MARCO RUBIO TELLS MARRIED GAY MAN--SITTING WITH HIS HUSBAND--TO GET LEGISLATURE TO APPROVE HIS MARRIAGE: Yesterday, video emerged of presidential candidate Marco Rubio telling a married gay man that he believed marriage should be between “one man and one woman.” After the voter tells Rubio that his opinion is not shared by half the country, Rubio callously tells the man he should “have the law changed by the legislature.” Memo to Marco Rubio: Not only did New Hampshire enact civil unions through the legislative process in 2007, it legalized marriage equality by the same process in 2009, and furthermore PRRI has reported that a 75 percent majority of New Hampshire residents support marriage equality. HRC’s JoDee Winterhof blasted Rubio by saying, “Let’s dispense with this fiction that Marco Rubio is a moderate. He knows exactly what he’s doing when he telegraphs his desire to allow discrimination in last week’s debate, and then tells a married gay man to have the legislature vote on his Constitutional rights. Marco Rubio’s so-called ‘New American Century’ is one in which LGBT people are treated like second-class citizens, where they remain at risk for being fired or denied a job because of who they are or who they love, and where they could lose the right to get married.” Throughout his campaign, Rubio has committed to reversing nationwide marriage equality by appointing judges who would reverse the Supreme Court’s ruling and signing into law the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) which would enable more Kim Davis-like discrimination. More on Rubio’s appalling record here: hrc.org/2016RepublicanFacts/marco-rubio
SOUTH DAKOTA HOUSE APPROVES TAXPAYER-FUNDED DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBT PEOPLE AND SINGLE MOTHERS: Yesterday, the South Dakota House of Representatives passed yet another extreme measure attacking LGBT South Dakotans. By a vote of 46 to 10, the chamber passed HB 1107 – legislation that would explicitly authorize recipients of taxpayer funds or other state recognition to discriminate against same-sex couples, transgender people, and single mothers. HB 1107 is the second piece of anti-LGBT legislation that the chamber has passed this year. Just last month, the House passed HB 1008 – a deplorable attempt to prevent transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. “Anti-equality lawmakers in the South Dakota House of Representatives are sending a shameful message of intolerance and discrimination in the Mount Rushmore State,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “With far-reaching implications, HB 1107 would explicitly authorize taxpayer-funded discrimination against same-sex couples, transgender South Dakotans, and single mothers. This deplorable attack on basic fairness and equality must be stopped, and we call on the state’s Senators to block both of the anti-LGBT bills passed by the House before they threaten the rights and dignity of the state’s LGBT residents and visitors, and jeopardize South Dakota’s reputation and economic prospects.” More here: http://bit.ly/1TQ8NBd
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE SENATOR SAYS TRANSGENDER PEOPLE ARE “TWISTED”: HRC and the ACLU of South Dakota have condemned South Dakota Republican State Senator David Omdahl for outrageous comments he made this past weekend in favor of an extreme bill attacking the rights and dignity of transgender students. Referring to HB 1008 -- a bill that seeks to prevent transgender students in public schools from using facilities consistent with their gender identity -- the vehemently anti-equality lawmaker said transgender people are “twisted” and should be subjected to psychological treatment to change their gender identity. Such barbaric practices of so-called “conversion therapy” have been banned in numerous jurisdictions and are tantamount to psychological abuse. Passed through the state’s House of Representatives, HB 1008 would put state law in direct conflict with the U.S. Department of Education and force public schools to pay the costs of legal challenges. It would force school districts into the untenable position of choosing between state and federal law, putting them at risk of losing federal funds under Title IX. In April of 2014, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance informing public schools that Title IX protects students against discrimination based on gender identity. More here: http://bit.ly/1SEFFO6
CHARLOTTE CITY COUNCIL OFFICIALLY SETS DATE FOR NON-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE: By a 7-3 vote yesterday, the Charlotte City Council scheduled February 22nd as the day they will officially vote to extend public accommodations protections to the LGBT community. Prior to the vote last night, council members held a public discussion where the city attorney answered several questions about the city’s ability to pass such an ordinance. Anti-equality activists from the First Baptist Church and N.C. Values Coalitions continued their usual attack on transgender women in women’s bathrooms even threatening to take the fight to the ballot box should the ordinance be passed. Last night’s meeting follows a two-hour community forum held last week, which public officials hosted in an effort to bring all sides together before reviving the ordinance that failed on a 6 to 5 vote last year. The TurnOUT! Charlotte coalition, a partnership between Equality North Carolina, MeckPAC and HRC, which helped elect a pro-equality majority to the city council, has relaunched in an effort to pass the ordinance. More here: http://bit.ly/1nYHw3I and here: http://bit.ly/23UCTrC
