#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: May 10, 2016

HRC staff

US ATTY. GEN. LORETTA LYNCH’S HISTORIC REMARKS ON HB2 A TURNING POINT FOR TRANSGENDER EQUALITY: Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s powerful and moving remarks Monday supporting transgender equality represents a major advance in the community’s fight for full inclusion -- not only under law, but also in American society. Lynch’s words invoked civil rights struggles of the past and carried special weight given that North Carolina is her home state. “This action is about a great deal more than just bathrooms,” Lynch said during her announcement that the U.S. Department of Justice is suing North Carolina for discrimination embedded in its anti-LGBT law HB2. “This is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we, as a people and as a country, have enacted to protect them – indeed, to protect all of us. And it’s about the founding ideals that have led this country – haltingly but inexorably – in the direction of fairness, inclusion and equality for all Americans.” Speaking directly to the transgender community Lynch said, “...[W]e see you, we stand with you and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward. Please know that history is on your side.” Watch the full speech on C-SPAN.

DOJ LAWSUIT DECLARES HB2 “IMPERMISSIBLY DISCRIMINATORY,” SUES TO PROHIBIT STATE ENFORCEMENT: The DOJ’s lawsuit against NC Governor McCrory, the state’s Department of Public Safety, and the University of North Carolina and its Board of Governors declares the state’s HB2 law “impermissibly discriminatory.” The DOJ is also asking the court to prohibit the state from enforcing HB2, which violates federal civil rights law and the Violence Against Women Act. The DOJ’s action came shortly after McCrory filed a lawsuit seeking to forestall DOJ action. NC has already lost more than a half billion dollars in economic activity because of McCrory’s radical law, and is facing the potential catastrophic loss of federal funding for schools, roads, bridges, and other essential services. More from Reuters.

  • HAPPENING TODAY: Will UNC Prez Spellings embrace McCrory’s discriminatory law, or act in best interests of her students?: Less than 24 hours after the U.S. Department of Justice filed its lawsuit challenging HB2, University of North Carolina President Margaret Spellings will meet with her Board of Governors to decide whether to side with discrimination, or work with the DOJ to protect the wellbeing of the respected university system and its thousands of students. North Carolina and its students stand to lose more than $4.5 billion in federal education funds due to the discriminatory HB2. In a statement yesterday, Spellings said that UNC is “caught in the middle.” Faced with the choice of violating our federal civil rights law or being on the right side of history, the next step seems clear.

MCCRORY POINTS FINGER AT ANYONE BUT HIMSELF: McCrory outlined the details of his suit against the DOJ at a press conference on Monday, again attempting to shift blame for the discriminatory fiasco that has been HB2. He said that local leaders in Charlotte should instead be held accountable for passing a non-discrimination ordinance that would have allowed transgender individuals to use bathrooms that corresponded with their gender identity. Claiming that the issue was “not a North Carolina state agenda,” McCrory said that the DOJ asked the state to agree to “unrealistic terms” when it imposed a deadline for him to respond to the law’s federal civil rights violations. The Charlotte Observer’s Editorial Board calls McCrory’s lawsuit “familiar, disturbing defense against discrimination.”

  • Meanwhile, McCrory’s problems mount. In an editorial titled “McCrory Fumbles HB2 Response,” The Raleigh News & Observer slams the “dithering” governor for defending the indefensible, and Politifact calls him out again for lying about the discriminatory effects of HB2.
  • McCrory tries to spin a negative biz news into a positive. Tweeting a report that NC has been named #3 for business in a magazine’s survey of CEOs, McCrory fails to mention that not only has the state slipped in the rankings since last year, but that the survey was conducted before HB2 was passed. Pants on fire! More from HRC’s blog.
  • NC Attorney General Roy Cooper blasted McCrory, saying the blame for HB2’s fallout sits squarely with the governor. Democrat Cooper, who is running for governor and has seen his poll numbers are rise, said, “The governor is pouring gas on the fire that he lit by putting billions of dollars of education funding on the line. …He’s doubling down on what he knows he did wrong. Enough is enough. Set politics aside and undo this discriminatory law now.”

MAJORITY OF AMERICANS ACROSS PARTY LINES OPPOSE ANTI-TRANSGENDER BILLS: A new CNN poll has found that a majority of Americans oppose bills like North Carolina’s HB2. Overall, 57 percent oppose “laws that require transgender individuals to use facilities that correspond to their gender at birth rather than their gender identity.” While the majority of those opposed were Democrats or Independents, even Republicans were split 48 to 48 percent.

ACLU SUES THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI OVER ITS ANTI-LGBT LAW: The ACLU and a same-sex couple hoping to marry in Mississippi have sued the state over its passage of HB1523 -- a discriminatory law that allows almost any individual or organization to use religion as an excuse 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 ACLU argues that the law violates the U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. Oliver Diaz, a former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice, who filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Jackson, says, “We've had a long history in Mississippi of bigotry and discrimination, and House Bill 1523 brings that back to life.” More from ABC News.

AMERICANS ON TRUMP NAMING SCOTUS JUSTICES: A majority of Americans just don’t trust presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump to select the next Supreme Court justice -- including nearly 30 percent of Republicans who said they’d rather have President Obama or Hillary Clinton make the pick, according to a new poll. To top that off,  65 percent of voters surveyed want Obama SCOTUS nominee Judge Merrick Garland to get a fair hearing immediately. If only the Senate Republicans would #DoYourJob.

TRANSGENDER TURNING POINT: This week, Geraldine Roman, a transgender woman, became the first openly-LGBT person to be elected to the Philippine Congress. This is a historic moment for the transgender community, which still faces widespread discrimination in the country. More from BuzzFeed.

METHODIST MINISTERS COME OUT AS LGBT TO CHALLENGE CHURCH BAN: On Monday, more than 100 Methodist ministers made a powerful statement by coming out as LGBT, challenging their church’s ban on ordaining “practicing homosexuals.” Their statement serves as a reminder that they have been faithfully serving the church, despite its lack of acceptance. More from ThinkProgress.


Teen Vogue tells the stories of mothers with transgender teenagers, and the effect discriminatory laws have on their children… CNN shares the love with a high school girl who got kicked out of her prom for wearing a suit… The Los Angeles Times interviews Randy Berry, the first U.S. Special Envoy for Global LGBTI Rights… The Huffington Post details how McCrory’s obsession over policing bathrooms has been years in the making… and The Associated Press chronicles Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s long history of judicial defiance... 

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