ADL on the Frontline » ADL Blogs
June 28, 2013 5

One Giant Step Forward Towards Full Equality for the LGBT Community — What’s Next?

There is much to cel­e­brate in the Supreme Court mar­riage equal­ity deci­sions. The Anti-Defamation League filed ami­cus briefs in both U.S. v. Wind­sor and Hollingsworth v. Perry on behalf of a broad, diverse group of reli­gious orga­ni­za­tions, empha­siz­ing that there are many dif­fer­ent reli­gious views on mar­riage and that no one reli­gious under­stand­ing should be used to define mar­riage recog­ni­tion and rights under civil law.

Your rights should not depend on your ZIP code.

Your rights should not depend on your ZIP code.

ADL’s brief in the Wind­sor case began with the asser­tion that reli­gious def­i­n­i­tions of mar­riage vary, includ­ing per­spec­tives over whether or not gay and les­bian cou­ples may marry. Our brief then set out two argu­ments: (1) the Defense of Mar­riage Act (DOMA) vio­lated the estab­lish­ment clause because it was enacted with a reli­gious pur­pose, based on a par­tic­u­lar reli­gious under­stand­ing of mar­riage; and (2) DOMA vio­lated equal pro­tec­tion under the Fifth Amend­ment because it was moti­vated by moral dis­ap­proval of gay and les­bian peo­ple with­out any legit­i­mate gov­ern­ment purpose.

Our Perry brief urged the Court to reject the reli­gious and moral jus­ti­fi­ca­tions expressed by Propo­si­tion 8 pro­po­nents.  It demon­strated how, over the past quar­ter cen­tury, the Supreme Court has rejected laws dis­fa­vor­ing minor­ity groups based on moral or reli­gious dis­ap­proval alone – with one, now dis­cred­ited, excep­tion, Bow­ers v. Hard­wick. The brief looked back over time and showed how laws like slav­ery, seg­re­ga­tion, pro­hi­bi­tions on inter­ra­cial mar­riage, and laws dis­crim­i­nat­ing against women – laws that were jus­ti­fied on moral and reli­gious grounds – had ulti­mately been rejected by the Court.

ADL hailed the Court’s two deci­sions, while rec­og­niz­ing that much work remains to be done to pro­mote LGBT equal­ity.  Now that DOMA has been ruled uncon­sti­tu­tional, legal ana­lysts – and gov­ern­ment offi­cials – will be sort­ing out the range of fed­eral ben­e­fits that can now be accorded to legally-married same-sex cou­ples.  Same-sex cou­ples in Cal­i­for­nia can pre­pare for full recog­ni­tion and rights in their state. It is clear, how­ever, that, for now, the full range of ben­e­fits, priv­i­leges, and respon­si­bil­i­ties of mar­riage will con­tinue to be denied cou­ples in 37 other states.

More­over, at a time when it is still legal to fire employ­ees solely because they are les­bian, gay, or bisex­ual in 29 states – and in 33 states it is legal to fire some­one solely for being trans­gen­der — it is nec­es­sary to com­ple­ment this week’s for­ward progress with work­place dis­crim­i­na­tion pro­tec­tions, ini­tia­tives to pre­vent bias-motivated vio­lence, and pro­grams to pro­mote safe learn­ing envi­ron­ments for LGBT students.

To these ends, ADL sup­ports the Employ­ment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would expand exist­ing fed­eral employ­ment dis­crim­i­na­tion cov­er­age to include pro­tec­tion for those who are dis­crim­i­nated against based on their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and/or gen­der iden­tity.  ADL is a national leader in con­fronting hate vio­lence, hav­ing played a lead role in coali­tion work to enact and imple­ment the Matthew Shep­ard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act (HCPA). And the League has also been in the fore­front of efforts to ensure safe school envi­ron­ments for all stu­dents, regard­less of their reli­gion, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, or gen­der iden­tity, through the devel­op­ment of edu­ca­tion and train­ing pro­grams  and bul­ly­ing pre­ven­tion initiatives.

While we cel­e­brate the great step for­ward in mar­riage equal­ity, we must not lose sight of the fact that   our nation has suf­fered a major set­back to civil rights when the Supreme Court struck down a crit­i­cal part of the 1965 Vot­ing Rights Act, In this, ADL’s  100th anniver­sary year, we reded­i­cate our­selves to secur­ing, in the words of our found­ing Char­ter, “jus­tice and fair treat­ment for all.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

June 4, 2013 0

ADL’s “Viral Hate” Now Available in Bookstores

Abe Foxman's & Christopher Wolf's book: "Viral Hate"

Two lead­ing experts on big­oted speech and the Inter­net have joined forces as authors of a new book that lays out a blue­print for gov­ern­ments, indus­try lead­ers and soci­eties to take proac­tive steps to stem the tide of hate speech on the Internet.

Abra­ham H. Fox­man, National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League and Christo­pher Wolf, ADL Civil Rights Chair, out­line the chal­lenges posed by online hate and pro­pose a series of solu­tions in their new book, Viral Hate: Con­tain­ing Its Spread on the Inter­net (Pal­grave Macmil­lan), avail­able in book­stores and for down­load on e-readers today.

