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Fri Oct 30, 2015, 09:51 AM

O’Malley to lay out comprehensive vision for LGBT rights.

“I am proud to say that we are finally — and rightfully — having a real debate about how to ensure equality for all LGBTQ Americans, in every part of public life,” Martin O’Malley says. “But as you know, we owe you more than words. We owe you action.”

O’Malley’s speech has two major components: Touting his record on LGBT rights and laying out his plan for the future with a strong emphasis on anti-bullying efforts and federal non-discrimination protections.

O’Malley to lay out comprehensive vision for LGBT rights.

former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is set to outline his vision for LGBT rights in a speech Friday that seeks to galvanize the progressive base.

The Washington Blade obtained from his campaign prepared remarks the candidate intends to make at the Iowa Spirit Awards in Des Moines, an event hosted by Iowa Safe Schools that celebrates LGBT youth and educators in the early caucus state.
“I am proud to say that we are finally — and rightfully — having a real debate about how to ensure equality for all LGBTQ Americans, in every part of public life,” O’Malley says. “But as you know, we owe you more than words. We owe you action.”
O’Malley’s speech has two major components: Touting his record on LGBT rights and laying out his plan for the future with a strong emphasis on anti-bullying efforts and federal non-discrimination protections.

The candidate recalls as mayor of Baltimore signing the state’s first transgender non-discrimination ordinance and in 2014 adding transgender protections to the state’s civil rights law. But O’Malley adds “what I’m most proud of is standing up for marriage equality as a human right.”

“And almost exactly three years ago today, we won that fight — becoming the first state to successfully defend marriage equality at the ballot box,” O’Malley says. . .

On the issue of bullying, O’Malley invokes statistics on the challenges faced by LGBT students and says “often the most frequent victims of bullying are transgender kids.” The candidate pledges to require all schools to implement anti-bullying policies and to face penalties when they don’t provide safe environments.

“Schools that allow for unlawful discrimination should risk losing federal funding — and students who experience harassment, bullying, intimidation, and violence should have a legal cause of action under the law,” he says.

“The leaders of Iowa Safe Schools came together to educate students and teachers,” O’Malley says. “They joined hands to promote diversity, equality, and social justice. And now, they’re being attacked for trying to make Iowa a more welcoming and inclusive place. In a nation where all of us are entitled to equal rights and protections, this cannot be tolerated.”

On the federal non-discrimination protections, O’Malley takes note he was the first presidential candidate to endorse the Equality Act, saying “first and foremost we must fight” to pass the legislation.

“I was proud to be the first presidential candidate to endorse this critical legislation because I saw how important our comprehensive non-discrimination legislation had been in Maryland,” O’Malley says. “It is time to end discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and education, credit and more as a nation once and for all.”

O’Malley also decries the recent wave of anti-transgender violence, the treatment of LGBT undocumented immigrants in detention and the high rate of LGBT homeless youth. Among his other pledges are improving the Runaway & Homeless Youth Act to include LGBT youth, eliminating abstinence-only sex education programs, banning “ex-gay” conversion therapy, ending immigration detention and repealing HIV criminalization laws.

Following a dispute that erupted last week after Hillary Clinton called the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act a “defensive” act against worse discrimination and Bernard Sanders criticized her for rewriting history, O’Malley seeks to rise above the disagreement.

O’Malley will deliver the speech following news a panel on the Republican-controlled state legislature would investigate the host organization of the event for teaching LGBT youth about safe-sex practices. The candidate rejects the effort as a “witch hunt.” . . .

“The other candidates might talk about who supported DOMA when – but I’m talking about what we must do, together, tomorrow,” O’Malley said.

But in the very next line, O’Malley makes a veiled criticism of the candidates for their histories, saying he’s “actually gone to the mat for LGBTQ rights.”

“I didn’t just believe in marriage equality, I achieved marriage equality,” O’Malley said. “And when I tell you today that we need to provide better and more equitable healthcare to our transgender neighbors, that we must fight for the Equality Act – it’s because I’ve done it, as an executive, and I know that it is necessary and that it is possible.”'

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/10/30/omalley-to-lay-out-comprehensive-vision-for-lgbt-rights/

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