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#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: February 22, 2016

by HRC staff February 22, 2016


NEW HRC REPORT: UNPRECEDENTED ONSLAUGHT OF ANTI-TRANS STATE LEGISLATION THIS YEAR: A new report from HRC released today details the alarming onslaught of legislation nationwide targeting transgender people, and particular children. HRC is already organizing in 16 states against the unprecedented 44 anti-transgender bills being considered. The quantity of these harmful bills is as striking as their diversity: some undercut the ability of transgender people to access gender-affirming health care; some create state-sanctioned avenues of anti-transgender discrimination; and others deny transgender people access to bathrooms, locker rooms, and athletic teams consistent with their gender identity. This disturbing proliferation of anti-trans bills, including 23 that target children in schools and school sports, is part of a stunning surge of more than 175 anti-LGBT bills in 32 states this year. The South Dakota legislature has already passed legislation that would, with the stroke of Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s pen, prevent transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. Fear and a lack of understanding of transgender people are driving these egregious measures, which are addressing phantom problems, and have the potential of risking the safety, security and well-being of transgender people, including children, across the nation. Read the full report here: bit.ly/1T1xN9y

HRC PRESIDENT CHAD GRIFFIN: IT’S TIME FOR AN LGBT SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: In a new op-ed in the Advocate, HRC President Chad Griffin calls on President Obama to build on his legacy of LGBT equality by nominating an openly LGBT Supreme Court justice. The op-ed reads in part, “To have a representative on our nation's highest court would send a powerful message to the millions of LGBT people who have struggled for recognition — and respect — for many decades….There is no question that cases that directly impact the rights of LGBT people will be considered by the Court in the coming years, and LGBT Americans deserve a voice on the bench that can speak personally and authentically about their own experiences facing discrimination in their schools, churches and communities.” Read the full op-ed here: bit.ly/1Qtx0rf

TRUMP RISING: ON EVE OF SOUTH CAROLINA WIN, TRUMP AGAIN OUTLINES ANTI-LGBT AGENDA: Just days before his convincing win in South Carolina, Donald Trump sat down with Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody to re-assure evangelical voters that they can “trust me” to oppose marriage equality. HRC President Chad Griffin on Trump’s victory: “Just this week, Donald Trump proudly said that he could be trusted to reverse nationwide marriage equality, and tonight he’s one step closer to the Republican nomination. Donald Trump’s calculated efforts to use division, fear and bigotry to score political points are dangerous and have no place in our country in the year 2016. Hillary Clinton is the candidate we can count on to defeat Trump -- or whichever one of these backwards anti-LGBT candidates emerges as the Republican nominee.” More here: bit.ly/1oDlvrn

CLINTON CLEANS UP IN NEVADA: HRC -- which opened an office in Nevada and sent staff to organize its members and supporters on behalf of Clinton -- released the following statement from President Chad Griffin following Clinton’s victory  “Today, the Silver State helped ensure we will send another champion for LGBT equality to the White House. We’re proud of HRC’s members and supporters throughout Nevada and across the country who have stepped up to fight alongside Hillary Clinton in this election. For millions of LGBT people across our nation, everything is at stake in November. The leading Republican contenders have campaigned to block future progress on LGBT equality and to revoke, repeal, and overturn the gains we’ve made during President Obama’s time in office, and we must ensure no opponent of equality ever occupies the Oval Office.  Hillary Clinton has proven she has the record, the vision, and the strategy to win and lead from her first day in office.” HRC has also sent staff to organize members and supporters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina ahead of next Saturday's primary. More here: bit.ly/1QbWKMZ

ICYMI: TRUST TED: CRUZ SUPER-PAC LAUNCHES ANTI-LGBT SMEAR IN SOUTH CAROLINA: WaPo’s David Weigel reports how a super PAC affiliated with Ted Cruz launched robocalls attacking Donald Trump on LGBT issues, claiming Trump opposed religious liberty and supported transgender equality. The reality? In recent weeks Trump has not only agreed to the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” which would lead to more Kim Davis-like discrimination, he’s also made clear he would appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would reverse nationwide marriage equality. Get the rundown on Trump’s latest anti-LGBT rhetoric here: bit.ly/1QVmoBV

