Plea for equality

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The following is part of a letter signed by 19 Dane County supervisors and sent to President Obama and the members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation:

We respectfully request your immediate support for a set of federal civil rights measures that would help ensure equal rights for all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation.

Dane County is home to  many citizens who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and others who are not represented in policies designed to benefit the heterosexual majority. Our society actively and passively supports and maintains policies that discriminate against sexual minorities, including in the areas of employment, immigration, marriage rights and military service.

The United States Constitution says “no state … shall deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” We therefore respectfully ask that you take action on the following items:

· Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has been introduced repeatedly over a period of years in order to ban job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at the federal level. In many places in the United States it is still legal to discriminate against an employee based on her or his sexual orientation.

· Pass the Uniting American Families Act, which would end discrimination against same-sex couples in which one partner is a U.S. citizen and the other from another county. They deserve the same rights and legal status as other Americans.

· Repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which specifically discriminates against people of the same gender, their relationships and their families, despite significant and growing public sentiment against such a prohibition.

· End the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that allows many hidden, unacknowledged lesbian, gay and other sexual minority members of the military to continue to serve their country and make sacrifices similar to their heterosexual counterparts without the same rights and benefits.

Please take action in 2010 to end discrimination.

Dane County Supervisors