WATCH: HRC PRESIDENT CALLS ON HOLLYWOOD LEADERS TO ABANDON GEORGIA IF HB 757 PASSES: Over the weekend, at HRC’s annual Los Angeles Gala, the organization’s President Chad Griffin addressed more than 1,000 supporters and leaders in the entertainment industry and called on Hollywood to stop productions in Georgia if the state’s Governor Nathan Deal, doesn’t veto the new Indiana-style "license to discriminate" bill passed by the state legislature last week. According to the state of Georgia, which offers major tax incentives for entertainment companies to film in the state, at least 248 film and television productions were shot in Georgia during the state’s 2015 fiscal year. This resulted in at least $1.7 billion in direct spending as well as more than 100 new businesses relocating to or expanding in Georgia to support these activities. In his speech to the gathering, Griffin said “[y]ou have the influence and the opportunity to not only defeat this bill, but to send a message that there are consequences to passing dangerous and hateful laws like this. And so tonight, we’re asking you to join us as we urge TV and film studios, directors and producers, to commit to locating no further productions in the state of Georgia if this bill becomes law.” As Variety points out, shows like “The Vampire Diaries” and “The Walking Dead,” as well as movies including, “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” and “Captain America: Civil War” either currently shoot or have recently been shot in the state. Watch Griffin’s full speech here: bit.ly/22ysgcj
“EMPIRE” AND NINA JACOBSON HONORED AT HRC LA GALA: At that same event in Los Angeles, HRC honored acclaimed television sensation “Empire” with its Equality Award. During his acceptance speech, co-creator Lee Daniels sounded the alarm on anti-LGBT candidates running for president and said that it is our responsibility to ensure that Hillary Clinton is elected come November. Producer Nina Jacobson, whose work includes the blockbuster hit “The Hunger Games” and FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” received the HRC Visibility Award, which recognizes the efforts of those who use their incredible talent and visibility to help better the lives of LGBT people. She commented on the attacks the LGBT community is facing and said that “f there was ever a time to be a badass, militant lesbian, it’s right now.” Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Estelle performed with “Empire” star Jussie Smollett at the gala, which was also attended by Ryan Murphy, Cheryl Burke, Pauley Perrette, Guillermo Diaz. More here: bit.ly/1LB0Dex and here: bit.ly/1UxMd1n
GEORGIA MOMENTUM: MAJOR CORPORATIONS AND SPORTS TEAMS COME OUT AGAINST HB 757: Apple, the National Football League (NFL) and the Atlanta Braves, Falcons and Hawks have joined the growing list of major corporations, business leaders, and sports teams speaking out against H.B. 757 – a legislative assault by Georgia lawmakers on LGBT people that was sent to the desk of Governor Nathan Deal last week. Urging Deal to veto the discriminatory measure, Apple released a statement expressing its concern for the bill and the company’s commitment to “inclusion, diversity and continued prosperity.” The NFL’s statement raised concerns about Georgia jeopardizing the state’s ability to host a Super Bowl if the legislation is signed into law. In addition, the Atlanta Braves, Falcons, and Hawks all responded with statements condemning the legislation. In addition to these companies, numerous corporate sector leaders and CEOs have now spoken out against the bill, including those from: Dell, Dow Chemical Company, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Hilton, Intel, Intercontinental Hotels, Live Nation Entertainment, Marriott, MailChimp, Metro Atlanta Chamber, Microsoft, Paypal, Salesforce, Square, Turner, Twitter, Unilever, Virgin, Yelp, among others. If signed, the bill could undermine local non-discrimination ordinances that protect LGBT people, permit hospitals to refuse to provide medically necessary care, and allow a taxpayer-funded service provider to discriminate by denying a job because of the applicant's religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. In reality, no religious organization or clergy is required to sanction or perform same-sex marriage under any federal or state law. Georgia is among a majority of states that lack explicit LGBT non-discrimination protections. Take action now to urge Georgia Governor Deal to veto this bill: bit.ly/1Sc4Btq
#DOYOURJOB NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION: Today, HRC is participating in the #DoYourJob National Day of Action to urge Senate Republicans to fulfill their constitutional obligation and hold confirmation hearings for Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. We’re joining dozens of progressive advocacy organizations around the country today, urging our members and supporters to take action and tell Republican Senators that justice delayed is justice denied. By refusing to consider President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, these Senators are standing in the way of democracy. Judge Merrick Garland deserves fair consideration, which means a timely committee hearing and a confirmation vote by the full Senate. The decisions made by the Supreme Court establish important legal precedents that impact the daily lives of all Americans -- and have in a number of crucial cases determined the rights of LGBT Americans. This year alone, the Court is expected to rule on many crucial issues--including affirmative action, immigration, religious exemptions and access to reproductive care--and the American people deserve a Court with a full bench. There are several ways to take action including adding your name to this petition, joining the coalition's thunder clap and printing and sharing this #DoYourJob sign.
