entire story here .

The important thing is that Louisville law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. So the ACLU was able to file a complaint.

Maybe Birmingham, or even Bessemer, will one day understand that all of its citizens deserve respect and dignity and will enact such a law.

Watch this short video that explains why the Kentucky ACLU's LGBT program is so successful and why it can be a model for other states. If you are even remotely supportive of LGBT equality (or opposed) you should watch this video.

And to paraphrase someone who made a comment recently, equal rights, including the right to marry, are inevitable. Just as equality for people of color marched on, so will equality for LGBT people.

1 comment:

Karen Harper said...

Thanks for this excellent post. I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't know the ACLU had an LGBT program. I am a member of HRC but have let my ACLU membership lapse in recent years for no good reason.