— Alabama state Rep. Patricia Todd (D., Birmingham), the state’s only openly gay lawmaker, speaking with The Anniston Star. Todd plans to revive anti-discrimination legislation which will seek to protect gay and lesbian employees from discrimination in the workplace, and intends to honor Apple CEO Tim Cook by naming the bill after him. Originally filed in 2011, the legislation would ban state agencies from discriminating on the grounds of sexual orientation, something which isn’t explicitly included in Alabama’s civil laws, according to Todd. “If you ask people on the street, they’ll say of course you can’t get fired,” Todd told the paper. “They think we’re a protected class, but we’re not.” She continued, adding, “I hear from teachers all the time who are terrified that they’ll be fired because someone will find out that they’re gay.”
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley disagrees, with his office stating that, at least for state agencies, firing someone for being gay or lesbian is illegal. “It would be a violation of Title VII and Sections 1981, 1983 and 1985 of the Civil Rights Act to terminate a person based solely on sexual orientation,” his press secretary, Yasmine August, wrote in a statement to The Anniston Star.
Tim Cook publicly came out in October, just a few days after a speech in which he slammed his home state for its attitude towards gay rights. “As a state, we took too long to take steps toward equality. We were too slow on equality for African-Americans. We were too slow on interracial marriage. And we are still too slow on equality for the LGBT community.”
Image Credit: Valery Marchive / Flickr
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!