BOSTON GLOBE: EVERYONE DESERVES THE RIGHT TO USE PUBLIC BATHROOMS: The Boston Globe Editorial Board has come out in support of legislation that would ban discrimination against transgender people in public places such as parks, restaurants, libraries and other public accommodations. Though the bill has support from the majority of the state Senate, House Speaker Robert DeLeo is working to secure the two-thirds vote that is required to override a potential veto from Republican Governor Charlie Baker. Opponents have been vilifying the transgender community with their usual line of attack calling it a safety issue and a “recipe for disaster." The board totally calls out this falsity saying, “Research has shown that the true danger is to transgender individuals, who are more likely to face discrimination, which could lead to physical and mental health issues. In fact, Attorney General Maura Healey said her office received seven complaints last year from transgender people who have faced discrimination in public places.” There is already a law in the state protecting transgender people from discrimination in employment and housing. The bill is backed by professional sports teams out of New England, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Attorney General Maura Healey. Let’s continue to shine a light on the lies the right loves to peddle. More here: http://bit.ly/1K8lyVz
MAJORITY OF ANCHORAGE VOTERS BACK LGBT-INCLUSIVE NON-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE: A new poll found that a majority of Anchorage voters support an LGBT inclusive non-discrimination ordinance that the Anchorage Assembly passed last year. “Of 311 registered voters, 70 percent said they either strongly or mildly supported adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes for employment and housing in city law,” the Alaska Dispatch News reported. In September, the Anchorage Assembly voted 9-2 in support the ordinance, which protects LGBT citizens in employment, housing and public accommodations.While anti-equality advocates are working to get the ordinance on the ballot, 62 percent said they would not repeal the law. In HRC’s 2015 Municipal Equality Index, which examines the laws, policies, and services of municipalities and rates them on the basis of their inclusivity of LGBT people who live and work there, Anchorage received an 81 out of 100. HRC was on the ground in Anchorage last year working with local and state partners to pass the ordinance, and continues to partner with Fair Anchorage to defend the protections. More here: http://bit.ly/1TOK7cf
FLORIDA LAWMAKERS WEAKEN LGBT NON-DISCRIMINATION BILL: Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Competitive Workforce Act, a bill that would update the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations, housing and employment. Florida Politics reports on what turned into a heated debate where opponents consistently brought up concerns regarding access to public bathroom facilities. Yet again, this is another instance of anti-equality activists using fear mongering and scare tactics to promote vicious falsehoods about the transgender community. Committee members accepted an amendment from Republican State Senator David Simmons that removes protections based on “gender expression,” which would impact many transgender and gender nonconforming people. The bill could be back for further committee action as soon as today. More here: http://bit.ly/20lZZmu and here: http://fla.st/1TavMra
BREVARD, FL SCHOOL DISTRICT CONSIDERING LGBT PROTECTIONS: Daniel and Scott Wall-DeSouza, who successfully challenged Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, are now turning their attention to their school district, and according to Florida Today, their work advocating for a ban on anti-LGBT harassment may be paying off. Today, the Brevard School Board is set to discuss expanding its existing non-discrimination protections to include LGBT students and staff. School Board Chair Andy Ziegler spoke positively of the possible development saying that there is “no harm in clarifying” that harassment of LGBT students is unacceptable. More here: http://on.flatoday.com/20lZY1V
10 VOTES IN A 7-PERSON COMMITTEE?: Georgia State House Republicans took advantage of an often-unused rule in order to vote against LGBT protections in Georgia. When House Bill 849, a rule to prevent businesses from discriminating against certain groups, went to committee, State Rep. Taylor Bennett proposed an amendment that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the bill. The amendment failed 6-4 in a committee that typically only has seven people. How does this make sense? Well, two State House Republicans and the House Majority Whip took advantage of a rule that allows members of committees to vote on any subcommittee. This means three members of the Georgia House took the time to vote in a committee they otherwise would never vote in, purely to ensure that LGBT Georgians can continue to be at risk of discrimination . The Atlanta Journal-Constitution believes that the amendment would have passed if only the committee’s members had voted. More here: http://bit.ly/1Le9q0f and http://bit.ly/1SFVhB8
AROUND THE WORLD
COLUMBIA CONSIDERING BOLD PRO-EQUALITY MOVE: This week, Colombia’s Constitutional Court is expected to rule on whether same-sex couples have the right to marry, a move that would make Columbia the 20th country to embrace marriage equality for all citizens. But in a surprising move, the Colombian Ministry of Interior has released a draft presidential decree that outlines all the pro-LGBT legislation and court decisions that have occurred in the country to date, and suggests recommendations for the government regarding full legal equality for LGBT Colombians. The Ministry will be taking public comment on the decree until February 28, when it will be given to the president’s administration for review. Columbia has slowly been moving the needle towards equality for same-sex couples. The Court legalized adoption by same-sex couples last November, saying that adoption agencies could not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. More here: http://bit.ly/1Q5fmd9
Salon explores the changing rhetoric of the Christian right when defending anti-LGBT legislation… LGBTQ Nation looks and how LGBT organizations are changing post-marriage equality… and The Associated Press covers three Kentucky activists suing the State Police after being arrested in a silent protest last year.
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