NEW STUDY CONNECTS SUICIDE IN TRANS YOUTH AND ATTACKS ON BATHROOM ACCESS: Using data from the National Center for Transgender Equality’s National Transgender Discrimination Survey, a new study correlated the high suicide rates of transgender teens with bathroom restrictions. “Transgender and gender nonconforming people frequently experience discrimination, harassment, and marginalization across college and university campuses,” the Journal of Homosexuality explained. “Using the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, this study analyzes whether being denied access to these spaces is associated with lifetime suicide attempts, after controlling for interpersonal victimization by students or teachers. Findings from sequential logistic regression (N = 2,316) indicate that denial of access to either space had a significant relationship to suicidality, even after controlling for interpersonal victimization.” This study comes at a significant time for transgender youth across the country. Just last month, HRC released a report detailing an alarming onslaught of legislation nationwide targeting transgender people, particularly transgender youth. An unprecedented 44 anti-transgender bills are being considered in 17 states; unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of these are anti-equal access “bathroom bills” that would apply to multi-user restrooms, locker rooms and similar facilities. If passed, some impose criminal penalties on transgender people who use restrooms consistent with their gender identity. Read the study here: bit.ly/1MwkZ3v
COURIER-JOURNAL: LGBT-INCLUSIVE LAWS GOOD FOR KENTUCKY: In a piece yesterday, the Courier-Journal’s editorial board came out in support of statewide LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections. As lawmakers advance an irresponsible Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) amendment bill, the editorial shines a light on how a similar bill impacted Indiana almost a year ago, writing, “But one lesson some don’t seem to want to learn is the lesson of Indiana’s disastrous passage last year of its version of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Kentucky does not need to wade into those dangerous waters, yet that's exactly where the Kentucky Senate headed last week.” The bill, SB 180, would undermine state and local protections against discrimination for a host of minority communities in Kentucky by allowing businesses like photographers, tailors, engravers, or any other businesses that provide custom goods and services to discriminate and refuse service for any reason.The editorial board also highlights SB 176, the Kentucky Competitive Workforce Act. The bill would add protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s existing civil rights law. Read the editorial here: cjky.it/22ypVy3
NEBRASKA’S DISCRIMINATORY ADOPTION BILL ADVANCES OUT OF COMMITTEE: Last week, Nebraska’s Judiciary Committee passed LB 975, the so-called “Child Welfare Services Preservation Act.” sending it to the floor of the unicameral legislature for a vote in the coming weeks. LB 975 would enshrine discrimination into Nebraska law by allowing taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies to reject prospective parents based on the child placing agency's sincerely held religious beliefs. If passed, this law would also allow adoption agencies to turn away a range of Nebraskans seeking to adopt or foster a child -- from prospective LGBT parents to interfaith couples, single parents or a married couple in which one prospective parent had been previously divorced. With thousands of children in Nebraska’s foster care system, the last thing legislators should do is limit the number of prospective families. The bill has drawn an outcry from child welfare organizations. Last week, some of the most respected child placement organizations in the country released a letter urging senators to vote against the bill. The letter, from the Donaldson Adoption Institute, Voice for Adoption, North American Council on Adoptable Children and National Center on Adoption and Permanency notes that more than two decades of research showing that children raised by lesbian and gay foster and adoptive parents fare as well as those raised by heterosexual parents and that qualified, eager parents should not be excluded because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. More here: bit.ly/22rZVrB
CLOSING IN ON SPECIAL SESSION IN NORTH CAROLINA: It looks like state lawmakers in North Carolina are gearing up to address Charlotte’s LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance in a special session as early as this week. Over the weekend, House Speaker Tim Moore said, “We’re having discussions with the governor, and I’m having discussions with Sen. Berger about a potential special session this coming week...I would expect it would be toward the end of this coming week.” The ordinance, which was passed by the Charlotte City Council last month, extends non-discrimination protections to the LGBT community in public accommodations, vehicles for hire and government contracting. Even before the vote, the Governor and other state lawmakers threatened to use state legislation to overturn the ordinance, and calling this irresponsible special session would cost the state an estimated $42,000 a day. Moore says that he has already sent draft legislation addressing the issue to House Republicans for their review. More here: bit.ly/1PlvFBQ
VICIOUS HATE CRIME AGAINST TWO GAY MEN REPORTED IN GEORGIA: Anthony Gooden Jr. and Marquez Tolbert were asleep alongside one another when, in the middle of the night, scalding hot water was poured on them. As a result of the attack, both men were severely wounded, suffering second and third degree burns, according to The Washington Post . Tolbert has said that his mother’s boyfriend, Martin Blackwell, is responsible for the vicious act. According to WSB-TV , Blackwell is currently in Fulton County Police custody and has been charged with two counts of aggravated battery. According to a police report obtained by the news station, Blackwall admitted responsibility for the attack, and said to investigators: “They was stuck together like two hot dogs, so I poured a little hot water on them and helped them out....They'll be alright, it was just a little hot water.” “This horrific attack serves as a chilling reminder of the threat of violence too many LGBT people still face in their daily lives.” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This brutal act of violence against two young men sleeping at home shocks the conscience, and should awaken the nation to the bigotry and hate that, sadly, continue to stalk our community.” LGBT people suffer disproportionate levels of harassment and physical violence. Just last year, at least 21 transgender people -- nearly all transgender women of color -- were the victims of homicide, and sadly, we have already seen similar anti-transgender attacks this year. This attack comes at a tense time for the LGBT community in Georgia. Just this week, the Georgia legislature passed HB 757, a dangerous piece of anti-LGBT legislation that could allow a business owner or employee to refuse service to LGBT people.
