HRC ENDORSES HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT: Today HRC announced that its Board of Directors, comprised of 32 community leaders from across the nation, unanimously voted to endorse Secretary Hillary Clinton for President. Today’s endorsement -- which she will accept on Sunday at an event with HRC supporters in Des Moines, Iowa -- comes at a time when the stakes could not be higher for the LGBT community. HRC’s endorsement video highlights what’s at stake -- from the Equality Act, to the Supreme Court, to transgender equality and more -- and the vast gap between Hillary Clinton and her leading Republican opponents on crucial issues for LGBT Americans: bit.ly/1U9aFCT. HRC also launched a website featuring highlights from Secretary Clinton’s record and robust LGBT equality agenda here: http://www.hrc.org/hrc
LGBT VOTE WILL BE CRUCIAL TO VICTORY IN 2016: As part of its endorsement this morning, HRC also announced an unprecedented effort to mobilize pro-equality voters in 2016, noting it has already put staff and resources on the ground in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina with more states to come. The LGBT vote alone will play a crucial role in this year’s presidential election: six million self-identified LGB voters helped decide the 2012 election, which President Obama won by five million votes -- and the strength of the LGBT vote in key states like Ohio, Florida and North Carolina is double the margin of victory in the last three presidential elections.
HILLARY CLINTON’S STATEMENT: "I'm honored to receive the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign—the nation’s largest organization working to achieve full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. Thanks to the Human Rights Campaign and millions of advocates across the country, we’ve made tremendous progress. But our work is far from over. Too many LGBT Americans still face discrimination—in employment, in housing, in education, in health care—because of who they are or who they love. And the stakes in this election couldn't be higher. The Republican candidates for president have not only hurled hateful, insulting rhetoric about the LGBT community—they’ve made it clear that if elected, they will roll back the rights that so many have fought for. as President, I will continue to fight alongside the LGBT community to pass the Equality Act. I’ll support efforts to allow transgender personnel to serve openly, and I’ll end the dangerous practice of 'conversion therapy' on minors. I’ll expand access to HIV prevention and treatment, and confront the epidemic of violence facing the transgender community, especially transgender women of color. And I’ll continue the efforts I led as Secretary of State to advance the human rights of LGBT people around the world. I'm proud to stand with the Human Rights Campaign in this fight. Together, we can and will make our country—and our world—more just, fair, and equal for generations to come."
HRC PRESIDENT CHAD GRIFFIN’S STATEMENT: “All the progress we have made as a nation on LGBT equality -- and all the progress we have yet to make -- is at stake in November. In most states, LGBT people are still at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services simply because of who they are. Today, 63 percent of LGBT Americans report having experienced such discrimination, and we are seeing other troubling trends, from the onslaught of state and local anti-LGBT measures to the national scourge of anti-transgender violence to backsliding on HIV/AIDS prevention and youth homelessness. Against this backdrop, we’ve heard the leading Republican presidential candidates repeatedly threaten to block our progress, and to revoke, repeal, and overturn the gains we’ve made during President Obama’s two terms. While they fight to take us backwards, Hillary Clinton is fighting to advance LGBT equality across our nation and throughout the world. We are proud to endorse Hillary Clinton for president, and believe that she is the champion we can count on in November -- and every day she occupies the Oval Office.”
