LGBTQ Alabamians hold Equality Lobby Day at Statehouse - Montgomery Alabama news.

LGBTQ Alabamians hold Equality Lobby Day at Statehouse

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

HRC Alabama and Equality Alabama are holding an Equality Lobby Day at the Alabama Statehouse Wednesday.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Alabamians from across the state arrived in Montgomery at around 9 a.m. to begin registration and to learn how to lobby their elected officials.

Eva Kendrick, HRC's Alabama state manager, Rep. Merika Coleman (D-Birmingham) and Rep. Patricia Todd (D- Birmingham), Alabama's only openly gay elected official, are all participating in the event.

One bill they support - the Alabama Workers are Valued act, would protect state employees from being fired just for being LGBTQ.

"We do want to send a resounding message across the state of Alabama that we do not want to discriminate against anyone in the state of Alabama when it doesn't have anything to do with their job performance," Coleman said. 

But a bill they are not supporting is SB 145, the Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act, something they say will actually lead to more exclusion despite its name.

The bill would "prohibit the state from discriminating against child placing agencies on the basis that the provider declines to provide a child placement that conflicts with the religious beliefs of the provider."

LGBTQ advocates see that in a different way.

"This bill would allow an agency to look at a grandmother, for instance, that identifies as a lesbian and meets all other requirements and say 'we're not going to place that child with their grandmother because of our religious beliefs' and instead place that child outside of the home," said Kendrick.

In 2014, HRC launched Project One America, an initiative geared toward advancing social, institutional and legal equality for gays and lesbians in Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

Currently, there are no state-level protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations for LGBTQ Alabamians, something HRC Alabama is working to change.

With a new, conservative administration in The White House, they say local and state equality laws are more important than ever.

"Last year, our federal forecast looked like we would get an equality act which would have added sexual orientation and gender identity expression to the civil rights act of 1964. That is not going to happen under this new administration," Kendrick said. "When the federal government kicks down these issues to the state, we need to be prepared to move in the right way."

the Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act passed a senate committee Wednesday. A similar bill has already passed a house committee as well. 2 similar bills have failed to pass though in the last 2 general sessions.

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