#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: May 20, 2016

HRC staff

#SHAME: GOP HOUSE LEADERS EMPLOY DEPLORABLE TACTICS TO PROMOTE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBT AMERICANS: HRC blasted Republican House leadership for supporting anti-LGBT lawmakers seeking to invalidate President Obama's Executive Order protecting LGBT Americans from discrimination yesterday. Leadership held open a floor vote longer than rules permit, using the time to flip seven Republican votes and kill an amendment from Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) that would have ensured that funds from an appropriations bill couldn’t be used to discriminate against LGBT workers. Thirty-six Republicans initially voted for Maloney’s amendment, but seven reversed their votes on the floor, causing the amendment to fail by just one vote. House members chanted “shame” during the extended vote. This comes the day after a contentious House debate on a provision known as the Russell Amendment, which was included in the National Defense Authorization Act. The provision would allow for sweeping taxpayer-funded discrimination. Watch Rep. Maloney’s passionate speech on the House floor here.

  • MUST WATCH: Republican Empire Strikes Back … Mere minutes after the debate ended, House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released this stellar video:

GOP SENATORS ASK AG LYNCH FOR “REASONABLE SOLUTIONS” BUT OFFER NONE: Speaking of shameful, in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and U.S. Secretary of Education John King, more than two dozen Republican senators made clear their opinion of the recent guidance issued by the Departments of Education and Justice protecting transgender students from discrimination in public and federally-funded schools. Astoundingly, the letter, written by Senate Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), opens with this line: “Every transgender person is someone’s child and should be treated with respect.” Promising start, but, trust us, it goes precipitously south from there. More from CNN.

TIME MAGAZINE FEATURES FIGHT FOR TRANSGENDER EQUALITY: TIME offers an in-depth account of how extremists have seized upon unfounded fears to perpetuate discrimination against transgender people. The article notes, “The 2016 battle over bathrooms is, after all, about far more than public facilities–it’s about gender roles, social change, federalism, physical danger, political polarization and, most strikingly, a breakdown in the ability of anyone in this country to speak across our divides, or appeal to common humanity.” The article ends with these sage words from Jayne Ellspermann, a high school principal in Florida: “I know we’ve made it through what happened previously, and I know we’ll make it through this historical change as well. The bottom line is that each student needs to feel secure and comfortable in the school that they’re going to attend.”

  • Meanwhile, Gov. McCrory pushes Congress to act (or pass Equality Act???)... In a related piece, TIME covers Gov. McCrory blaming Congress for not updating the country’s civil rights laws before he signed the discriminatory HB2 into law. Remember, this is from the same guy claiming “federal overreach”… Not to mention his confusion over his actual conversation with HRC President Chad Griffin, which Chad corrects on Twitter.
  • And in more NC news, Maroon 5 has become the latest band to take a stand against HB2. This morning they announced the cancellation of upcoming shows in Charlotte and Raleigh, joining the likes of Bruce "the Boss" Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas and Pearl Jam.

OKLAHOMA BECOMES LATEST STATE TO ATTACK TRANS YOUTH: Last night, Oklahoma lawmakers introduced an outrageous proposal that would force schools to make accommodations for students who purport to have religious objections to sharing a sex-segregated space with transgender students. Going a step further, the legislation also states that allowing students with religious objections to use a single-user facility is not an acceptable accommodation. To be clear, transgender young people are the ones being targeted. Legislators should be working to find solutions that ensure that they are safe and treated equally by their school, not stigmatized by the people elected to protect them.

  • Busy night resisting equality: OK lawmakers also introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 43, which calls for the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach President Obama for his administration’s recent guidance regarding transgender students’ access to bathroom. More from Towleroad.  

SOUTH CAROLINA STALLS ON ANTI-TRANSGENDER BILL: The South Carolina State Senate is considering a vile, anti-transgender bill that would force transgender students in Berkeley County, SC, to use school facilities inconsistent with their gender identity. This bill is a response to recent news coverage of the Berkeley County School District’s practice of allowing transgender students the ability to use sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity. The Senate has adjourned until Tuesday, when they will discuss bringing the measure to a final vote.

OUTRAGEOUS: ARCHDIOCESE REJECTS MARRIAGE PLAINTIFFS’ HEADSTONE DESIGN: Marriage equality plaintiffs Greg Bourke and Michael De Leon of Kentucky won at the U.S. Supreme Court, but are losing with the Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville. Their planned headstone design, which incorporates an image of the Supreme Court building, has been rejected by the archdiocese as inconsistent with church teachings. You can see it here. Bourke said that the action was “deliberate retaliation against my family,” and inconsistent with Pope Francis’ desires for the church. “Is that what Jesus would do?” he asked. Waiting for your answer, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz.

HRC MOURNS THE MURDER OF MERCEDES SUCCESSFUL: Mercedes Successful, a transgender woman of color from Haines City, FL., was found fatally shot Sunday in a local parking lot. Advocates are only now learning of her death because local press reports misgendered her and used her birth name. According to reports, Mercedes was a well-known performer in local clubs, and was the winner of the 2014 Gay Caribbean USA Pageant, where she represented her home country, Jamaica. More from HRC.

A VICTORY FOR SAME-SEX PARENTS IN THE SUNSHINE STATE: The Florida Department of Health is now printing birth certificates that include both same-sex parents and issuing amended birth certificates to same-sex couples who had a child during their marriage. The action comes after three couples and Equality Florida sued the department for the legal right to receive a certificate with both same-sex parents listed. Previously, the certificates read “mother unmarried, father unknown.” More from HRC.

GUARD WHO BOOTED TRANSGENDER WOMAN FROM RESTROOM CHARGED WITH ASSAULT: A security guard who kicked a transgender woman out of the women’s restroom at a Giant Food grocery store in Washington, D.C., has been charged with assault. The police report recorded the assault as a suspected hate crime. More from The Associated Press.


BuzzFeed exposes anti-trans hoax stories going viral; Towleroad features South Africa’s first commercial with a same-sex kiss; First Post reports on importance of Tim Cook’s India trip to country’s LGBT community; A transgender athlete finds acceptance on a high school lacrosse team; PinkNews profiles a drag queen contemplating running for governor of Alabama; The Atlantic spotlights the terrible correlation between denied appropriate bathroom access and suicide rates among transgender people; The Wall Street Journal breaks down a new poll that finds the majority of older Americans now support marriage equality; The Jackson Free Press profiles Benjamin Morris, who is biking the length of the state of Mississippi in protest of the state’s new discriminatory HB1523 law; and 200 Ironman athletes are sprinting out of North Carolina because of HB2.

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