MICHIGAN MAKES IT EASIER FOR TRANS PEOPLE TO CHANGE GENDER MARKERS: This month, Michigan has updated state policy so that transgender people are no longer required to have surgery in order to change the gender marker on their driver’s licence. The ACLU of Michigan, which had sued the state over the policy, welcomed the news but said that the update could still be stronger: “This is an important step forward by the Secretary of State's office, and we hope it will result in many more transgender persons in Michigan being able to obtain accurate driver's licenses and state IDs. That said, we still don't believe the new policy is as good as the policies practiced by dozens of other states, and we are continuing to advocate for improvements” Under the policy change, a passport denoting a certain gender is now enough to get driver’s licenses changed, but changing the gender marker on a passport requires a note from a doctor saying that the patient has made significant progress in their transition. More here: bit.ly/1ReGmIP
LOS ANGELES MAYOR SUPPORTS MAKING STONEWALL NATIONAL MONUMENT: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced his support to make Stonewall a national monument honoring the American LGBT experience. While national park sites share a diverse group of stories and American history, there are no national park sites that honor LGBT Americans. “Although the struggle for equal rights extends from coast to coast, the Stonewall Riots in 1969 served as an historic turning point in LGBT history,” Garcetti wrote in a letter to President Obama. “Recognizing the Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park in New York City’s West Village would honor the American LGBT experience in every city and help to teach people of an important historical event that has helped to shape our nation.” Mayor Garcetti has been a champion of protecting LGBT history. In 2008 as City Council President of Los Angeles, he worked to successfully designate the Black Cat Bar as a registered landmark in the City of Los Angeles. Several events pertinent to the LGBT community have happened in Los Angeles, the second largest city in the nation. HRC continues to urge President Obama to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate the area around Stonewall as a national monument in our nation’s National Park Service. Read the full letter here: bit.ly/1pDPsbe
AROUND THE WORLD
NO GOOD VERY BAD “DAY” HAPPENS EVEN IN AUSTRALIA: Today’s episode of “What is happening in Australia?!” is brought to us by Senator Bob Day. Apparently his reason for standing in the face of over 70% of Australians who support marriage equality is that, according to him, same-sex couples are not that into monogamy. Yup, that is why around the world they are fighting to be afforded the right to marry and to commit to one another. Senator Day is opposed to what he calls, “monogamish” couples. SMH Senator Day. More here: bit.ly/1RcxzsV
PROTESTERS SHUT DOWN LGBT FESTIVAL IN UKRAINE: Over the weekend, an LGBT festival at a hotel in Ukraine was abruptly shut down after right wing protesters disrupted the event, which included public events, a film screening and literary discussions. According the Guardian, a group of an estimated 200 people chanted things like “kill, kill, kill,” as they surrounded the hotel, and only one police unit arrived to address the escalating situation an hour after the authorities were called. Organizers had a very difficult time getting the event off the ground. They were turned away by a number of venues, called “perverts” by city authorities, and on the day before the event was scheduled, a court ordered that all public events be banned over the weekend. More here: bit.ly/22rU05O
BuzzFeed profiles a lesbian ambassador to an anti-LGBT country… The Oregonian looks at how conservative churches serve their LGBT communities… The Tennessean looks at the Tennessee Legislature’s indifference toward LGBT people… Al.com asks why Alabama does not have a LGBT-inclusive hate crime law in light of a recent murder… ABC 57 News historicizes the struggle for LGBT rights in Indiana… NPR travels the globe with Ellen Page on ‘Gaycation’... and Metro News Canada reports on one school’s refusal to pass LGBT student protections despite government requirements.