Today Representative Pete Stark (CA-13) introduced Every Child Deserves a Family Act (H.R. 4806), a child welfare bill that takes into consideration the best interests of children in the foster care system. The bill would open up permanent homes to more foster youth by working with states to eliminate laws, policies, practices and procedures that exclude potential adoptive and foster parents because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.
As the House Ways and Means Committee begins to review and analyze this bill, we need you to urge your representative to co-sponsor this critically important legislation that will help give foster children permanent, safe and supportive homes.
E-mail Your Representative TODAY!
Tragically, approximately 125,000 foster children across the US are waiting to be adopted. With only 50,000 adoptions each year, there is a clear shortage of adoptive parents. The result is that children, especially minority and special needs children, languish in foster care and bounce from placement to placement. The 25,000 youth who never find a permanent family and "age out" of the system each year are more likely than nearly any other group to experience poverty, homelessness, incarceration, early pregnancy or suffer with mental illness or substance abuse.
Despite the need for more adoptive and permanent foster homes; some states have enacted discriminatory bans that prohibit children from being placed with qualified parents due to the parent's sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. The result is less children being adopted and more children bouncing around the foster care system with no permanency and no security. In some cases these bans have resulted in a grandparent having to go through costly litigation in order to care for their own kin who are in foster care. This kind of discrimination does a disservice to many children who need a permanent, safe and supportive home. It robs far too many young people of a family, a core value that many Americans hold dear, and it's time to take a stand.
Click here to e-mail your representative to co-sponsor and pass the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (H.R. 4806). Loving homes are on the line for far too many children seeking a permanent, safe and supportive home to call their own.
The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 1913) would add sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability to existing federal hate crimes laws. It would also strengthen enforcement of these laws by allowing the US Department of Justice to assist local authorities in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes cases. The bill is identical to the hate crimes legislation passed by the House of Representatives in 2007 and is transgender-inclusive. It was reintroduced on April 2nd, 2009 by Representative John Conyers (D-MI) along with 42 original co-sponsors. When introducing the bill, Representative Conyers stated that "law enforcement authorities and civic leaders have learned that a failure to address the problem of bias crime can cause a seemingly isolated incident to fester into widespread tension that can damage the social fabric of the wider community. Hate Crimes legislation is a constructive and measured response to a problem that continues to plague our nation. These are crimes that shock and shame our national conscience. They should be subject to comprehensive federal law enforcement assistance and prosecution." To weigh in, and voice your support for hate crimes legislation, click here and send a message to your elected representative. Be sure to identify yourself as a PFLAG member, and to specifically ask your elected representative to co-sponsor this legislation. Then, ask your friends, neighbors and family members to email and express their support, too. When you contact your Member of Congress, please remember to highlight some of these important points:
• Current Law is Inadequate. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Hate Crimes statistics, crimes motivated by hate against a person based on their sexual orientation make up the third largest category of hate crimes behind race and religion, and yet current federal hate crimes laws only provide protections based on race, religion and national origin.
• The Bill Honors the First Amendment. The legislation only prohibits criminal actions, and does not include speech. To further ensure that there is no confusion on what the bill covers and does not, an amendment was adopted that explicitly states that conduct protected under the First Amendment – free expression and free exercise clauses – Is not subject to prosecution (this includes religious speech).
• Support for this Bill is Widespread. This legislation has attracted the support of over 210 civil rights, education, religious and civic organizations. Virtually every major law enforcement organization in the country has endorsed the bill – including the International Association of chiefs of police, the National District Attorneys Association, the National Sheriffs Association, the Police Executive Research Forum and 31 state Attorneys General.
Whether you’re a parent, a friend, a family member or LGBT yourself, we know you share our outrage that more than 1,000 hate crimes against LGBT Americans are reported to the FBI each year! It’s an outrage that more than 10 years after the high-profile death of Matthew Shephard, Congress has still not passed federal legislation to help law enforcement properly prosecute these crimes. That’s why it’s time for us to take a stand today. Join PFLAG in calling on Congress to pass the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. The time has come to bring enact this long-overdue law. If you have any questions regarding this information, please be sure to contact us.
Let Your Representatives Know You Care About Immigration Equality!Uniting American Families Act of 2009 (UAFA),
On Friday, February 13th, Representative Jerrold Nadler plans to reintroduce the Uniting American Families Act of 2009 (UAFA), a bill that will allow lesbian and gay Americans to sponsor their foreign-born partners for immigration. Please call your representative today and ask them to celebrate love this Valentine’s Day by cosponsoring UAFA!
Don't know who your rep. is or phone number? Click below for the PFLAG Link.
Take Action call your Rep. ask then to Co-Sponsor Uniting American Families Act of 2009 (UAFA),