#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: January 27, 2016

HRC staff

INDIANA’S “SUPER-RFRA” DIES IN COMMITTEE, MORE HEARINGS ON ANTI-LGBT LEGISLATION TODAY: Three bills that could dramatically impact LGBT Hoosiers and visitors are scheduled for committee hearings today in the Indiana legislature. Thankfully, Senate Bill 66 – an anti-LGBT “Super RFRA” that would create sweeping exemptions encouraging people to pick and choose which laws they’re going to follow, has reportedly died in committee. Two non-discrimination bills are also scheduled for a committee hearing today at 4:00pm ET, but they fall far short of the full protections that LGBT Hoosiers need and deserve. Senate Bill 100 claims to update Indiana’s civil rights law, but would actually override existing municipal civil rights protections and write broad religious exemptions into law, among other serious problems. Senate Bill 344 also seeks to update Indiana’s civil rights law, but, along with other flaws, it unacceptably excludes any and all protections for transgender Hoosiers. More here: http://indy.st/1Sb1KDG (paywall) and here: http://bit.ly/1OPjFvu

NYC LGBT POLITICIANS SAY #IMWITHHER: The New York Daily News reports that 10 LGBT state and city elected officials in New York City have put their weight behind Hillary Clinton. Assemblymember Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan), the first openly gay member of the state legislature said, “Not only has she been a proven leader domestically on issues around women's rights, LGBT rights and education, she has been a superlative diplomat with a wide range of international experience unlike any other candidate.” Matthew Titone (D-Staten Island) echoed Glick’s sentiment saying, “I am glad Hillary Clinton has come around on LGBT issues. I am supporting her because I believe she will be the most capable in implementing an agenda that benefits all hard working families and the diverse people of our great nation.” Last week, HRC also announced its support for Hillary Clinton, an endorsement which she formally accepted at a campaign event in West Des Moines, Iowa over the weekend. The Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens, the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, and the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats have also backed Clinton for President. More here: http://nydn.us/1WNOILn

KEEPING UP WITH KIM DAVIS: In a recent interview with Sandy Rios of the American Family Association, Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis said she “consider[s] it a joy to be chosen, to make a stand and to defend God's word.” Reminder: The American Family Association is an organization that has been classified a hate-group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Just last week, Davis and her lawyers appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, that she was “a prisoner of conscience” whose personal beliefs were violated when she was asked to do her job. In the interview Davis also lamented that in his State of the Union, President Obama, “never once said anything of the people of the Christian faith, who are being so tried and tested and being mashed down, literally, by his agenda.” The saga continues. Listen here: http://bit.ly/1SaWVKR

A.M. MUST READ: CONNECTICUT LAW TRIBUNE ON “ANOTHER DANGEROUS THREAT TO LGBT RIGHTS” Calling it “scary” and “dangerous,” the Connecticut Law Tribune takes a look at the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” and sounds a warning bell: “A federal contractor would only have to assert that gay marriage violates their "moral convictions," and they could fire lesbian and gay employees with impunity. Federal grantees, such as homeless shelters and drug treatment programs, could turn away lesbian and gay people at the door. A hospital or clinic which must now allow a patient to have any visitor they request, even if the visitor is a same-sex spouse, could simply state that allowing such visits would be a violation of their religious beliefs and deny entrance to the same-sex spouse.” More here: http://bit.ly/1PSPdyx

MEET THE 3 PRO-LGBT REPUBLICAN SENATORS UP FOR REELECTION: Roll Call’s Eric Garcia, takes a look at the three pro-LGBT Republican senators who are up for re-election this year and facing tough primary challengers. Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are with the vast majority of Americans who support marriage equality, and Senator Kirk became the first Senate Republican to cosponsor the Equality Act last week saying, “Discrimination on the basis of being gay is against the law in Illinois and should be against the law nationwide. More here: http://bit.ly/1UqwUnX


SOUTH DAKOTA LAWMAKERS VOTE TO ADVANCE DEPLORABLE ANTI-TRANS LEGISLATION: Earlier this week, the South Dakota House State Affairs Committee voted in favor of advancing HB 1008 – discriminatory legislation targeting transgender students – to the House floor. A vote on the deplorable bill could happen in the House as early as today. The legislation seeks to prevent transgender students in public schools from using facilities that are consistent with their gender identity, and was also amended in committee to require educational institutions to pay the costs of the resulting legal challenges. HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow slammed the vote saying, “This discriminatory measure would put state law in direct conflict with the United States Department of Education, and now lawmakers want to force schools in the state to pay for the expensive legal challenges that would result. These lawmakers are shamefully threatening to only compound the pervasive discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation, and violence that transgender students already tragically face.” Based on findings from HRC’s groundbreaking survey of over 10,000 LGBT-identified youth, the HRC Foundation, in partnership with Gender Spectrum, released a report in 2014 on gender-expansive youth – or young respondents who identified as transgender or chose “other.” Findings revealed the heartbreaking reality that gender-expansive youth take the brunt of exclusion and verbal harassment both inside and outside of school compared to their peers. This outrageous legislation in South Dakota is part of an onslaught of anti-LGBT bills being pushed in 2016 by anti-equality activists around the country. Check out HRC’s analysis of state and legislative battles and read more here: http://bit.ly/1TnHf5U and here: http://bit.ly/1OPepZ5

