Advocates' Blog
Advocates' Blog
Twisting of Religious Liberty
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 06:42

by Amber Morley Rieke, Special Projects Fellow

The Supreme Court is about to hear two challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that private insurance plans cover contraception for women with a prescription at no out-of-pocket cost. In Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, owners of for-profit companies argue that the requirement violates their religious freedom. They want the same exemptions from the mandate that religious institutions receive.

As we wait for the Court’s decisions, which should come by June, women of all ages are paying less for essential health services and prescriptions. The rulings could ensure contraceptive coverage continues, or force the government to exempt companies as well as churches. Thousands, or millions, of women could lose access to affordable contraception.

No more “free passes” to discriminate
Friday, 14 March 2014 07:52

Should corporations be given a free pass to discriminate against their employees?

That’s what the Supreme Court will be deciding on March 25 when they will hear cases from two corporations that object to providing insurance which includes coverage for birth control.

Be a part of an online picket line. Make your voice heard on our #DearSCOTUS Digital Soapbox.

Share your thoughts about why affordable and available contraception is important, what you think about the co-opting of religious liberty, and what’s at stake for you. Through your blogs, Instagram pics and video, YouTube clips and tweets we’ll capture an online picket line in solidarity with those protesting at the Supreme Court. All you have to do is use the hashtag #DearSCOTUS. So make a sign, record a video, or write a blog and join the protest.

Advocates' Statement on Arizona's Senate Bill 1062
Friday, 28 February 2014 08:12

Advocates for Youth is relieved that Governor Jan Brewer finally vetoed Senate Bill 1062, a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse service based on the owner's religious objections. The bill would have allowed restaurants, stores, and other businesses refuse to serve LGBT folks, including youth, just because of who they are. The bill's passage in the House and Senate was shameful, and Gov. Brewer’s delay in vetoing it inexplicable.

In about ten states, and soon in the U.S. Supreme Court with the Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit which argues a religious right to deny employees insurance coverage for birth control, we are seeing the co-opting of our country’s strong tradition of religious liberty to provide a free pass for discrimination. It is a concerted effort to establish an unprecedented "religious-right-of-corporations."  Read More

Equality Marches On in California
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 08:55

by Hemly Ordóñez, State Strategies Manager

In July we asked you to stand with transgender and gender non-conforming students in California. Thanks to your actions Governor Brown heard us LOUD and clear and signed the Student Success and Opportunity Act into law. Together we ensured that transgender students can participate in student activities and facilities that match their gender identity.

Anti- transgender groups attempted to push a referendum that would have repealed this law. The good news is that they lost! On Monday, California Secretary of State confirmed that the referendum didn’t have enough valid signatures to place the measure on the state ballot. Win!

Standing up for equality is not something we do once: we must step up to the plate each time we face oppression. We want to give a huge shout out to the Support All Students Coalition and individual members for their hard work.

Send a tweet to thank GLSEN, GSA Network, Forward Together, Equality California or the Transgender Law Center for their continued work that continues to build equality and supportive environments for all students.

You Can Call Me Trich
Tuesday, 25 February 2014 13:49

Hey. Have we met? Never mind, you probably wouldn’t know if we had. My name is Trichomoniasis but I go by Trich. I’m a tiny parasite (not that size matters) and a sexually transmitted infection. I can cause some discharge, a burning sensation, and I can also increase your risk for HIV and other STIs! What can I say, I’m a multitasker.

Problem is, most folks have never heard of me - but that’s cool ‘cause Advocates for Youth and the American Sexual Health Association are working to change that.

Won’t you share out my dating profile on Facebook so folks learn all about me?

Our Voices in the Fight: Empowering Youth
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 14:26

Angel Brown, Senior Program Manager for LGBTQ Health and Rights, wrote this blog for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Why do you think HIV/AIDS Awareness efforts are especially important for African-American youth and other minorities?

We have an alarming health issue on our hands. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 26 percent of all new HIV infections occur among young people ages 13 to 24 years old. Of those new infections, African-American youth represent approximately 60 percent of newly diagnosed young people. Among young people, African-American youth are being diagnosed with HIV far more frequently than their Latino and white counterparts and more than half (54 percent) of all new HIV infections among young gay and bisexual males occur in African-American young men.

Our proverbial house is on fire and our young people need us. We must address the needs of all youth, especially African-Americans, as they are repeatedly at disproportionate risk for negative health outcomes—particularly when it comes to HIV.

Young people can make healthy decisions regarding their sexual health when they have the proper support, resources, skills, and guidance that adults should provide. They deserve to have educators that can effectively teach the sex education curricula along with access to youth friendly, culturally appropriate sexual and reproductive services that meet their unique needs.  Read more

It’s time to talk about religion and sexuality
Thursday, 30 January 2014 08:42

Aimee Thorne-Thomsen, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

The following remarks were given at Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice’s launch of the “It’s Time to Talk” campaign, which is bringing a new conversation around religion and sexuality. Advocates for Youth is proud to stand with RCRC in this campaign.

I do not identify as a person of faith. 

As someone raised Roman Catholic, who attended Catholic school for 8 years, I have struggled with my religious institution and its dictates, especially as they relate to matters of sex and sexuality. If I identify as anything, it’s as a Secular Catholic - someone raised with an understanding of the importance of Catholicism in people’s daily lives, but who does not move that way herself.

I understand and value the role that religion plays in the lives of many, including members of my own family. I also understand that religion has been used as a tool of oppression and wreaked considerable damage on many communities, including ones that I come from.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about a colleague, a woman of color leader in the reproductive justice movement, who shared that she received more acceptance from her faith community when she came out as a reproductive justice activist, than from her reproductive justice community when she came out as a person of faith.

There is something wrong with that.

Statement in regard to recent “anti-homosexuality” bills
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 10:06

Advocates for Youth condemns the multiple instances of disturbing government actions aimed at denying the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) persons. The terrifying “anti-homosexuality” bills passed by parliaments in both Nigeria and Uganda are a complete disregard of human rights. And the Indian Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the country’s colonial-era law banning same-sex acts is not only out of step with the global trend of protecting the privacy and dignity rights of the LGBTQ community but it is also cruel and degrading. There is no place for intolerance and hatred. Whether we witness it in our own communities or see it take root thousands of miles across the globe, we all must speak out against homophobia and bigotry of all kinds. Laws like these that single out sexual and gender minorities for punishment should never be tolerated. Read more

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