FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2015
American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, District 11 today affirmed its support for, and endorsement of, the International Human Rights Defense Act introduced in the US Senate by Sponsor Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and in the US House by Co-Sponsor Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA).
The Act would create a special envoy of the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The Act was introduced in response to the fact that more than 80 nations on Earth have laws criminalizing homosexuality, prohibit public support for the LGBT community, or promote homophobia. In seven countries, homosexuality is punishable by death.
AFGE has long believed that protecting LGBT people from discrimination and persecution is a noble and worthwhile effort. Federal employees have long enjoyed the protections of the prohibition of discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity, in large part thanks to the response to the ground-breaking lawsuit brought by notable activist – and federal employee – Frank Kameny after he was terminated from his position of Astronomer in the 1960s. Since the 1970s the agencies of the Federal Government have been instituting policies and provisions to protect LGBT employees from discrimination and every collective bargaining agreement in every agency with employees represented by AFGE has provisions protecting LGBT workers from discrimination, harassment and unreasonable working conditions.
We salute the co-sponsors of this bill from District 11: Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Maria Cantwell (D-WA); Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jared Polis (D-CO) and Adam Smith (D-WA).
“Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,” from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
AFGE District 11 Leadership stands in solidarity with our LGBT brothers and sisters around the world and with their family, friends and neighbors who love and support them and face terrible persecution including the prohibition of finding gainful employment, accessing medical care, seeking justice and the very right to exist as a human being. We applaud Senator Markey and Congressman Lowenthal on their courage and conviction to stand for freedom for all people, the freedom from tyranny everywhere, and the right to exist for all people everywhere. Promoting freedom and equality for LGBT men and women further secures the freedom and equality of all persons everywhere.
AFGE District 11 represents federal employees in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Guam, Okinawa, Utah and Wyoming.
Press Release prepared by District 11 Pride Coordinator Travis Riggs and undersigned by District 11 National Vice President Gerald D. Swanke – District 11 National Women’s Advisory Coordinator Amanda Schroeder – District 11 Y.O.U.N.G. Representative Jennifer Green.
2015-02-07 Press Release.pdf