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This is a damn fine op ed piece, especially the Gay Agenda list toward the bottom.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/06/30/solmonese...ghts/index.html

Commentary: Progress on gay rights leaves politicians in the dust

By Joe Solmonese

Special to CNN

Friday, June 30, 2006; Posted: 6:30 p.m. EDT (22:30 GMT)

Joe Solmonese says business leaders are far ahead of politicians when it comes to gay rights.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Thanks to private sector employers, our nation hit a milestone this year in its march toward equality.

While protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans are stalled in Congress, corporate America continues to surge ahead. This isn't a Democratic or a Republican issue. It's an issue of basic fairness and good business.

For the first time, more than half of all Fortune 500 companies offer domestic partner health insurance benefits to their employees, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's annual "State of the Workplace" report. This survey also found that 86 percent of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies and 10 times the number of Fortune companies cover gender identity today compared to 2001.

The private sector continues to be far ahead of the political debate. While elected officials continue to dwell on the "politics" of equal protections and rights, business leaders are encouraging fairness for their employees.

Just 25 years ago, these workplace policies didn't exist or were so rare that even the most progressive employer would not offer them. But more and more, Americans are accepting the fact that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are not just a statistic -- we are members of your family, your friends, your neighbors and your co-workers.

The 2000 Census found that same-sex couples live in more than 99 percent of counties in the United States, meaning just about every workplace has an employee -- or prospective employee -- who could benefit from domestic partner coverage.

Even our nation's most prestigious educational institutions are on board with providing equal rights for domestic partners. Among America's colleges and universities, 92 percent of the 25 top national four-year colleges provide domestic partner health coverage, according to our survey.

America's workplaces and schools are a microcosm of the country. They are places where people from different walks of life -- all religions, races, income levels, sexual orientations and gender identities -- are thrown together and told to make it work. They're doing just that and these policies and benefits are helping employers and employees succeed.

We have also seen wins in anti-discrimination and benefits policies at the state and local levels. Our survey found that seven states prohibit discrimination in private sector employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity -- California, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Washington, plus the District of Columbia. Ten additional states ban workplace discrimination based exclusively on sexual orientation.

Unfortunately, many political leaders are far behind business leaders in promoting and implementing fair and equitable policies for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. Sadly, we see some politicians attacking our families and exploiting anti-gay prejudice for political purposes -- which results in fueling that prejudice and dividing our country.

In early June, GLBT families were targets of the Federal Marriage Amendment, an attempt to write discrimination into our nation's Constitution. These elected officials have turned their backs on the principles upon which this country was founded.

But America is a "can do" nation and has come a long way in its embracement of fair and equal treatment for GLBT families. And it has happened not because of some radical gay agenda, which our opponents say is our secret plan to take over. It has happened because of a measured approach of bringing people together on the basis of our common values and goals.

But I would be lying if I said that we don't have an agenda -- we do, and this is it:

1. A good job, where workers are respected for the work they do, are treated fairly and offered equal benefits

2. A safe home. So that we and our families can live in a community without fear of hate crimes and persecution

3. Fair and quality health care so that we have the ability to take care of our loved ones

4. And the right to be in a committed and legally recognized relationship that includes the same legal protections and rights offered to every other American -- no more, and no less.

And that, my friends, is not a radical gay agenda -- it's the American dream.

As an American I am proud of the gains being made in our country by the private sector, educational institutions, state and local government. History will mark these years as the time when our nation's business leaders decided to live up to America's promise -- and allow for real liberty and justice for all.

Editor's note: Joe Solmonese is president of the Human Rights Campaign. With more than 600,000 members nationwide, the Human Rights Campaign is the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights organization.

What is your take on this commentary? E-mail us http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form1f.html?5

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer. This article is part of a series of occasional opinion pieces on CNN.com that offer a broad range of perspectives that express a variety of thoughts and points of view.

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Guest espressogrrl

Sounds suspiciously similar to the secret straight agenda us independent, non-brain washed by religious radicals have been promoting. It must be a conspiracy ;)

Go Zillagrrrl!!!

Here it is, unveiled by Fiore

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I do think it's important to note that there is more that needs to happen even than what's on Mr. Salmonese's agenda. Because marriage has become a big issue lately, a lot of people see this as the be all end all; we get this, and we'll be treated equal. Needless to say....

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Guest espressogrrl

I do think it's important to note that there is more that needs to happen even than what's on Mr. Salmonese's agenda. Because marriage has become a big issue lately, a lot of people see this as the be all end all; we get this, and we'll be treated equal. Needless to say....

In New Jersey, the next expected state to pass marriage, i am part of the Marriage Equality endeavors. for us, it's less about being equals and ending the discrimination all in one big stroke - we know that isnt happening anytime soon!

for us, its about family. our own family values. the 1400 rights and priveldges that include property, inheritance, power of attorney, living wills, and other legal rights bestwoed only on married couples that protect us and our children.

;)

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for us, its about family. our own family values. the 1400 rights and priveldges that include property, inheritance, power of attorney, living wills, and other legal rights bestwoed only on married couples that protect us and our children.

Indeed. This is the part that gets my goat so badly - that a nation of people usually so fair-minded would not recognize these questions of basic fairness and humanity. That a person's life partner might not have the power to so much as visit his or her partner in the hospital is insane to me, let alone the possibility that life-or-death decisions would be taken out of that partner's hands.

Cerberus (grr. grr. grr...)

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I just think that a lot of people on both sides will figure that the fight is over once we've got marriage equality. There's still the military, housing / employment (on a national level; right now it's state by state, and some don't have those protections), adoption / foster care, even prison reform (if you're queer in prison, you're best off going into protective custody for your own safety, however, people in protective custody give up access to certain rehabilitation programs and such).

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