Advocacy Report: AHA Supports AIDS Awareness, Adoption Rights, Youth Justice

This spring the American Humanist Association vocalized its support in Congress on a number of issues, from women’s rights, to LGBT to rights, to the anti-bullying campaign.

In light of the 30th Anniversary of the AIDS epidemic, 90 members of Congress introduced H.R. 1880: Status Report on the 30th Anniversary of HIV/AIDS Act. Sponsored by Representative Barbara Lee (D – CA), H.R. 1880 seeks to report “on the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and on the status of international progress towards achieving universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment, and for other purposes.”

The American Humanist Association also signed on a letter spearheaded by Americans United for Separation of Church and State advocating for changes made to “Participation by Religious Organizations in USAID Programs,” which was published in the Federal Register on March 25, 2011. The proposed changes stripped the 2004 implemented regulation which prevented USAID funds from being “used for the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of structures to the extent that they are used for inherently religious activities,” defying recommendations made by the Council and Executive Order 13559, recently issued by President Obama.

Representative Pete Stark, who sponsored H.R. 81, the resolution to designate February 12, 2011 as Darwin Day, recently reintroduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, H.R. 1681, into Congress. H.R. 1681 “prohibits discrimination in adoption or foster care placements based on the sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status of any prospective adoptive or foster parent, or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the child involved.”

In April, the American Humanist Association signed on to the ACLU’s coalition letter opposing H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. This bill would have severely limit abortion access to those relying solely on government healthcare. Currently, federal law restrictions on government funded abortions include exemptions for rape, incest, and instances in which the mother’s life is in danger. H.R. 3 originally sought to restrict its rape exemption to “forcible rape” only.

The American Humanist Association proudly supported the proposals made by the Campaign for Youth Justice regarding the regulations on the implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). The initiative asked the Department of Justice to ban the placement of youth (those under 18 years of age) in adult jails and prisons in an effort to prevent violence, sexual assault, and rape aimed at minors. We also joined the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association’s initiative to stop the denial of green card applications for the spouses of American as the Defense of Marriage Act litigation pends, as well as the ACLU’s initiative strongly supporting the Student Non-Discrimination Act in the House (H.R. 998) and Senate (S. 555).

The LGBT Humanist Council, a project of the American Humanist Association, also signed on as a Community Partner with Abington Against Discrimination and Defamation. AADD is hosting Kickoff to Equality: A Celebration, which is the start of a series of events in Abington, Pennsylvania to promote the passage of a Non-Discrimination Ordinance that would protect all residents, including LGBTQs.