ONE GOP SENATOR STANDS IN THE WAY OF EMINENTLY QUALIFIED ERIC FANNING’S NOMINATION FOR SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: President Obama’s nomination of Eric Fanning to become the first openly-gay Secretary of the Army is being held up by one man. Despite Eric Fanning's stellar qualifications to serve as Secretary of the Army, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts has been stalling his nomination for months, ostensibly over assurances he’s seeking to keep Guantanamo Bay prisoners out of the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth. But even many Senate Republicans, including Armed Services Committee Chair Sen. John McCain, believe Roberts’ hold on the Fanning nomination is inappropriate since the Secretary of the Army will have no role in decisions about Guantanamo. Last month on the Senate floor McCain said: “If we inaugurate a practice here of holding nominees over an issue that is not related to those nominees, we are abusing our power and authority as U.S. Senators.” HRC calls on Sen. Roberts to release his hold on the nomination and allow an up-or-down vote on this highly-qualified, proven leader. More from The New York Times.
ADDING LEGAL FEES TO HB2’s ENORMOUS COSTS TO NORTH CAROLINIANS: HRC has found that Gov. McCrory and his fellow Republicans in the General Assembly have spent lavishly on private attorneys in recent years. The case in support of HB2 is no exception. One of the attorneys hired to defend the state in the DOJ lawsuit, Karl “Butch” Bowers, charged McCrory more than $360 per hour in a previous case. And with the state spending $42,000 on HB2’s special session, the loss of 1,750 jobs thus far, an estimated $500 million in economic impact since HB2’s passage and the impending risk of $4.5 billion in federal education funding, NC taxpayers will continue to pay the price for McCrory’s mistakes. More from HRC.
HB2 REPEAL BILL FILED BY NC DEMS: Yesterday, North Carolina Reps. Chris Sgro, Pricey Harrison, Susan Fisher and Kelly Alexander introduced a comprehensive non-discrimination bill in the NC General Assembly. The bill would repeal HB2 and expand protections to North Carolinians on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as age, marital status, military or veteran status and genetic information against discrimination in housing, employment, credit, insurance, places of public accommodation and education. This comes one day after the DOJ announced a lawsuit against the state for violating federal civil rights law with the discriminatory HB2. More from HRC.
- UNC officials fail to publicly rebuke discriminatory HB2… Accounts of a closed-door meeting of University of North Carolina officials, including President Margaret Spellings, indicate the board is divided on how to respond to the DOJ’s lawsuit if HB2’s discriminatory provisions aren’t halted. But several expressed worry about the effect on funding, students, and retaining distinguished faculty.
- GOP’s “bathroom police” image will hurt them in NC’s upcoming election… Republicans’ obsession over bathrooms will likely cost them in November. Many party members fear that HB2 is defining the GOP, driving away more moderate conservatives alarmed at what the law has wrought - from economic loss and damage to the state’s reputation, to the DOJ's federal lawsuit against the state. More from Politico.
- Gov. McCrory uses lawsuit to fill campaign coffers… On his campaign website, McCrory is soliciting donations in the name of discrimination. “Fight back against the federal government’s overreach and bullying tactics,” he pleads. Seems he’s a bit confused about what constitutes “bullying.”
- Greensboro, N.C.-based Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) expected to adopt NCAA-like policy… ACC officials are saying they will likely follow the NCAA’s lead of not hosting events in places that lack LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination laws. The college athletic conference plans to discuss the issue this week at its annual spring meeting in Florida. Under the NCAA’s new policy, North Carolina is at risk of losing basketball tournaments scheduled in Greensboro and in Charlotte. More from The Charlotte Observer.
- Because one lawsuit isn’t enough. The NC governor has joined an amicus brief to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking that the full court review the recent decision by a three-judge panel that allowed student Gavin Grimm to use the school restroom that corresponded with his gender identity. The amicus brief asks that the entire, 15-member court review the case.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER LAWSUIT CHALLENGING MISSISSIPPI’S HB1523: A day after the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging Mississippi’s law allowing public employees to discriminate against same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses, the Campaign for Southern Equality announced that it has reopened its 2014 lawsuit that overturned the state’s ban on marriages between same-sex couples. Represented by acclaimed LGBT civil rights attorney Robbie Kaplan, the plaintiffs contend that HB1523 undermines equal access to marriage due to its “recusal” provision allowing government officials to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if it violates their religious beliefs. More from The Jackson Free Press.
VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS OF EQUALITY: In an opinion issued yesterday,Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring affirmed that discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation will likely be found illegal under Virginia state law. Herring cited the recent federal court decisions in determining that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by many federal laws. More from The Washington Post and read the full opinion here.
AMERICAN COUNSELING ASSOCIATION CANCELS EXPO IN TENN: The American Counseling Association is cancelling plans to hold its 2017 conference and expo in Nashville, citing concerns about a new state law allowing counselors in private practices to cite their religious beliefs as a reason to deny services to LGBT clients, or refer them to another professional. More from The Tennessean.
LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S EQUAL RIGHTS! The New York State Assembly has voted to ban transgender discrimination by adding gender identity and expression to the state’s civil rights statutes. If approved by the GOP-controlled state senate it would reinforce Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order, protecting it from reversal by a future governor. More from The Associated Press.
NEW YORKERS DON’T WANT ANYTHING TO STONEWALL THE NEW LGBT RIGHTS MONUMENT: The campaign to create a national monument commemorating the historic Stonewall Inn is receiving an outpouring of support from New Yorkers, who came out to a town meeting in droves to voice their enthusiasm for the monument. More from The Washington Post.
PRINCIPALS ASSOCIATION DESERVES AN A+ ON NEW LGBT-INCLUSIVE POLICY: The National Association of Secondary School Principals has made huge strides supporting transgender students. And, in a new position statement, the NASSP outlines guidelines for legislators and school leaders on how to best serve the needs of transgender students. Read their full statement here.
E! News interviews LGBT ally Nick Jonas… Y Net News covers a demonstration for equal rights for the families of LGBT soldiers… Slate dives into the anti-LGBT sentiments in Eastern Europe… The Washington Post looks at how HB2 affects Charlotte, the city that passed the LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance that HB2 struck down… NPR looks at the Texas Lt. Gov.’s ridiculous attempt to prevent Texas schools from protecting trans students… Billboard reports that the band Animal Collective is releasing a live album, proceeds to combat HB2… The Atlantic breaks down the horror that is HB2… The Tennessean looks at how anti-LGBT bills could hurt the state’s economy… and The Detroit News looks at three Republican lawmakers who want to stop a LGBTQ-supportive school policy.