HILLARY CLINTON TURNS SPOTLIGHT INTO NATIONAL CONVERSATION ABOUT ENDING HIV: Following criticism for inaccurate remarks about the Reagan Administration’s response to the AIDS epidemic, Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton rightfully apologized in a Medium post Saturday. We commend her for not only taking ownership, but for more importantly, reigniting a national conversation about ending HIV. As she writes, while so much progress has been made over the past few decades, “HIV and AIDS are still with us. They continue to disproportionately impact communities of color, transgender people, young people and gay and bisexual men. There are still 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States today, with about 50,000 people newly diagnosed each year. In Sub-Saharan Africa, almost 60 percent of people with HIV are women and girls.” With new medications like PreP, a once-daily pill to prevent HIV, we have the tools to curb the HIV and AIDS crisis and remain committed to working with Secretary Clinton to create an AID-free generations. Read her post here: bit.ly/1UbcxhK
SPY AGENCIES TO HOLD LGBT PANEL AT SXSW: In a historic move for the U.S. intelligence community, this week at SXSW, U.S. spy agencies have announced an event called “America’s LGBT Spies: Secret Agents of Change,” where openly gay service members will share their experiences working in a high-pressure environment and fighting for equal rights at their respective organizations. The event is part of a larger effort to attract and hire more LGBT recruits. Speakers include Katrina Gossman of the FBI, who was the first in the agency to marry her partner under Massachusetts’ marriage law in 2004, Kris Gill, an official of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and Tracey Ballard, who came out while working at the CIA back in 1988. More here: reut.rs/1V6ohSb
EQUALITY CONVENTION RECAP: Over the weekend, HRC hosted its annual Spring Equality Convention, a gathering of hundreds of volunteers from across the country. This year, attendees had the opportunity to hear from the extraordinary Senator Cory Booker, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. Senator Booker spoke on the need for advocates to 'stay faithful” on the long road ahead, Ambassador Power discussed the persecution of LGBT people worldwide by government entities and terror groups like ISIL, and Robby Mook highlighted Hillary Clinton’s strong record on LGBT equality and announced the first national LGBT campaign fundraiser for her on March 30.
COCA-COLA, SALESFORCE SPEAK OUT AGAINST GEORGIA FADA: Coca-Cola and Salesforce, both members of the Business Coalition for the Equality Act, spoke out against the discriminatory so-called “First Amendment Defense Act,” further pointing out the potential economic backlash against such a bill. This legislation could allow taxpayer-funded organizations to discriminate and refuse services to LGBT people, as well as other groups such as single mothers. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff spoke to CNN about the bill, stating that he would pull Salesforce’s large annual convention out of Atlanta if the state passes allowing discrimination against LGBT people. Coca-Cola and Salesforce have also joined Georgia Prospers, a business coalition united for equality in the state. Earlier this month, HRC joined the Georgia United Against Discrimination coalition to deliver more than 75,000 email petitions to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, asking him to veto this bill. More here: on-ajc.com/1RJvXED and watch Benioff’s CNN interview here: cnnmon.ie/1Ut59wZ
TENNESSEE GOV. CONCERNED ABOUT ANTI-TRANS BILL THAT IS SCHEDULED FOR COMMITTEE HEARINGS THIS WEEK: Buzzfeed reports that Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam is concerned about efforts to pass anti-transgender legislation in his state that seeks to force transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity. According to Jennifer Donnals, the governor’s press secretary, Haslam’s concerns are similar to those of South Dakota Governor Daugaard who recently vetoed similar legislation. Donnals told Buzzfeed, “The governor does have financial concerns over the loss of Title IX funding...Currently in Tennessee, this issue is being handled on a local basis, situation by situation. The governor trusts our teachers and local school boards to make necessary accommodations in those situations.” The concurrent bills, which are scheduled to be heard by the House Education Administration and Planning Subcommittee tomorrow and the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, are even more egregious than the appalling legislation vetoed in South Dakota. Several major national child welfare, medical, and education groups have strongly condemned this type of discriminatory legislation that would only further marginalize transgender students. More here: bzfd.it/1nIBKlA
