REPS. MALONEY AND HOYER BLAST SPEAKER RYAN OVER DISCRIMINATORY HOUSE RULE CHANGE: Yesterday, in a powerful op-ed in The Washington Post, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) called out House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) for pledging to change House rules to specifically make it more difficult for members to add pro-LGBTQ amendments to legislation. Ryan proposed the rule change after his leadership team used shameful, rule-flouting maneuvers to kill an amendment from Maloney that would have ensured that taxpayer money could not be used to discriminate against LGBTQ workers. On Wednesday, Ryan took these plans to restrict amendments a step further by asking members at a closed-door GOP conference to weigh in. The Rules Committee then said it would not allow a vote on Maloney’s amendment. In their op-ed, Maloney and Hoyer wrote on these shameful tactics: “The open process Ryan had promised was hindering House Republicans’ long-standing opposition to [LGBTQ] equality… Republican leaders now might bend the rules in order to advance discrimination.” Read the full piece in The Washington Post.
NPR TELLS STORY OF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S LGBTQ RIGHTS EVOLUTION: As the White House hosts its annual Pride Month celebration today, NPR takes a look at President Obama’s evolution on LGBTQ rights. Those who closely advised the president on LGBTQ issues say that while he may have seemed slow to change, his push to reverse public and political opinion over the course of his eight years in office was actually the result of “careful groundwork.” From his campaign to end the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law to his advocacy behind marriage equality, President Obama has come to prove himself as the most pro-LGBTQ president in history. More from NPR.
US INTEL DIRECTOR CLAPPER SPEAKS FOR TRANSGENDER RIGHTS: U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper took a stand for transgender rights yesterday during the Fifth Annual Intelligence Community Pride Summit. At Defense Intelligence Agency headquarters in DC, Clapper thanked LGBTQ advocates for their efforts and reminded the audience of work ahead: “When I consider the injustices still experienced, highlighted for example by the ongoing national debate over the rights of transgender Americans, I know, yet still, our work is not done.” FBI Director James Comey, who also spoke at the summit, said: “Diversity enriches not just the FBI, not just the intelligence community, but our country as a whole.” More from ABC News.
- Department of Defense also celebrates Pride, says Don’t Ask Don’t Tell based on “flawed logic”: At the Department of Defense’s LGBTQ Pride Month event yesterday, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus asserted that the military has only gotten stronger since the repeal of DADT. His remarks come at a time when advocates are also urging the military to move more swiftly in removing its ban on transgender service. Army Undersecretary Patrick J. Murphy echoed Carter’s sentiments: “Throughout our history, brave LGBT soldiers… have served and fought for our nation. Their readiness and willingness to serve has made our military stronger and our nation safer.”
MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN ALABAMA UPHELD IN ONE FINAL RULING: Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Callie Granade issued a permanent injunction barring the state of Alabama from enforcing any laws that block same-sex couples’ right to marry. According to The Associated Press, Judge Granade said “the Alabama Supreme Court’s willingness to issue decisions conflicting with the U.S. Supreme Court demonstrate the need for permanent action.” This comes after months of resistance to marriage equality in Alabama, most notably by the State Supreme Court’s currently suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore who, with order after order, defied federal rulings affirming same-sex couples constitutional right to marry.
CHICAGO ADVANCES TRANS-INCLUSIVE ORDINANCE SUPPORTED BY FILMMAKER LILLY WACHOWSKI: The Chicago City Council’s Committee on Human Relations has advanced an amendment to its city ordinance that would expand its definition of “sex” to include gender identity. The amendment would prohibit public places including hotels, restaurants and grocery stores from requiring patrons to show “government-issued identification” to gain entry into facilities “private in nature.” Filmmaker Lilly Wachowski, who came out as transgender earlier this year, testified in favor of the amendment, telling the committee that discriminatory thinking “is institutionalized -- be it in the form of TSA security scan, gender bathroom, locker room or changing room. But, we are here. We exist. And I implore you at this moment to please recognize us.”
PROMINENT HONDURAN LGBTQ ACTIVIST MURDERED: The body of Rene Martinez, a 40-year-old LGBTQ rights activist and member of the country’s ruling National Party, was found in the city of San Pedro Sula. Martinez, who was kidnapped last week, had apparently been strangled, officials said. Martinez was the president of a LGBTQ advocacy organization in San Pedro Sula. The U.S. Embassy in Honduras condemned the “apparent murder” of Martinez in “the strongest terms” and called for a “full and thorough investigation into the circumstances of the death.” More from The Washington Blade.
NEW RESOURCE WEBSITE FOR LESBIAN BUSINESS OWNERS: New research shows that only 1.2 percent of businesses in the US are lesbian-owned. The Lesbian Business Community is looking to change that, creating the first and only online resource for lesbian business owners. More from Curve Magazine.
- For more businesses supporting equality, check out HRC’s Storify for more companies speaking out in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month here.
- Mark It Proud is working to solve a unique problem, a lack of greeting cards for LGBTQ people. The idea came about when co-founder Daniel Malen got married and guests said they couldn’t find same-sex couple greeting cards.
TIME TO PULL OUT THE POPCORN: If you’re looking for a new show to marathon in anticipation of Pride, check out Entertainment Tonight’s list of 13 reality series that changed LGBTQ life. Among the must-sees -- Ellen Page’s Gaycation and HRC Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings’ I Am Jazz.
RAISE THE FLAG: Last night, the City Council of Clifton, New Jersey voted to raise the rainbow flag alongside the U.S. flag at City Hall in honor of LGBTQ pride month. The flag raising ceremony is scheduled for June 25, the anniversary of marriage equality. More from NJ.com.
The New York Times explores the relationship between online media and the trans community; Elle shares Hillary Clinton’s emotional new campaign video, “History Made”; Erie Reader profiles a local trans advocate; BuzzFeed breaks down talks at the United Nations to create an LGBTI Rights Officer; NBC News talks to Air Force cadets about life after “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”; and Erasing 76 Crimes lays out the nations in which same-sex activity is punishable by death.