HRC PREVIEWS 2016 ANTI-LGBT STATE AND LOCAL LEGISLATION: HRC has released a preview of the state and local legislative battles in the year ahead, including anti-LGBT bills likely to be considered in at least 27 states. Legislatures in 46 states and the District of Columbia are scheduled to convene during the first four months of 2016, with 33 in session by the end of next week. In 2015, more than 115 anti-LGBT bills were introduced in at least 31 states. In 2016, we’re expecting more than two dozen state legislatures to consider anti-equality measures, but are also highlighting opportunities to advance LGBT equality in the upcoming year. See the analysis on key states here: bit.ly/1RmxwgK
HRC TO HONOR GOV. CUOMO AND SIGOURNEY WEAVER AT NYC GALA: Today, HRC announced that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and award-winning actor Sigourney Weaver will be honored at the 2016 Greater New York Gala. Governor Cuomo will be presented with the National Equality Award. From fighting for marriage equality, to combating HIV/AIDS, to removing obstacles and improving opportunities for transgender Americans, Governor Cuomo has made LGBT equality a core part of his agenda during his tenure. Award-winning actor Sigourney Weaver will be honored with HRC’s Ally for Equality Award for her tremendous advocacy on behalf of LGBT equality throughout her career. As previously announced, multi-award winning artist Bill T. Jones will be honored with the HRC Visibility Award for his work to bring to light the struggles and resilience of those living with HIV. Grammy Award-winning British singer and songwriter Jess Glynne is set to perform at the February 6 the gathering. More here: http://bit.ly/1PNOv86
HILLARY CLINTON ON WHAT’S AT STAKE: As republicans threaten to appoint Supreme Court Justices that would overturn marriage equality, in her op-ed today in the Boston Globe, Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton reminds us just how much is at stake in this upcoming Presidential election. She writes, “I remember the day last June when the Supreme Court declared marriage equality the law of the land.... It was as clear a reminder as any of what the court can do: stand for equality, or against it; make America a fairer place, or roll back the progress we’ve worked so hard to achieve. It depends on what the Court decides. It depends on who is deciding.”
‘BAMA BITES BACK: Several Alabama counties are standing up for marriage equality after Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an order banning all probate judges in the state from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Madison County is officially granting licenses to all couples, as reported by WAFF-TV. Another probate judge from Montgomery, Steven L. Reed, took to Twitter to share his disgust over Moore’s order. Additionally, two federal prosecutors in Alabama, Joyce White Vance of the Northern District of Alabama and Kenyen Brown of the Southern District of Alabama, are warning probate judges that defying the U.S. Supreme Court is, indeed, against the law. Moore doesn’t have a leg to stand on. If he continues to refuse to follow the law, he should be removed from office. More here: nydn.us/1Rlm9pt and bit.ly/1ZcifTU
EEOC FILES AMICUS BRIEF ASKING THAT SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION BE CONSIDERED SEX DISCRIMINATION: Yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed an amicus brief in the case Burrows v. The College of Central Florida, arguing that sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, which is in violation of Title VII. They wrote, “Sexual orientation discrimination necessarily involves sex stereotyping, as it results in the adverse treatment of individuals because their orientation does not conform to heterosexually defined gender norms. Because such discrimination is at heart based on gender stereotypes, it violates Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination against employees ‘because of . . . sex.’” The plaintiff in the case, Barbara Burrows, who is a lesbian, filed the case earlier this year. She argued that she was let go from her job at The College Of Central Florida, the defendant, because she was married to a woman. The brief, which was filed at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, marks another step for the EEOC. Last year, the EEOC released a decision clarifying that workers are protected under Title VII from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. An earlier EEOC decision determined that gender identity discrimination is a form of sex discrimination. More here: bit.ly/1RmxqWu and bzfd.it/22NT2yC
NEW CDC REPORT ON SEXUALITY IN ADULTS: A new Centers for Disease Control report on sexual behavior, attraction and identity among adults in the U.S. reveals that both men and women under age 45 are more likely to identify as bisexual today than they were earlier this decade. Findings released this week from the CDC’s 2011-2013 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) also show that about seven percent of women and four percent of men in that age group describe themselves as LGB, compared to five percent of women and three percent of men who identified as such in the 2006-2008 survey. The report corroborates previous research suggesting that half or more of LGBT people in the U.S. are bisexual, with women almost three times more likely to identify as bisexual. While bisexual people have long been prominent members and activists in LGBT communities, advocates are drawing attention to issues where bisexual experiences and needs differ from those of gay and lesbian people. In September 2015, HRC partnered with BiNet USA, Bisexual Resource Center and the Bisexual Organizing Project to release a report on health disparities among bisexual people. More here: bit.ly/1PMKl0l and cnn.it/1ZQF38J
