Complaint: LGBT immigrants abused, neglected at detention centers run by Homeland Security

The National Immigration Justice Center has filed civil rights complaints on behalf of 13 LGBT immigrants who were allegedly abused and neglected at detention centers run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in nine states, including one in Houston. The Heartland Alliance’s NIJC filed the complaints today in a letter addressed to Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, calling on the department to investigate and implement new policies.

The group has also launched a petition calling on the DHS and President Barack Obama to end the abuse of LGBT immigrants in detention.

The 13 complaints include allegations of sexual assault, denial of adequate medical care, long-term solitary confinement, discrimination and abuse, and ineffective complaints and appeals process. Below are a few examples from the letter, which you can download in its entirety here:

• [Juan] was sexually assaulted by two other detainees. Despite repeated requests for a transfer to another facility because he feared for his safety [Juan] was not transferred until three months after the incident, when ICE Headquarters intervened. In the meantime, the only “protection” that the Otero County Detention Center offered was placement in the “hole.” (Otero County Detention Center, New Mexico)

• [Delfino] was held in segregation for four months, justifying their decision on the basis that [Delfino] presented “effeminately.” Facility staff refused to provide [Delfino] a Bible and permitted him only one hour of recreation – in a cold nine- by-thirteen-foot cell – per day. (Houston Processing Center, Texas)

• [Monica] continues to be denied hormone therapy, despite her use of hormones for ten years prior to immigration detention, and her physical and psychological reliance on them. [Monica], now detained for over five months, told NIJC staff, “I can’t even look at myself in the mirror anymore,” due to returning facial and body hair and other distressing changes. [Monica], an asylum seeker who has suffered grave past abuse in Mexico, also received no treatment for her trauma- related depression. She attempted suicide in February 2011 – the facility put her in solitary confinement as punishment. (Santa Ana City Jail, California)

• [Alexis] was repeatedly called a “faggot” by guards, who also made jokes about her dying of AIDS. They singled her out for public searches in which they forced her to remove her outer clothing and mocked her exposed breasts. (Theo Lacy Facility, California)

—  John Wright

British government ready to implement full marriage equality in the UK

They already had civil partnerships, but our mates across the pond are ready to leave the U.S. in the cultural dust again.

The British government is expected to announce full marriage equality for gays and lesbians under reforms to marriage laws expected to be announced later this week by the Liberal Democrat equality minister, Lynne Featherstone.

The announcement will also include the time table for civil partnerships to be held in religious buildings. The reported move will end the final major legal discrimination against gays and lesbians in Britain.

The reaction from faith groups:

The Quakers and Liberal Judaism have already stated that they wish to conduct same sex marriages.

Although the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, gave the reports a guarded welcome telling the BBC that he “believes in a liberal democracy, and actually wants equality with everybody,” the Church of England does not support the introduction of gay marriages or civil partnerships being held in churches. A spokesman said: “Given the Church’s view on the nature of marriage, the House of Bishops has consistently been clear that the Church of England should not provide services of blessing for those who register civil partnerships.”

The spokesman said the change will “lead to inconsistencies with civil marriage, have unexplored impacts, and lead to confusion, with a number of difficult and unintended consequences for churches and faiths”.

“Any change could therefore only be brought after proper and careful consideration of all the issues involved, to ensure that the intended freedom for all denominations over these matters is genuinely secured.”

The Catholic Church and those representing the Muslim faith are also opposed to gay marriage and holding religious civil partnerships.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

Amos: Marines Will ‘Step Out Smartly’ to Implement Repeal of DADT

Mentioned briefly in the NYT article I linked to earlier this morning on implementation of 'DADT' repeal was an excerpt of a statement by Marine Commandant General James Amos.

Amos The Stars and Stripes blog has posted his full statement, sent out on Sunday evening, in which the Commandant, who prior to the Senate vote warned of Marines losing legs in battle over the "distraction" of open gays serving beside them, promises to faithfully carry out repeal.

Amos' statement:

"Fidelity is the essence of the United States Marine Corps. Above all else, we are loyal to the Constitution, our Commander in Chief, Congress, our Chain of Command, and the American people. The House of Representatives and the Senate have voted to repeal Title 10, US Code 654 'Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the United States Armed Forces.' As stated during my testimony before Congress in September and again during hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, the Marine Corps will step out smartly to faithfully implement this new policy. I, and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, will personally lead this effort, thus ensuring the respect and dignity due all Marines. On this matter, we look forward to further demonstrating to the American people the discipline and loyalty that have been the hallmark of the United States Marine Corps for over 235 years."


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Sen. Mark Udall (D) Polls The Joint Chiefs: All Agree They Can Implement Repeal

Over at the Wonk Room, Igor Volsky reports on a tactic taken today by Sen. Mark Udall. Several of the top military brass testifying today indicated that they were hesitant to institute the repeal in a time of war.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) — a strong proponent of repeal — said that the amendment included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) offered the perfect compromise: the certification process provides the military with the flexibility not to implement repeal right away, while undermining the possibility that the courts would force the Armed Forces to act quickly. Every Service Chief agreed that they were comfortable that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates would take their concerns into consideration before certifying repeal and admitted that they could effectively implement the policy change.

Critics were quick to point out that such a compromise could stall the implementation of the repeal until the end of the Afghanistan war. (And longer, should other conflicts arise before then.)

Joe. My. God.

—  admin