MISSOURI GOV. CONTINUES TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST VICIOUS ANTI-LGBT PROPOSAL: Last week, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon blasted Republicans in the state legislature for advancing SJR39 -- a measure that would enshrine discrimination against LGBT people and their families into the state constitution. Nixon told reporters, “It just shortens that field again and takes away the focus of what they said are their priorities this year. I just want to reorient folks here as to what we need to get accomplished.” Senate Republicans passed the resolution after the Senate Democrats led a historic filibuster effort to stop the anti-equality majority. Gov. Nixon is not alone in speaking out against this dangerous bill. It has received widespread condemnation from fair-minded Missourians and businesses throughout the state, including the St. Louis Regional Chamber, Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto as well as Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The discriminatory proposal now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration, and if it passes, it would go directly to the ballot later this year. Nixon would have no opportunity to veto it. More here: bit.ly/1U0HfdU
NCAA AND BIG 12 TOURNAMENT LATEST TO COME OUT AGAINST MISSOURI’S SJR39: In a radio interview Friday, Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte said that the NCAA and Big 12 have joined the growing list of people and organizations to express concern over Missouri’s SJR39. Schulte said, “We’ve heard from the NCAA. There’s been some conversation with the Big 12. We’ve had some contracts with the Figure Skating Association.... There’s no reason why, if we passed this legislation, the Big 12 couldn’t come to us and say, ‘We no longer think you’re a welcoming environment. We’re going to pull it and go to Oklahoma City or Dallas.’” With Indiana losing an estimated $60 million in tourism and convention business over a similar controversy last year, there’s a lot to be worried about. Schulte continued, “It could be devastating from an economic impact standpoint.” According to the Kansas City Star, the Big 12 Tournament alone, which is hosted in Kansas City every year, brings in $13 million. More here: bit.ly/1M2dEhg
“SLATE OF HATE” DEFEATED IN OKLAHOMA: Last week, the last anti-LGBT bill being considered this legislative session in Oklahoma was defeated. This year, an unprecedented 27 anti-LGBT bills were before the Oklahoma legislature, earning the bills the nickname the “slate of hate.” HRC was on the ground working with Freedom Oklahoma and several local and national partners, including the ACLU of Oklahoma, Oklahomans for Equality,the Family Equality Council and the Equality Federation to defeat the last two remaining bills. The last two bills died a procedural death after missing crossover late Thursday night. “We have seen a truly unprecedented level of community advocacy this legislative session, and fair-minded legislators - both Republicans and Democrats - have listened,” said Troy Stevenson, Executive Director at Freedom Oklahoma, after the gavel fell Thursday night. For the second year in a row, a small handful of anti-LGBT lawmakers proposed a record number of bills aimed at hurting the LGBT community in Oklahoma. Also for the second year in a row, all of those bills have been defeated. This “slate of hate” was part of nearly 200 anti-LGBT bills that were introduced across 32 states this year. Nearly 100 of the onslaught of anti-LGBT bills being pushed this year are still alive. . More here: hrc.org/2016legislature
AROUND THE WORLD
THE SLOW WALK TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN AUSTRALIA CONTINUES: Australian Senator David Leyonhejlm has announced plans to reintroduce the Marriage Equality Amendment bill, a bill that would finally bring marriage rights to Australians in same-sex relationships if it became law. In a statement Leyonhejlm said, “Politicians should do their job. This could be the last chance to save taxpayers $160 million [on a plebiscite]. It will also avoid a needless extended acrimonious debate. I call on both the Greens and (Prime Minister) Turnbull to demonstrate the courage of their convictions.” However a new independent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers found that while holding the vote would cost about $160 million, that's not the entire picture. On top of that, $280 million would be lost due to a drop in productivity, $66 million would go to funding the campaigns for and against the proposals, and the impact on the mental health of the LGBT community could amount to $20 million. Hey Parliament, are you listening? Should it be introduced, the bill is likely to pass the Senate but will still have to go through the House of Representatives before it can become law. More here: huff.to/1RhPPy0
The Washington Post wonders why LGBT issues haven’t come up on the GOP debate stage… Salon explores the conservative resistance to a crucial hate crimes bill in Ohio… The Indy Star recaps Indiana’s legislative session where no protections for the LGBT community were passed… Variety hears from Ellen Page at a SXSW discussion on her new show… The Salt Lake Tribune makes the case for why all Utah schools should have a Gay-Straight alliance… Out highlights Instagram’s new LGBT explore video channel… Newsweek calls for the Ukraine to champion LGBT rights… The Atlantic deep dives into the LGBT politics of Christian Universities… and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle documents the push for an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance Cheyenne, WY.