CONGRESS PARTIALLY LIFTS FEDERAL BAN ON FUNDING FOR SYRINGE EXCHANGE PROGRAMS: In the waning days of the 2015 congressional session, Congress took a significant step to help reduce the transmission of HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and other bloodborne pathogens spread through injection drug use, by including a partial lift of the federal ban on funding syringe exchange programs. Now the federal government can, and hopefully will, make resources available to pay for program supplies and staff expenses. Removing the funding ban has been one of HRC’s legislative priorities for addressing HIV/AIDS, We’ll be working with our allies on Capitol Hill to have Congress provide the resources for these critical prevention programs to operate in communities across the country. More here: bit.ly/1PRd0mG and bzfd.it/22NTgWr
HOUSE REPUBLICANS REJECT SAFEGUARDING PROTECTIONS FOR LGBT FEDERAL CONTRACTORS: Yesterday, during the consideration of a bill to require federal agencies to cut costs by eliminating existing regulations, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) offered a procedural motion to exempt regulations implementing President Obama’s executive order protecting LGBT employees of federal contractors from discrimination, guaranteeing these important protections would be shielded from any potential cuts. As is often the case with these procedural motions, the amendment failed along party lines on a vote of 178 to 239. HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy responded to the news saying, "We’re disappointed that the House of Representatives refused to protect the landmark LGBT federal contractor executive order. This was a missed opportunity for a bipartisan majority to reaffirm the essential nature of these protections. We appreciate the leadership of Rep. David Cicilline and House Democrats in highlighting this critical protection.” More here: http://bit.ly/1PSO9z2
OP-ED: STRONGER LGBT INCLUSIVE POLICIES, STRONGER BOTTOM LINE: HRC President Chad Griffin wrote a post for the World Economic Forum’s blog highlighting the importance of LGBT inclusion in the workplace. As world leaders are set to descend on Davos for the World Economic Forum, it is clear that businesses have set a tremendous pace for equality, and that lawmakers in many places need to catch up. Last year, at the Clinton Global Initiative’s Annual Meeting, HRC launched a coalition of businesses for LGBT inclusion in the workforce. These companies, and others who are scored on HRC’s annual Corporate Equality Index, are a testament to the strong business case for LGBT equality. Read the blog here: http://bit.ly/1VPVsI2
ALTERNATIVE NON-DISCRIMINATION BILL IN INDIANA LEAVES OUT GENDER IDENTITY: A non-discrimination bill introduced in Indiana as an alternative to an unacceptable version already pre-filed, also fell far short of the mark by excluding gender identity. Trying to repair the damage caused to the state’s reputation last year when Governor Pence (R) signed into law legislation allowing individuals to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against LGBT people and other minorities (he later signed another bill trying to limit that damage), the new bill introduced by Republican State Sen. Travis Holdman would unacceptably leave transgender Hoosiers at risk of discrimination. Shockingly on the House side, news reports reveal that Republican lawmakers are not even interested in making it a priority to repair the state’s reputation by ensuring all LGBT Hoosiers are protected from discrimination. More here: http://bit.ly/1n7T2sF And here: http://indy.st/1OEupOB
LGBT NON-DISCRIMINATION BILLS COMING TO VIRGINIA: Virginia Del.-Elect Mark Levine (D-Alexandria), who is openly gay, plans to introduce new legislation that will protect LGBT Virginians against discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. Levine told WRIC that if the country is okay with same-sex couples marrying, then it only makes sense to protect their civil rights. Currently, 31 states nationwide lack explicit and inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBT people at the state level. More here: http://bit.ly/1UC71Bs
AROUND THE WORLD
MALAWI PRESIDENT SAYS HE WANTS TO PROTECT LGBT RIGHTS: Malawi President Peter Mutharika has reiterated his plan to protect LGBT rights. Echoing his December 2015 sentiments, he has yet again voiced his support for granting protections to the LGBT community by asking the government to temporarily suspend the enforcement of anti-LGBT laws. Same-sex relationships are currently punishable by up to 14 years in jail, according to the country’s penal code. More here: http://bzfd.it/1kSfO6d
Metro Weekly explores how local laws are leading LGBT equality… Human Rights Watch explores the ups and downs of LGBT equality around the world… The Advocate interviews the bisexual woman who called out Ben Carson on his anti-LGBT views… and the Georgia Voice recaps what went down at a recent debate over newly proposed religious freedom legislation in the state.
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