While 2015 was a historic year for LGBT equality, much remains at stake for our community in Alabama. In Alabama, there are no explicit state or local laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing or business services.
Our state Supreme Court continues to fight against marriage equality and 11 counties are following the Court’s lead, refusing marriage licenses to all couples.
When the state’s legislature begins its 2016 session tomorrow, HRC Alabama will be keeping track of all anti-LGBT legislation, and will be asking our members and supporters to fight back against discrimination by contacting their elected officials.
For example, Alabama lawmakers in 2015 introduced bills to authorize anti-LGBT discrimination in marriage licensing and in adoption-related services. We expect to see similar religious refusal bills introduced in 2016.
Our experiences with the discriminatory Freedom of Religion in Marriage Protection Act last year taught us just how critical our supporters’ understanding of and engagement with anti-LGBT bills introduced in our region can be to our overall success.
Unfortunately, Alabama is not the only state combating anti-LGBT legislation. More than 115 anti-LGBT bills were introduced in 2015, many of which have been held over to 2016. This year, HRC is already tracking nearly 150 anti-LGBT bills in 30 states. The 150 bills introduced so far this year now exceeds the number of bills HRC tracked in 2015.
“We’ve never had so much at stake in any election year than we have in 2016 as it relates to LGBT rights,” HRC President Chad Griffin said.
Just as the Human Rights Campaign is a membership-based organization, and therefore does not exist without the support of its members nationwide, HRC Alabama’s legislative efforts are made better and stronger with your engagement and support. Our office will be sharing information on any anti-LGBT or pro-equality bills considered in our legislative session via our website, Facebook page, and through email, text and action alerts. If you would like to stay engaged, visit http://www.hrc.org/local-issues/alabama and sign up to receive these updates.
We will also be looking to share the stories of LGBT Alabamians whose lives would be affected by anti-LGBT or pro-LGBT legislation. If you would like to be trained to be one of these messengers or if you would like to be a member of HRC Alabama’s rapid-response legislative volunteer team, contact Tori Wolfe-Sisson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to working with our community throughout the 2016 Alabama legislative session. We will not rest until we see another year of statewide legislative progress for LGBT Alabamians.