A grassroots group of gay civil rights supporters in Park City, Utah has withdrawn its call for people to “call in gay” and to not spend money on December 10. Instead, the group asks individuals to support Equality Utah’s Common Ground Initiative.
PRLog (Press Release) – Dec 06, 2008 – Park City, Utah – A grassroots group of gay civil rights supporters in Park City, affiliated with JoinTheImpact.com, has withdrawn its call for people to “call in gay” and to not spend any money on December 10.
Instead, the group encourages Park City residents to raise awareness about civil rights denied to LGBT citizens by signing Equality Utah’s Common Ground Initiative petition and to encourage two co-workers to do the same. Performing service work during the day or evening of December 10 remains a part of the group’s plans. Details are on the groups Human Rights Day – Park City web page.
When asked why the group is withdrawing its call to take a day off work and not participate in the economy, organizer Mark Worthen of Park City said, “We listened to the arguments of business owners and others that taking any action that could hurt the local economy is not wise during what might be the worst recession since World War II. We came to agree with that position and we thank the individuals who communicated with us in a thoughtful and respectful manner.”
Worthen added, “We ask our opponents to listen to us with an open mind and to be willing to change their mind when presented with a persuasive argument. It would be hypocritical for us not to do the same.”
Background Information – Civil Rights Denied to LGBT People in Utah:
December 10 is International Human Rights Day. Thus, it is an appropriate day to raise awareness about the numerous civil rights denied to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals.
1. Gay couples are not eligible for family health insurance coverage, even if they have lived together in a committed relationship for years.
2. An employer can terminate the employment of a gay or transgender employee simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In other words, even if a transgender employee has an exemplary work record, he or she can be fired if the employer doesn’t like transgender people–no other reason need be given.
3. Similarly, a landlord can evict a tenant simply because he or she is gay or transgender.
Tenant: “I’ve been a good tenant for over five years. I always paid my rent on time and never had any complaints filed against me. Why are you evicting me?“
Landlord: “I’m evicting you because I recently learned that you are gay. I don’t like homosexuals so you have to leave and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
4. LGBT widows and widowers have no legal right to sue in cases of wrongful death or malpractice. For example, if one member of a lesbian couple is killed by a drunk driver, her partner cannot sue for wrongful death. A sibling or parent of the deceased could sue but the widow has no legal standing even if the couple had been together for twenty years.
5. LGBT citizens possess no inherent legal rights in the areas of inheritance, insurance coverage, and fair housing practices. Thus, for example, if a man loses his partner of 17 years to cancer, he has no inherent legal right to inherit any of his deceased partner’s assets. A nephew who never had a relationship with his uncle could inherit everything if the deceased did not have any other blood relatives. The widower would have to surrender his partner’s possessions to a stranger, even meaningful keepsakes from their lengthy relationship.
Many people who oppose civil rights for LGBT citizens, declare that a couple can hire an attorney to draft a will and develop an estate plan. That argument assumes that all couples have the financial resources and knowledge to hire an attorney for that purpose. That is not an assumption we make for heterosexual couples.
In the case of heterosexual couples, the law provides for a default position, as it were, in which spouses are assumed to be the proper recipient of a deceased’s estate and any relevant insurance policies. This ‘default position’ takes into consideration the fact that many heterosexual couples do not execute a will or an estate plan. The law assumes that it would not be fair or just to have a “free for all” competition for a deceased’s assets, with all relatives on equal footing with the spouse.
The same should be true for LGBT couples and can be established easily with a Domestic Partner Registry, which is one component of the Common Ground Initiative.