PRO-EQUALITY VOTE IN VA SENATE COMMITTEE: Earlier this week, Virginia’s Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology voted in favor of a bill that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT public employees. Advocate groups such as the Equality Virginia, Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition, and Progress Virgina all applauded the bipartisan vote, which now secures consideration of the measure by the full Senate. Despite this positive step, a whopping ten anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in the first few days of the state’s legislative session this year, including a bill that would make it legal for clerks and deputy clerks with religious or moral objections to refuse to issue marriage licenses, and another that would make it practically impossible for transgender people to change the listed sex on their birth certificates. More here: http://bit.ly/1ZSNYEN

FLORIDA LAWMAKERS POSTPONE VOTE ON LGBT NON-DISCRIMINATION BILL: The Senate Judiciary Committee in Florida opted to postpone a hearing on the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, after the committee hearing was taken over by debates on other bills. Introduced by Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Boynton Beach, the legislation would update the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations, housing and employment, and is expected to be brought before the same committee next week. Florida is one of 33 states nationwide that lack explicit and fully inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBT people at the state level. This reality underscores the need for the Equality Act, federal legislation that would guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBT people from discrimination. More here: http://bit.ly/1RNtMoi and here: http://bit.ly/1lS4A1R

PUSH FOR LGBT NON-DISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS IN MISSOURI: Following Governor Jay Nixon’s call for state legislators to pass the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act (MONA), legislation that which would protect LGBT residents and visitors from discrimination, Missouri Democrats are already heeding the call for equality. Openly gay Democratic Rep. Mike Colona has said that despite the House Majority Leader’s admission that the bill has no chance in his chamber, Colona is not giving up the fight for LGBT protections. According to the Associated Press, Senate Minority Leader Joe Keaveny has filed a separate non-discrimination bill that is scheduled for a hearing later today, but unfortunately, six anti-LGBT bills have also been introduced this session. More here: http://bit.ly/204OCEr and here: http://sgfnow.co/1SaXWCF

MUST WATCH: WEST VIRGINIA ELECTED OFFICIALS UNITE TO SUPPORT LGBT EQUALITY: Fairness West Virginia has released a new video featuring lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressing their support for an update to the state’s Human Rights Act that would guarantee non-discrimination protections for LGBT visitors and residents. “The United States Constitution guarantees to its citizens equal protection under the law,” Republican State Senator Charles Trump says in the video. “And government should not be in the business of discriminating against one class or group of people.” The video was released following the introduction of the Religious Freedom of Conscience Act, an anti-LGBT bill that is backed by the conservative Family Policy Council and would allow West Virginians’ to use their religion to discriminate. Currently, six communities in West Virginia have already banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Watch here: http://huff.to/1nxYPIq

MORE STATES LOOK TO PROTECT LGBTQ YOUTH FROM “CONVERSION THERAPY”: Hawaii and Georgia may soon follow the lead of many jurisdictions that have banned the dangerous and discredited practice of “conversion therapy” in minors. Lawmakers in both states have filed legislation that would prevent therapists and psychiatric professionals from practicing conversion therapy on minors, but with a Republican-controlled legislature, this could be an uphill battle in Georgia. Last year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) released a new report definitively denouncing the practice, and HRC and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) released sample legislation for state legislators and equality advocates who want to protect LGBTQ youth. NCLR and HRC have also partnered with state equality groups across the nation to pass state legislation to end this dangerous practice, including laws passed in California, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon and Illinois. Last month Cincinnati became the first city to ban the practice that amounts to nothing more than child abuse. More here: http://bit.ly/1PE5NYH and here: http://bit.ly/1Pjo5fO


ANOTHER MEXICAN STATE LEGALIZES MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Yesterday, the Mexican State of Jalisco became the sixth in country to legalize same-sex marriage. The Mexico Supreme Court unanimously voted to strike down language from the Jalisco state law that refers to marriage as, “An institution of public character and social interest, through which a man and a woman decide to share a state of life in search of personal fulfillment and the foundation of a family.” In June, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, but the legal precedent unfortunately did not invalidate any of the state laws. Marriage equality is already the law of the land in Quintana Roo, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Guerrero, the city of Santiago de Querétaro and the Federal District of Mexico City, but continues to be denied to same-sex couples in most of Mexico’s states. More here: http://abcn.ws/1UqfOXz

EAT. PROTEST. LOVE? ITALY?: Tomorrow, politicians in Italy will debate passing legislation that would allow civil unions and the recognition of same-sex partnerships. Italy is currently the only Western European country without these protections and many think it’s time that Italy joined the party. Protesters around the country are calling for Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to make good on his promise to pass a civil unions bill. More here: http://bbc.in/1PjoAX2

CONSERVATIVE PORTUGUESE PRESIDENT LEAVING UGLY: In one of his last acts as president of Portugal, Anibal Cavaco Silva has vetoed a bill passed by the country’s parliament last month allowing same-sex couples to adopt. Silva wrong-headedly characterized his action as “in the child’s best interest,” an argument that has proven not to hold water. AFP reported that the ruling Socialist Party, which helped knock out the conservative government in November, would attempt to override Silva’s veto. More here: http://yhoo.it/1WNSzbn

PennLive shares an op-ed from local lawyers calling for LGBT civil rights legislation…. Vice takes a deep dive into the anti-LGBT movement in Uganda…. The Huffington Post looks at how medical schools are failing the LGBT community… and ahead of the civil unions vote, International Business Times looks at how marriage equality could boost Italy’s economy.

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to A.M. Equality, and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!

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