Ruling Against Defense of Marriage Act Is Major Diversity Victory

Diversity and inclusion advocates are celebrating a major legal victory in the civil-rights battle of this century on marriage equality. A Boston federal court determined that portions of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are unconstitutional, bringing the case to the Supreme Court and the strong possibility that the law will be permanently overturned.


The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, in a unanimous and bipartisan decision, ruled that the federal law defining legal marriage as only between a man and a woman deprives same-sex couples of the same rights heterosexual couples have when receiving federal benefits, including filing joint federal tax returns.

The court did not address the controversial issue of whether states that have not approved same-sex marriages must recognize them.

Read history and facts about DOMA from the Human Rights Campaign.

Obama & Black Community Support

The momentum on this issue shifted dramatically last month when President Barack Obama finally publicly declared his support of same-sex marriage. To further support that announcement, the Justice Department did not intercede in the Boston decision in favor of DOMA, as it has done in the past.

What’s important in the days since Obama’s declaration is the growing support of same-sex marriage in the Black community. The NAACP, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other Black leaders have come out in support of marriage equality.

“I’m particularly heartened by the announcement from the NAACP. There’s a new realization that we’re all in this together and that nobody should be discriminated against,” says retired U.S. Navy Captain Joan Darrah, a former board member of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Darrah was a leader in the fight to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military and is part of a continuing legal battle to give partners of gay and lesbian service members equal military benefits.

Darrah sees the momentum shifting on the federal level, although she thinks it could be a long battle to get some states—including Virginia, where she lives with her partner—to change.

Creating an Inclusive Culture

If your organization isn’t supportive of equality for everyone, here are some tips garnered from the DiversityInc Top 50 on how to build an inclusive workplace.

  • Require cultural-competence diversity training. Mandatory training that includes factual, educational information on LGBT groups is a must. Eighty-six percent of The 2012 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity now require diversity training for their managers, compared with 78 percent five years ago. Sixty-eight percent require diversity training for their entire workforces, compared with 58 percent five years ago. Read DiversityInc’s LGBT Pride Facts & Figures, which you can use for educational purposes. Click here information on our diversity-training courses.
  • Use your resource groups to create more inclusive workplaces. Your LGBT resource group is a great start. Make sure its name includes the word “friends,” “allies” or “straight” so people who are not LGBT or are not out are comfortable joining. Ensure that members of this resource group are included in prominent roles in company events and publications, that they meet frequently with senior leaders, and that they set up company-wide educational programs. Read Our Analysis of the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index.
  • Maintain a “no-tolerance-for-bigotry” policy for everyone. Core diversity-management values are essential to an organization, emanating from the very top. Those values must include an absolute adherence to diversity and inclusion for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religious background, disability and, especially, orientation. Read Diversity Management 101 and The Four Stages of Diversity Management.

–Barbara Frankel

Latest News

AT&T

AT&T Celebrates the Aspire Accelerator Class of 2020

Originally published on ATT.com Immersed Games and Social Cipher win annual “Pitches with Purpose” competition; each receive $25K award Yesterday, eight education technology companies graduated from the Aspire Accelerator and competed in an all-virtual “Shark Tank” style “Pitches with Purpose” for two $25,000 prizes – one awarded by a panel…

NelsonHall Recognizes ADP as a Leader in the Efficiency Focused NEAT Graph for Cloud-Based HR Transformation Services 2020 Evaluation

Originally published on ADP.com ADP acknowledged for improving processes, lowering costs and providing better decision-making driven by analytics and automation for clients Industry analyst firm NelsonHall has positioned ADP as a Leader in its Efficiency Focused NEAT chart for Cloud-Based HR Transformation Services. ADP rated highly for its ability to…

Humana

Humana CEO Bruce Broussard Named Businessperson of the Year

Originally posted on Humana LinkedIn. Humana ranked No. 25 for The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020. We’d like to congratulate CEO Bruce Broussard on being named one of Fortune‘s 2020 Businesspersons of the Year. “Since being named CEO of the health insurer in 2013, Broussard has continued Humana’s push into…

Child studying to improve test scores

Test Scores Drop Dramatically for Black, Hispanic and Poor Children Due to COVID-19; Nasdaq Moves to Require Diversity for Listed Companies; and More

Math and reading test scores have dropped dramatically for Black, Hispanic and poor children due to COVID-19, new study warns. Results of lockdowns, home-schooling, and Zoom classrooms as a result of COVID-19 are starting to come in, and the numbers aren’t good. According to a review of more than 4…

Trump

The Platinum Plan: How Trump Increased His Black Vote by 50% and What We Can Learn From It

Do you know what Donald Trump’s “Platinum Plan” was? Most Black people I know do. Most white people have never heard of it. The plan — a two-page document released just weeks before the 2020 election — details the four pillars of Trump’s commitment to Black Americans (Opportunity, Security, Prosperity…

HIV, AIDS, Misconception

Fact Check: Misconceptions About HIV/AIDS

Similar to the coronavirus and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020, many of the misconceptions and stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS have been fueled by fear. Although information surrounding the disease is more accessible now that we’re months into the pandemic, many people still misunderstand the condition, the treatment options,…

President-elect Joe Biden with senior adviser Symone Sanders

Biden and Harris Announce All-Female White House Communications Team; After 9 Long Months, COVID-19 Hits New Peak; and More

Biden and Harris announce entirely female-led White House communications team. President-elect Joe Biden’s transition to the White House continues at a brisk pace. On Monday, Nov. 30th, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received their first daily Presidential intelligence briefings. A day earlier, CBS News has reported that the pair…

BASF Introduces Neutrol® MGDA, a Readily Biodegradable Complexing Agent for Personal Care Applications

Originally published on BASF.com. BASF ranked No. 14 on The Diversityinc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020. Highly stable over a wide pH range Eco-friendly and easy to formulate With Neutrol® MGDA, BASF’s Care Creations® is launching a highly stable, eco-friendly complexing agent (also called: chelating agent) for personal care applications….

Abbott Launches the First Infant Formula in Canada with an Ingredient Identical in Structure to Immune Component Found in Breast Milk

Originally published on Abbott.com. Abbott ranked No. 8 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020. 2′-Fucosyllactose Oligosaccharide†(2′-FL†) is now available in Abbott’s infant formula, Similac Pro-Advance® HMOs, like 2′-FL, in breast milk help support a baby’s immune system [1] HMOs, like 2′-FL, feed good bacteria in the…