STATE SNAPSHOT

GEORGIA HOUSE AND GOV. NATHAN DEAL MUST REJECT DISCRIMINATORY FIRST AMENDMENT DEFENSE ACT: Following the passage of H.B. 757 by the Georgia Senate on Friday, HRC and Georgia Equality are calling on House Leadership and Governor Nathan Deal to put a stop to this discriminatory legislation that would put LGBT people couples, single parents, and unmarried couples at risk for discrimination. Under H.B. 757, the so-called ‘First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia,’ state-contracted counselors could refuse to provide services to single mothers. Taxpayer funded adoption and foster care agencies could refuse to place children in desperate need of loving and caring homes with LGBT couples. State-funded homeless shelters could turn away unwed couples and their families. And government employees could refuse to file tax forms for same-sex couples or provide state benefits to single mothers. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, businesses are already pulling out of the state following the vote. Telecom startup 373k has decided to move to Nevada and we suspect they won’t be the last to make such arrangements. The Senate’s vote on H.B. 757 comes only a few days after new, nonpartisan polling from Public Religion Research Institute found that a majority of Georgians support protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing and access to public services by a 66-28 margin. Georgia is one of 33 states that lack explicit LGBT non-discrimination protections, and with H.B. 757, the state heads in the opposite direction with this despicable attempt by anti-equality activists to give explicit cover to taxpayer funded discrimination. More here: bit.ly/1QVhjJY  

MISSISSIPPI HOUSE PASSES DISCRIMINATORY “RELIGIOUS LIBERTY ACCOMMODATIONS ACT”: Last week, the Mississippi House of Representatives advanced H.B. 1523, the “Religious Liberty Accommodations Act.”  Sponsored by House Speaker Philip Gunn, this vile piece of legislation will allow individuals, religious organizations and private associations to use religion to discriminate against LGBT Mississippians, in some of the most important aspect of their lives, including at work, at schools, in their family life and more. The bill was passed by a vote of 80-39, and now heads to the Senate. Under H.B. 1523, faith-based organizations, including hospitals, could refuse to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples; deny children in need of loving homes with LGBT families; and refuse to sell or rent a for-profit home to an LGBT person -- even if the organization receives government funding. As introduced, it would also give foster families the freedom to submit an LGBTQ child to the dangerous practice of “conversion therapy,” and shame a pregnant unwed girl, without fear of government intervention or license suspension. H.B. 1523 even legalizes Kim Davis-style discrimination by allowing government employees to abdicate their duties and refuse to license or solemnize marriages for LGBT people. The “Religious Liberty Accommodations Act” is one of twelve anti-LGBT bills currently under consideration in Mississippi. More here: bit.ly/24mnOzg

TONIGHT, CHARLOTTE CITY COUNCIL TO VOTE ON LGBT PROTECTIONS: Tonight, the Charlotte City Council is set to vote on whether to advance city-wide non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in public accommodations, vehicles for hire, and in government contracting. Charlotte is currently one of the largest cities in the country without a law explicitly protecting LGBT residents and visitors from discrimination. Last month, newly-elected Mayor Jennifer Roberts hosted a two-hour long public forum, that was intended to bring together all interested parties for a discussion on non-discrimination protections, before reviving the ordinance that failed by a 6 to 5 vote last year. Over the weekend, Republican governor Pat McCrory weighed in saying in no uncertain terms that the state will get involved if the ordinance is passed, and referred to the situation as a public safety issue. TurnOut! Charlotte, a coalition of HRC, Equality North Carolina and MeckPAC, has been spearheading efforts to pass these crucial protections and amplify the voices of pro-equality Charlotteans. Last November, the coalition successfully helped elect a pro-equality majority to the the Charlotte City Council that is in support of the ordinance. More here: bit.ly/1PSfks3

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL?: St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson is telling parishes to pull up the welcome mat when it comes to Girl Scouts troops, slamming the wonderfully inclusive, girl-empowering organization as “exhibiting a troubling pattern of behavior” that “is becoming increasingly incompatible with our Catholic values.”  His directive affects more than 4,000 Girl Scouts who meet in Catholic Church properties in the St. Louis region. This part of Carlson’s edict is mind-boggling: “Organizations that [the Girl Scouts of the USA] promotes and partners with are in conflict with Catholic values, such as Amnesty International, Coalition for Adolescent Girls, OxFam and more. This is especially troubling in regards to sex education and advocacy for ‘reproductive rights’ (i.e. abortion and contraceptive access, even for minors).” Goodness. Is is still ok to buy Girl Scout cookies? “Each person must act in accord with their conscience,” the archdiocese advises. Ten boxes of Thin Mints, please. More here: bit.ly/1oXF7Gw

INDIANA HOUSE COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN SAYS SHE DOESN’T HAVE TIME FOR HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION: The chairwoman of the House committee that was set to consider the state’s first hate crimes legislation says she doesn’t have time for the bill. Passed by the Senate, the legislation would have created tougher sentences for crimes motivated by hatred against Hoosiers based on a number of characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity. The state’s anti-LGBT Republican lawmakers continue to block efforts to pass fully inclusive LGBT non-discrimination protections, and it looks like they are going to do everything they can to stop hate crimes legislation as well. More here: trib.in/1mSSK8i and bit.ly/1T1ziVp

PRO-TRANSGENDER LEGISLATION ADVANCES IN COLORADO: Good news out of Colorado! A House committee has advanced legislation that would make it easier for transgender Coloradans to change their names on their birth certificates. Under the bill, gender-affirming surgery would not be required to get birth certificates amended. According to the Associated Press, similar legislation was rejected the state’s republican Senate last year. More here: bit.ly/1VzmkvC

