Most folks would be happy if their neighbors got evicted after three different “disorderly behavior” instances in less than three months. No one wants to deal with that much partying, dog barking, or loud music, right? But a “three strikes” disorderly behavior ordinance in Norristown, Pennsylvania, is now being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union of PA because instead of just evicting noisy nuisance neighbors, it is being used to evict innocent domestic violence victims for calling the police for help.
The ACLU filed this week on behalf of Lakisha Briggs, a domestic violence victim who called the police last year when her ex-boyfriend assaulted her; they arrived and arrested him. But police also told Briggs that if they kept returning to the residence over disorderly behavior calls, she would get evicted. Not surprisingly, Briggs was afraid to call the police regarding future incidents — including the time her ex-boyfriend attacked her with a brick — over fear that she and her three-year-old child would become homeless. And yet after a June 2012 attack from her ex-boyfriend that had Briggs airlifted to the hospital, police of Norristown threatened to evict them from their home because neighbors had called to complain. Keep reading »
A Mississippi judge ruled yesterday that Itawamba Agricultural High School violated a lesbian student’s rights by forbidding her from bringing her girlfriend to prom and wearing a tuxedo. Constance McMillen, 18, came out of the closet as gay in the 8th grade and asked school officials in December and February of this school year if she could bring her 16-year-old girlfriend to the April 2 prom. Itawamba not only said same-sex dates were not allowed, but a female student could not wear a tux. When the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi took up McMillen’s cause, the school just canceled prom entirely. Keep reading »
California just legalized gay marriage, but they might need to explicitly legalize gay slogan t-shirts too. Lapriss Gilbert, 31, was booted from the Social Security office in Van Nuys by a security guard who claimed he wasn’t allowed to let her in the government building because of her “Lesbian.com” t-shirt. Gilbert, who was simply there to pick up her son’s card, was threatened with arrest if she didn’t leave the premises. While Gilbert may have walked away quietly, she is speaking up for herself! “As an African-American and a lesbian, I haven’t been through one day without facing some sort of discrimination … but this is just shocking,” she told reporters. So, after the incident, she immediately did what any woman would do — she called her mom. Tanya Gilbert, a long time gay rights activist, got so upset by her daughter’s story, she immediately phoned in the LAPD on the “rent-a-cop” guard from the private company, Paragon, hired by Homeland Security. Luckily, before the four city police officers and a federal agent arrived, a fellow Paragon security guard saw the error of their ways and the officer escorted Lapriss Gilbert in. Even the ACLU is surprised — Peter Eliasberg, an attorney for the organization, said, “I haven’t seen this type of blatant discrimination in a federal office building before.” Guess that’s the good news. But the Gilberts are planning on filing a lawsuit against Paragon Security for their discrimination so this doesn’t ever happen again. [Daily News]
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Oh yes, it’s ladies night, but the feeling is not quite right — the actual perk may be as outdated as the song. Being a woman has its advantages when it comes to getting into nightclubs, but are they fair? When we flip the tradition and examine the idea of just a “gentleman’s night,” the discrimination is glaringly obvious. Las Vegas resident Todd Phillips is sick of being a second-class citizen in his city just because of his gender. Taunted by a gym club billboard that offered free enrollment to women, Phillips felt penalized for his penis. So he decided to take action by filing a complaint with the National Equal Rights Commission. “When you have one price for men and one price for women, that’s clearly discrimination, clearly sex discrimination,” Phillips argues. And the man has a point! Sure, the gender equality feminists fought for protects us all, ensuring our rights to the same wages, respect, and opportunity. However, Phillips is finding out that the statewide statutes about bias based on sex or sexual orientation are more like policy suggestions than prosecutable orders. Even the ACLU isn’t sure he has a leg to stand on. But Phillips is a male trailblazer and promises to fight for his right to work out the same way women do — for free! After he takes the gym to court, he’s planning on going after the clubs on the Vegas strip like the MGM/Mirage for favoring ladies. [Las Vegas Now] Keep reading »
Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t think so! This week, the infamous military policy that allowed homosexuals to be discriminated against in the workplace didn’t stand up in court thanks to Maj. Margaret Witt. The decorated Air Force nurse, who had cared for combat victims for 18 years, was discharged in 2007 because higher-ups heard that she’s gay. Brave and clever, Maj. Witt decided to fight back and sue for her right to serve, and with the help of the ACLU, she won! Her case has now set a precedent wherein the government cannot fire at will when it comes to the sexual orientation of its employees. Like any other job, the military bosses will have to prove there is a real reason for canning any of their personnel. Hooray! We’re hoping this decision will also help The L Word’s sexy servicewoman Tasha keep her military post. We pity the fools who try to mess with any woman, let alone one who is a trained fighter. [MSNBC via World of Wonder]
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