PRESIDENT OBAMA ON ROY MOORE -- MARRIAGE EQUALITY IS “HERE TO STAY”: Check out YouTube Star Ingrid Nilsen's interview with President Obama. Nilsen, who came out as gay in an emotional video last June, spoke to the president about a host of issues, including Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s recent order banning all probate judges in the state from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In his first public statement on the subject, President Obama said, “The Supreme Court has ruled… The fact that an Alabama judge is resisting… is just a temporary gesture by this judge, which will be rapidly overturned.” He also spoke on the work ahead in fighting anti-LGBT discrimination, but said he’s “hopeful” because younger generations support equality. We hope Roy Moore is listening.Watch here: bit.ly/1ZB69nw and more here: bit.ly/1Jf6WDy
CRUZ’S NEW YORK VALUES: Donald Trump has found a new political target in Ted Cruz, who recently criticized him for having “New York values” (whatever that means). Trump is now repaying the favor by criticizing Cruz for taking money from openly-gay New York business owners Mati Weiderpass and Ian Reisner, calling Cruz the “ultimate hypocrite.” Trump is known for his mixed messages on LGBT equality, while Cruz seems to be intent on making anti-transgender rhetoric in particular an integral part of his bid for the White House. Despite what he may say to whoever has their checkbook open, Cruz has a long record of anti-LGBT positions. More here: bit.ly/1n7sCXy and bit.ly/1RZf4cs
MONTANA GOV. SIGNS EXEC. ORDER PROTECTING LGBT STATE EMPLOYEES: Yesterday, Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed a historic executive order that will prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for state employees, as well as state contractors and subcontractors. The order, which goes into effect immediately, will direct Montana’s Department of Administration to ensure that state agencies, state contractors and subcontractors do not discriminate in employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It also bans discrimination in the provision of government services, and calls for inclusive non-discrimination and harassment prevention programs with an emphasis on cultural diversity. HRC President Chad Griffin commended Governor Bullock for “[taking] a bold step to expand equality and fairness for all.” Bullock is building on the pro-equality actions of former Governor Brian Schweitzer, who issued an executive order that protected state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. More here: bit.ly/1WqB3Kb
INFAMOUS ANTI-LGBT CONGRESSMAN SCOTT GARRETT GOES ON ANTI-LGBT TIRADE, IGNORES IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: In an effort to bury his response to criticism of being vehemently anti-LGBT (which he is), Rep. Scott Garrett finally broke his silence late Friday--which coincided with MLK weekend--in a statement that alludes to what he called “partisan attacks on religious freedom” and his right to practice his religion as he chooses. According to NorthJersey.com this was Garrett’s first response on his decision not to give money to the Republican Campaign Fund because it has supported openly gay candidates in the past. Read more about Garrett’s refusal to answer basic questions about his record and positions here: bit.ly/1Q3PukC
NEW JERSEY SCHOOL DISTRICT TO ADOPT TRANS-INCLUSIVE POLICY: Cherry Hill School District of New Jersey plans to implement a transgender-inclusive school policy that would allow students to use restroom facilities that correspond with their gender identity or use single-stall gender-neutral bathrooms, which aligns with recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Education. The board is expected to approve the policy next month. Several districts in the Garden State are taking on this issue -- some like Mahwah Public Schools are being similarly inclusive, while others like Toms River Regional Schools have residents who are actively opposing these types of policy. More here: cbsloc.al/1T17j6K
(RELIGIOUS) LIBERTY RIDGE FARM LOSES APPEAL: Liberty Ridge Farm in Upstate New York lost its appeal to discriminate against same-sex couples. The New York Appeals Court affirmed that the farm falls under the category of ‘place of public accommodation,’ and must therefore abide by the state’s Human Rights Law. Liberty Ridge is represented by the notorious hate group the Alliance Defending Freedom. More here: bit.ly/1RQZH7T
LEWISBURG, WV CITY COUNCIL POSTPONES HEARING ON LGBT ORDINANCE: Last Friday, the Lewisburg City Council voted to postpone today’s scheduled hearing on an ordinance that--if approved after a second reading--would establish protections for residents based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, sex, age and several other categories. On the postponement, Mayor John Manchester told the Register Herald, that they are working to ensure that they have “all the information at hand” in case of a possible legal challenge. Six other communities in West Virginia have already implemented such protections for LGBT people. More here: bit.ly/1PnSG7u
AROUND THE WORLD
ROMANIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH TRYING TO BAN MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Last week, the Romanian Orthodox Church announced its support for proposal introduced by the conservative group the Family Coalition, that would place a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, by defining the institution as between one man and one woman. Last September the European Parliament urged 9 countries including Romania to “consider the possibility of offering gay couples cohabitation, registered de facto unions and marriage.” Same-sex relationships in Romania were decriminalized in 2001. More here: nyti.ms/1ODb2lr and bit.ly/1PCZIFS
Fusion looks at LGBT discrimination in hiring practices… BuzzFeed highlights LGBT Christian reactions to the Anglican Communion suspending the Episcopal Church…The Clarion-Ledger dives into a complicated legal case that opens new questions regarding same-sex custody and divorces in a post-marriage-equality world... Time explores what the Vietnamese LGBT community needs a year after the country lifted the ban on same-sex marriage… the Washington Blade reports on a study that shows the negative effect homophobia has on Jamaica’s economy…. and the Houston Chronicle (paywall) takes an in-depth look at coming out in the energy sector.