Viral Hate dis­cusses how in the past 20 years, the Inter­net, with all of its many advan­tages to soci­ety and the free-flow of infor­ma­tion, has become one of the most pow­er­ful tools for big­ots to spread evil mes­sages of intol­er­ance and rage.

While it is a mar­velous medium for edu­ca­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, enter­tain­ment and com­merce, as the Inter­net has grown and changed over the years, racists and big­ots have found new ways to exploit the tech­nol­ogy to spread hate­ful mes­sages and recruit oth­ers to join their cause. The book pro­vides numer­ous exam­ples of how this has happened.

Viral Hate offers spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tions for the indus­try, as well as for edu­ca­tors, par­ents and Inter­net users.

The indus­try rec­om­men­da­tions include:

  • Cre­at­ing clear poli­cies on hate speech and includ­ing them within terms of service;
  • Cre­at­ing mech­a­nisms for enforc­ing hate speech policies;
  • Estab­lish­ing a clear, user-friendly process for allow­ing users to report hate speech;
  • Increas­ing trans­parency about terms of service;
  • Actively encour­ag­ing counter-speech and edu­ca­tion to address hate speech.

Rec­om­men­da­tions for Inter­net users include: 

  • Flag­ging offen­sive content;
  • Speak­ing out and, in a smart and care­ful way, being pre­pared to chal­lenge hate­ful mes­sages with pos­i­tive ones;
  • Pro­mot­ing counter-speech, applaud­ing pos­i­tive mes­sages and rec­om­mend­ing them to others;
  • Talk­ing about what you have seen, and reach­ing out to watch­dog agen­cies with expe­ri­ence deal­ing with hate and bigotry;
  • For edu­ca­tors, work­ing to ensure that schools have appro­pri­ate poli­cies in place, and empha­siz­ing the impor­tance of crit­i­cal thinking.

Mr. Fox­man, a long­time leader in the fight against anti-Semitism and big­otry, and Mr. Wolf, an Inter­net pri­vacy law attor­ney who has rep­re­sented ADL in a num­ber of inter­na­tional bod­ies tasked with fight­ing Inter­net hate, cite numer­ous instances in recent years where indi­vid­u­als like James von Brunn, the white suprema­cist and U.S. Holo­caust Museum shooter, have taken advan­tage of the power of the Inter­net to spread hate­ful mes­sages and to find like­minded bigots.

And they iden­tify the var­i­ous forms of hate speech that have pro­lif­er­ated online, includ­ing racism, anti-Semitism, reli­gious big­otry, Holo­caust denial, homo­pho­bia, misog­yny, pro­mo­tion of ter­ror­ism and harassment.

In Viral Hate, Fox­man and Wolf dis­cuss how ADL helped to con­vene a new work­ing group on online hate that is bring­ing together Inter­net indus­try lead­ers and oth­ers to probe the roots of the prob­lem and develop new solu­tions to address it head on.

The authors write it is “a national dis­grace” that schools do not have as a require­ment courses instruct­ing chil­dren on the appro­pri­ate use of elec­tronic communication.

More infor­ma­tion on the book is avail­able on the League’s web site at www.adl.org/viral-hate.

Tags: , , , , , ,

March 21, 2013 1

Imagine If They Had Lived

Imag­ine a world where the hate crimes against Mar­tin Luther King Jr., Anne Frank and Matthew Shep­ard did not hap­pen. Now, dur­ing ADL’s Cen­ten­nial Year, fight big­otry and extrem­ism by shar­ing this video and pledg­ing to cre­ate a world with­out hate.

In honor of our Cen­ten­nial in 2013, ADL has launched the “Imag­ine a World With­out Hate™” video and action cam­paign, and we invite you to join in.

Take just 80 sec­onds of your time to watch this pow­er­ful video, which imag­ines a world with­out racism, homo­pho­bia or anti-Semitism — a world in which the hate vio­lence that took the lives of Mar­tin Luther King Jr., Anne Frank, Daniel Pearl, Matthew Shep­ard and oth­ers did not hap­pen. Imag­ine what these indi­vid­u­als could have con­tin­ued to con­tribute to soci­ety if big­otry, hate and extrem­ism had not cut their lives trag­i­cally short.

After 100 years of fight­ing big­otry and fos­ter­ing respect, we are cel­e­brat­ing our suc­cesses, while at the same time rec­og­niz­ing that we still have a long way to go to achieve the real­ity of a world with­out hate. Explore the Imag­ine Web Page at www.adl.org/imagine to take action as an indi­vid­ual, com­mu­nity, school or cor­po­ra­tion. Tell us what you will do to cre­ate a world with­out hate.

ADL is most grate­ful to the fam­i­lies of those fea­tured in the video, whose com­mit­ment and par­tic­i­pa­tion made this cam­paign pos­si­ble, and to the Estate of John Lennon for grant­ing us the rights to use his beau­ti­ful and iconic song.

www.adl.org/imagine

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,