#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: May 19, 2016

HRC staff

HRC RETAINS THEODORE B. OLSON TO AUTHOR AMICUS BRIEF IN THE FEDERAL CASE AGAINST NC’s HB2: Yesterday, HRC announced that Theodore B. Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP will author an amicus brief on behalf of leading businesses in support of the DOJ’s lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s hateful HB2 law. Olson served as Solicitor General of the United States from 2001 to 2004 and is widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier appellate advocates. Olson was paramount in the overturning of California’s Proposition 8, which had banned same-sex marriages in the state. For his work to advance marriage equality, Time magazine in 2010 named him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. More from Bloomberg and TIME.

  • Day of Advocacy in Raleigh: Nearly 100 North Carolinians descended on their state Capitol yesterday, joining Equality NC, HRC and other pro-equality advocates to urge legislators to repeal the discriminatory HB2. More from HRC.
  • Women For The Repeal of #HB2 rallied on the steps of the County Courthouse in Greenville, NC yesterday, stressing the dangers of the state’s discriminatory measure.

HOUSE APPROVES DEFENSE BILL WITH ANTI-LGBT PROVISION: Despite House Democrats’ attempt to reverse the course on the anti-LGBT provision, the House of Representatives approved a new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with a discriminatory, anti-LGBT provision intact. Offered as an amendment by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) in the House Armed Services Committee, it would allow, under the guise of religious liberty, sweeping anti-LGBT discrimination in all federal agencies. The provision jeopardizes President Obama’s executive order prohibiting LGBT discrimination in federal contracting, and could have far-reaching consequences, potentially even undermining existing federal nondiscrimination provisions. The White House has already indicated its strong opposition to the Russell Amendment. More from Pink News.

TRUMP AND THE TERRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD SUPREME COURT JUSTICE LIST: Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump keeps finding new ways to make his desired administration more terrifying. Yesterday, he released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees he’d vet to replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. The list includes the likes of conservative federal and state judges Diane Sykes, David Stras and William H. Pryor Jr., all of whom have dismal records on LGBT equality. Trump has previously said that it’s up to conservatives to “delay, delay, delay” President Obama’s efforts to appoint a Scalia replacement, and that he would pick a nominee committed to reversing nationwide marriage equality. More from HRC.

  • Meanwhile, Senate Democrats held a mock hearing for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick Garland, touting Garland’s impressive resume and urging GOP senators to #DoYourJob. Republicans have been stonewalling the highly-qualified Garland’s nomination since March. More from The Atlantic.

MISSISSIPPI LAWMAKERS BULLY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: Barely a month after passing a horrific religious refusal law that includes provisions permitting (but not requiring) public schools to discriminate against transgender youth, Mississippi is ramping up its anti-LGBT discrimination. Republican state lawmakers have bullied Superintendent Carey Wright into violating civil rights law by rejecting new federal guidance ensuring that transgender students are treated with dignity and respect, including guaranteeing they have access to restroom facilities consistent with their gender identity. Wright, who initially said the state would comply with the Obama Administration's directive, reversed course after Republican lawmakers called for her resignation. More from The Clarion Ledger.

TRANSGENDER STUDENTS ARE “OUR” KIDS, NOT “THOSE” KIDS: The president of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), in a powerful op-ed featured on FoxNews.com, asserts that transgender students should be seen as “our kids,” not “those” kids. Michael Allison, a Pennsylvania high school principal, says he knows of “not a single instance of harm to a student using a facility with a transgender classmate,” but has seen the damage done to students bullied for who they are. “As a principal,” he says, “my greatest fear is our collective failure to maximize the human potential of the students our policies push to the margins.” Read the NASSP’s statement opposing laws and policies that discriminate against transgender students.

SEYCHELLES DECRIMINALIZES HOMOSEXUALITY: The Seychelles has voted to decriminalize same-sex activity. The breakthrough followed years of debate, and the government’s commitment in 2011 to the United Nations Human Rights Council that it would decriminalize same-sex activity. Prior to this vote, people found guilty under the discriminatory law faced up to 14 years in prison. With this vote, the number of countries that criminalize LGBTQ people drops to 74. More from HRC.

LGBT GROUPS BLOCKED FROM ATTENDING UNITED NATIONS AIDS CONFERENCE: A group of 22 LGBT nonprofit organizations are reportedly being blocked from attending a major United Nations (UN) meeting on AIDS next month. The objection came from Egypt, which is representing the Organization for Islamic Cooperation. The United States, the European Union, and Canada are currently appealing the block to the office of the UN General Assembly. More from Vice.

#MAKEBBCGAY… FINALLY?: The UK’s Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has released his memo on the future of the BBC, and noted that 10 percent of the BBC’s workforce should be LGBT by the year 2020.


The New York Times features high schoolers talking about the U.S. Dept. of Education’s transgender guidance; ThinkProgress highlights a lawsuit in which a trans employee successfully sued her employer by comparing her mistreatment to discrimination against individuals who convert from one religion to another; President Obama’s press secretary makes the case that it’s Republican lawmakers who are obsessed with sex when it comes to the wave of anti-LGBT measures; The Clarion Ledger reports on alarmingly high rates of HIV in gay and bisexual men in Mississippi; and The Huffington Post reports that a Catholic cemetery has rejected the headstone design of two of the plaintiffs in Obergefell v. Hodges.

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