#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: May 2, 2016

HUNDREDS MARCH AND RALLY IN MISS. TO DEMAND REPEAL OF HB 1523:. HRC, NAACP, ACLU of Mississippi, Southern Policy Law Center, Planned Parenthood and other civil rights organizations and leaders joined hundreds in the Repeal HB 1523 rally from the State Capitol to the Governor’s mansion, demanding repeal of the state’s discriminatory law. Advocates, including HRC President Chad Griffin and former NAACP President Ben Jealous, joined the broad chorus of fair-minded voters, national and local businesses, entertainers and sports figures calling on Governor Phil Bryant, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn to repeal the discriminatory measure before it goes into effect on July 1. More than 51,000 Facebook supporters - and counting - have watched the livestream of yesterday’s rally in Mississippi. More from Mississippi Today and The Clarion Ledger.

NEARLY 200 TOP BUSINESS LEADERS NOW CALLING FOR REPEAL OF NC’S DISCRIMINATORY HB 2: The momentum to repeal HB 2 continues to build as more and more business leaders condemn the anti-LGBT law. IKEA and AIG have added their names to an open letter urging North Carolina to repeal its discriminatory HB 2, bringing to nearly 200 the number of business leaders urging the state to roll back the law. This growing number of major CEOs and business leaders from across the country are calling on Gov. McCrory to fully rescind his anti-transgender law, knowing that such draconian measures are bad for the community and bad for business. Previous business leaders who have signed on demanding repeal include Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. More from HRC’s blog.

INSPIRATIONAL TRANSGENDER AUTHOR AND BUSINESSWOMAN SPEAKS OUT IN HRC’S “VOICES OF NORTH CAROLINA” VIDEO SERIES: As part of HRC’s “Voices of North Carolina” video series, Tina Madison White speaks movingly about how the state’s passage of the discriminatory HB 2 law has threatened both her personal safety and love for the state she calls home. White says the bill “took me back to a world I thought I’d left behind,” recounting the terrifying dream she had the night Governor McCrory signed the anti-transgender law. “I had a nightmare that I was shot and killed in a bathroom,” she says. Sadly, she says, the state’s motto “First in Flight,” marking the Wright Brothers’ first flight in North Carolina’s skies, will come to symbolize the mass exodus of fair-minded businesses and individuals from the Tar Heel State after HB 2’s passage. Watch the video here.

DEPT. OF ED. PUBLISHES LIST OF INSTITUTIONS LEGALLY DISCRIMINATING AGAINST LGBT STUDENTS: On Friday, the U.S. Department of Education helped increase transparency and accountability by publishing a list of educational institutions that have received an exemption from federal civil rights law in order to discriminate against LGBT students. HRC first called on the Department of Education in December to take action in light of this growing and disturbing trend by some religious colleges and universities. Released by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the list of educational institutions published today can be found here.

  • Back in December… HRC called on the Department of Education to take action in a comprehensive report called Hidden Discrimination: Title IX Religious Exemptions Putting LGBT Students at Risk. In the report, HRC spotlighted 56 colleges and universities based in 26 states across every region of the country – which collectively have nearly 120,000 students - that have requested religious exemptions under Title IX since 2013. These institutions have utilized a little-known provision in the law that allows educational institutions controlled by a religious organization to request an exemption from full compliance with the law if “application of the law would conflict with specific tenets of the religion.”


Senator Ted Cruz continued his transphobic attacks on NBC’s Meet the Press and CNN’s State of the Union this Sunday. HRC Communications Director Jay Brown called out Cruz’s comments as fear-mongering. “After invoking the importance of the Bill of Rights, Ted Cruz had the gall to spread vicious lies about transgender people and laws that deny us critical freedoms.” Fact checkers have found “there’s no evidence of dangerous predators pretending to be transgender in American bathrooms…” while Politifact rated Ted Cruz’s ad attacking Donald Trump on this issue as “mostly false,” saying “the overall message is highly distorted to scare voters.”

  • Also in Cruz news... Gov. of Indiana Mike Pence and GOP candidate Ted Cruz are proving to be two peas in a very hateful pod. After pushing his own “Right to Discriminate” legislation last year, Gov. Pence has now signed on to that same type of rhetoric Cruz frequently spouts, officially endorsing the GOP candidate for President last week.

LEGISLATION TO END “CONVERSION THERAPY” HAS BEEN INTRODUCED IN THE SENATE: Despite being widely discredited by medical professionals as harmful and even life-threatening, so-called “conversion therapy” continues to be used against individuals in the LGBT community. Last week, Senators Patty Murray and Cory Booker introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, the first federal legislation to prohibit the dangerous and fraudulent practice of ​ “conversion therapy” by expressly classifying it as a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act would amend the Federal Trade Commission Act to clarify that providing “conversion therapy” to any person in exchange for monetary compensation or advertising such services is an unfair or deceptive act or practice. More from HRC’s blog.


MARRIAGE IN A FAROE-WAY PLACE: Faroe Islands, located between Iceland and Norway, has passed marriage equality! Comprised of eighteen volcanic islands, Faroe is the final Nordic country to legalize same-sex unions in the region. Looks like we have another island to consider for our destination wedding! More from Gay Star News.

NEW REPORT: UGANDA EXPLORES HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES: In a new report by the group Sexual Minorities Uganda, shocking details of violence against the country's LGBT community verify 264 cases of human rights abuses, in addition to firsthand experiences and stories. More from Gay Times.


The Kansas City Star discusses how Missouri’s LGBT community is still left vulnerable, even after their religious freedom bill was struck down… Sweet Cakes by Melissa turns out to be not so sweet in The Huffington PostThe Body shares the arguments against an unconstitutional HIV criminalization law in the appeal of a 2015 conviction and 30 year sentence… The Daily Beast stomps on the inaccuracy of pro-HB2 memes… The Advocate looks at the history of HIV in the Black MSM community… The Neon Trees’ lead singer Tyler Glenn, who came out as gay in 2014, has changed his tune on his Mormon faith in Yahoo Music. Rock on from Entertainment Weekly -- the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival released a statement condemning Tennessee's anti-LGBT legislation… and The Washington Post shows how Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore seems desperate as ever, blaming his current battle with judicial ethics violations on “atheists, homosexuals, and transgender individuals.”

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

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