EVANGELICALS FORCE DELAY OF POLICY PROTECTING TRANS STUDENT: A New Jersey school district, under pressure from an evangelical couple, has put on hold a supportive and inclusive policy allowing transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. Shawn and Glennys Hyland used a Change.org petition to garner opposition to the Toms River Regional Schools policy, which would allow students, with their parents’ written consent, to enroll or re-enroll in the school distirct as the gender consistent with their identity. The AP reports that several other New Jersey school districts have adopted similar policies. More here: bit.ly/1Tvnmtx and bit.ly/1Tvnmtx

JUDGE DISMISSES LAWSUIT CHALLENGING PROTECTIONS FOR LGBT STUDENTS IN VIRGINIA COUNTY: Last week, A Virginia judge threw out a lawsuit by Andrea Lafferty, of the conservative Traditional Values Coalition, which challenges Fairfax County Public Schools over their policy which bans discrimination against LGBT students and staff. The coalition claimed that the board overstepped its authority because the state of Virginia does not grant protections on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity. Not surprisingly, Lafferty’s lawyer is the one and only Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, the anti-LGBT group representing Kim Davis. The Liberty Counsel plans to appeal the case today. More here: wapo.st/24mnOiR

AROUND THE WORLD

MARRIAGE EQUALITY ON ITS WAY TO FINLAND: Last week, over a year after passing an initiative for gender neutral marriage, the Finnish government has at last finalized the country’s marriage equality legislation. Same-sex couple will now be able to marry, and registered same-sex partnerships will be converted into marriages. Despite this huge progress,  couples seeking to get married will still have to wait until March of next year due to the country’s complicated legal system. More here: bit.ly/1L5NNVc

MALTESE GOVERNMENT AND CATHOLIC CHURCH AT ODDS OVER ‘CONVERSION THERAPY’ LEGISLATION: Proposed legislation banning “conversion therapy” in Malta has the Church at odds with the government. In response to the bill, the Church released a position paper warning that banning the practice would “affirm the superior legal status of homosexuals over heterosexuals,” as well as “promote discrimination, disrespect for personal autonomy and distrust in the accountability of professional bodies.” Naturally, people weren’t to happy with this sentiment and opponents fired back with their own position paper in response. Under the proposed bill, counsellors, educator, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, family therapists and pathologists found to be offering or practising conversion therapy, will face up to one year in prison and a fine of 10,000 euros. Non-professionals will be subject to 5,000 euros and 6 months in jail. Should the bill pass, Malta will be the first nation in Europe to ban conversion therapy. The Prime Minister of Malta, Joesph Muscat was quick to denounce the Church’s paper. More here: bit.ly/1mSQyh1

ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER EAGER TO PASS CIVIL UNIONS BILL: In light of the month long battle that has ensued in the Italian Parliament over civil union legislation, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is ready to call for a confidence vote in an attempt to push the legislation through, telling his party, “we are at a crossroads.” The bill has been repeatedly challenged by the Catholic Church and parliament where last week’s vote was postponed due to concerns about a provision that would allow same-sex couples to adopt children if one of the partners is the child’s biological parent. Opponents have argued that it would lead to surrogacy--which is strictly banned in the country. By calling for a confidence vote, Renzi would risk having to resign should the vote fail. Italy remains the only country in Western Europe that still does not have some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples, and supporters have been holding rallies and protests for weeks, urging lawmakers to take action. More here: abcn.ws/1Q5zBZ6 and here: bit.ly/1L5NJ7K

READING (DOUBLE) RAINBOW

International Business Times chronicles the battle for LGBT workplace protections across the states…. The St. Louis Public Radio previews the 2016 Out Games…. KHON2 sits down with a Wisconsin mom who became an LGBT activists following the suicide of her transgender son…. NPR profiles a church in Phoenix working to create a community for transgender youth in the city…. BBC News outlines a new report on the challenges transgender people in the UK face when trying to get hormone therapy and surgery…. The Associated Press highlights the efforts of two University of Oregon fraternities, that will be accepting transgender men into their groups for the first time…. BuzzFeed points out that Ted Cruz’s campaign has advisers who back marriage equality… Fox News explores the CIA’s new diversity initiative to recruit transgender candidates… The Associated Press looks at the tourism impact of South Dakota’s anti-trans bill… CBS New York takes us out to the ball game with the Mets’ LGBT-themed Pride Night… Advocate looks at the 12 most anti-LGBT states by legislation… Deccan Chronicle navigates Google’s new ‘Places of Pride’ map… The Japan Times explores the arguments for and against sexual orientation protections… The Christian Science Monitor profiles the multiple bills in the South challenging marriage equality… and The Tennessean chronicles the anti-LGBT bills proposed in the state.


Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to A.M. Equality, and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!





HRC staff
HRC staff

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