Montgomery County Council unanimously approves resolution condemning lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender discrimination
Councilmember Nancy Navarro led effort to suspend work-related
employee travel to Mississippi and North Carolina
ROCKVILLE, Md., April 26, 2016—The Montgomery County Council today unanimously approved a resolution to condemn lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) discrimination laws in Mississippi and North Carolina. The resolution also urges the County Executive to suspend official County travel to jurisdictions where these laws are in place. Councilmember Nancy Navarro, chair of the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee, was the lead sponsor of the resolution. All other Councilmembers were co-sponsors.
“Montgomery County’s strength comes from its diversity and progressive values,” said Councilmember Navarro. “That is why it is important for me to make sure that our tax dollars are not used in states that discriminate against individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Our County is known as a place that stands for equality and respect; therefore, we cannot support jurisdictions that have enacted laws that perpetuate hate, fear and bigotry.”
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the right to marry is a fundamental right that must be provided to same-sex couples in Obergefell v. Hodges. The legislative response in Mississippi and North Carolina was to enact laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Mississippi’s General Assembly passed a law, signed by Governor Phil Bryant, allowing individuals with religious objections to deny services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. A business owner or service provider who discriminates against a LGBT person would only need to profess a religious belief that “marriage is between a man and a woman, that sex is reserved for heterosexual marriage, or that gender is determined at birth as male or female” to deny service.
After the City of Charlotte adopted a non-discrimination ordinance allowing transgender people to use public restrooms in line with their gender identity, North Carolina’s General Assembly passed a law, signed by Governor Pat McCrory, eliminating nondiscrimination provisions for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals by city governments. In addition, the North Carolina law excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from the state’s anti-discrimination policy and prevents individuals from filing employment discrimination lawsuits in state courts.
In 2012, Maryland became the first jurisdiction in the country to legalize marriage quality through a statewide referendum. In addition, Montgomery County has a long history of supporting civil rights and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The County was one of the first jurisdictions in the nation to extend health and insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners and to require that County contractors extend those same benefits to their employees.
If the non-essential employee travel ban is instituted by the County Executive, Montgomery County would join Washington, D.C., and numerous other cities across the country that that have instituted similar employee travel bans for both Mississippi and North Carolina. Some examples include San Francisco, Cincinnati, Providence, New York and Tampa.
The Council resolution can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/hqkohc9 .
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Councilmember Navarro created the Department of Recreation’s Teen Escape Club program in 2010. Since then, the program has expanded to five sites throughout the County. This short video shows how far the program has come since it began, with a Teen Fashion Show at the East County Community Recreation Center.
WASHINGTON—Councilmember Navarro will join educators, community partners and legal aid providers at a congressional briefing today to urge members of Congress to act immediately to address the myriad of issues impacting unaccompanied children seeking refuge in the United States and to call for an immediate end to “rocket dockets” and deportations targeting unaccompanied children and other vulnerable individuals.
Speakers will urge members of Congress to act now to address this international humanitarian and refugee crisis in a way that puts the safety and well-being of children first, while seeking resolution to the root causes of the forced migration. Councilmember Navarro said that “the influx of children who have fled the violence in parts of Central America is creating a humanitarian crisis in local jurisdictions throughout the nation. Many children require medical attention, are victims of sexual abuse, and have experienced severe trauma. It is important for local governments to understand the scope of this issue in order to be prepared and respond to the needs of this vulnerable population of children.”
The briefing will focus on the impact the crisis is having in our communities and our public schools; the challenges experienced by unaccompanied children in the legal system; local government responses to recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security enforcement raids targeting immigrants from Central America; and the root causes of the migration from countries overrun by organized crime, violence, human trafficking, gangs, poverty and persecution.
In addition, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) will provide an update on the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act—a bill introduced by Lofgren and Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) and Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) late last month that would ensure access to counsel, legal orientation programs and post-release services to children and other groups in immigration proceedings.
WHAT: Congressional briefing on immigration raids targeting unaccompanied children
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Wednesday, March 23
WHERE: Cannon House Office Building, Room 234, Washington, D.C.
- Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), chair, Congressional Hispanic Caucus
- Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.)
- Bruce Lesley, president, First Focus
- Louis Malfaro, president, Texas AFT
- Marielena Hincapie, executive director, National Immigration Law Center
- Wendy Young, president, Kids in Need of Defense
- Kelsey Rivas, classmate of student impacted by DHS enforcement actions
- Hon. Nancy Navarro, councilwoman, Montgomery County, Md.
- Hon. Dana Leigh Marks, president, National Association of Immigration Judges, IFPTE
(Other members of Congress also have been invited)