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MLB strengthens anti-discrimination policy

MLB, Major League Baseball, Gay News, Washington Blade

MLB strengthens anti-discrimination policy. (Photo courtesy Flickr user adwriter)

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball on Tuesday announced it has strengthened its anti-gay discrimination and harassment policies.

Both MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association agreed to create what a press release described as a Workplace Code of Conduct that conveys the league’s policies against discrimination based on sexual orientation and distribute it to every major and minor league player. The league will also create “a centralized complaint system for reporting incidents involving harassment and discrimination.”

Team officials will also attend new trainings under an agreement the league reached after meeting with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

“I expect all those who represent Major League Baseball, as a social institution that has important social responsibilities, to act with the kind of respect and sensitivity that our game’s diverse players, employees and fans deserve,” MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said.


Small Kentucky village bars job bias

Vicco, Kentucky, employment non-discrimination, gay news, Washington Blade

Vicco, Ky. (Image by Seth Ilys via Wikimedia Commons)

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A tiny Appalachian village near Kentucky’s border with Virginia is the first municipality in a decade, and the fourth in state history to pass an ordinance barring discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to the ACLU, tiny Vicco with only 334 residents as of the 2010 Census, was originally named for the Virginia Iron Coal and Coke Company, which still dominates employment in the area.

“Vicco is a community that believes all folks should be treated fairly,” Vicco City Attorney Eric Ashley told the ACLU. “We believe everyone deserves the opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Fairness is a Kentucky value, a Vicco value, and one of our most American values.”


Equality Maryland announces Lobby Day

Lawyer's Mall, Annapolis, Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade

Lawyer’s Mall in Annapolis (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Equality Maryland and a coalition of other organizations will hold their annual Lobby Day on Feb. 18. A rally at Lawyer’s Mall in Annapolis will begin at 6 p.m. to advocate for legislation in the 2013 General Assembly that protects transgender individuals from discrimination in employment, housing, places of public accommodations and credit. Following the rally, participants will meet with their respective legislators.

For more information and to sign up visit


Ariz. lawmaker introduces anti-trans bill

John Kavanagh, Arizona, gay news, Washington Blade

Arizona legislator John Kavanagh (Photo courtesy Arizona Legislature)

PHOENIX — After failing to gain support for a bill that would make it a crime for some transgender Arizonans to use the bathroom, an Arizona lawmaker is now attempting to make it illegal to punish businesses that discriminate.

Republican John Kavanagh has updated his proposed language, prior to its committee hearing this week, to protect businesses and facilities that choose to bar trans visitors from using the restroom corresponding to their gender. The bill initially called for making the act of using a bathroom opposite from one designated for a person’s birth gender a class one misdemeanor.

According to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Kavanagh’s efforts to target transgender Arizonans follows passage of a local ordinance in Phoenix that prohibits public accommodation discrimination based on gender identity.


S.C. lawmaker introduces pro-gay bill

James Smith, gay news, Washington Blade, South Carolina, Richland County, Democratic Party

State Rep. James Smith (D-Richland County) (Photo courtesy of the James Smith Campaign)

COLUMBIA, S.C.—State Rep. James Smith (D-Richland County) on Tuesday introduced a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to South Carolina’s employment anti-discrimination law.

“All hardworking people in our state should have the chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families,” Ryan Wilson, executive director of South Carolina Equality, said. “Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.”

“The Workplace Fairness Act is really about protecting South Carolina’s diverse workforce to make it competitive for businesses that are looking to relocate to South Carolina,” added Smith.


Progress in Boise, Minneapolis

Boise, Idaho, gay news, Washington Blade

Boise, Idaho (Public domain photo by Jon Sullivan)

BOISE, Idaho — The Boise, Idaho City Council voted unanimously to pass a sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination law, covering employment, housing and public accommodations.

According to Boise television station KBOI-2, many members of the business community spoke up in favor of the new ordinance saying it could attract new companies to the city.

Further east, Minneapolis swore in lesbian Janeé Harteau as the city’s 52nd chief of police, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“I will always stand up and do what is right, even if I stand alone,” Harteau said in a speech, while flanked by her partner Sgt. Holly Keegel and the couple’s 13-year-old daughter Lauren.