#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: February 10, 2016
DONALD TRUMP’S WIN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE HIGHLIGHTS WHAT’S AT STAKE FOR LGBT COMMUNITY: “Donald Trump has pandered his way to the top of the field by opposing the most basic protections for LGBT people and supporting Kim Davis-style discrimination against LGBT people,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “What’s more, despite being married three times himself, this is a candidate who says he looks forward to appointing justices who would overturn marriage equality for loving same-sex couples. Donald Trump’s calculated efforts to use division, fear and bigotry to score political points is as dangerous as it is vile. Hillary Clinton is the candidate we can count on to defeat Trump -- or whichever one of these backwards anti-LGBT candidates emerges as the Republican nominee.” More here: bit.ly/1KFol8D
#HARLEMNOHATE: The Ali Forney Center is one step closer to turning a notoriously hateful church into a center for homeless LGBTQ youth. The church in question? Harlem’s infamous ATLAH World Missionary Church, which has advocated the death penalty for LGBT people and made a name for itself by posting terrible, bigoted and just plain hate-filled messages on a large sign outside of the church. The church was put up for auction after being foreclosed on for unpaid debts. The Ali Forney Center, named after an LGBT youth who was murdered only 12 blocks from the church, has outraised its $200,000 goal to buy the building. We look forward to the day the Ali Forney Center can tear down that awful sign in the name of equality. More here: bit.ly/1Q5Keub
ANOTHER BILL ATTACKING TRANSGENDER YOUTH PASSES IN SOUTH DAKOTA, FOR THOSE KEEPING TRACK, THAT MAKES THREE ANTI-LGBT BILLS: Yesterday, the South Dakota House of Representatives voted in favor of yet another piece of discriminatory legislation attacking transgender youth. Passed by a vote of 45 to 23, HB 1112 would ban transgender students from participating in athletic activities consistent with their gender identity. The third anti-LGBT piece of legislation passed by the chamber this year, HB 1112 would directly override the authority of the South Dakota High School Activities Association and states that “a student’s sex is determined by the student’s chromosomes and the sex recorded on the student’s official birth certificate.” It explicitly voids the existing policy adopted by the Association, which allows transgender students to participate in athletic activities consistent with their gender identity. Another bill being considered by the House, HB 1209, would double down on this discriminatory approach by limiting “any public body of the state or its political subdivisions” that accepts a birth certificate for any reason, to accept the birth certificate as definitive on every subject - including a person’s assigned sex at birth. The chamber has also passed HB 1107 – legislation that would explicitly authorize recipients of taxpayer funds or other state recognition to discriminate against same-sex couples, transgender people, and single mothers, and HB 1008 – a deplorable attempt to prevent transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. More here bit.ly/1LgOwxE and check out KDLT’s coverage on the work HRC and the ACLU of South Dakota are doing to combat this onslaught in the Mount Rushmore State.
ANOTHER WEST VIRGINIA NEWSPAPER SPEAKS OUT AGAINST RFRA BILL: The Register-Herald takes aim at HB 4012, which would allow any person to claim their religious beliefs excuse them from following any state or local law. Not only could the bill allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT people, the broadly-written bill would go even further, putting all minority communities at risk for discrimination. The newspaper is calling on the Senate to vote down the bill if it passes the House, writing, “...follow the lead of mayors and city councils in cities like Lewisburg and Hunnington that have stood courageously in the face of opposition and passed nondiscrimination ordinances. Besides, such laws are downright bad for business. Just ask Indiana.” More here: http://bit.ly/1T7tAzp
LGBT-INCLUSIVE NON-DISCRIMINATION BILL ALL BUT DEAD IN FLORIDA SENATE COMMITTEE: Florida’s Competitive Workplace Act, legislation in that would extend non-discrimination protections to the LGBT community in the Sunshine State, will not advance out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee has remained deadlocked, 5-5, after votes on both Monday and Tuesday of this week. The original bill was introduced by State Senator Joseph Abruzzo and marked the first time legislation addressing non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community was heard in either chamber of the Florida legislature. Following a series of amendments by Republican State Senator David Simmons on Monday, the bill was weakened by unacceptably removing protections based on “gender expression,” which would impact many transgender and gender nonconforming people. Florida remains one of 33 states nationwide that lack explicit and fully inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBT people at the state level. Yesterday, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton threw her weight behind the original legislation telling the Miami Herald, “LGBT Floridians deserve to live their lives free from discrimination — and establishing comprehensive nondiscrimination protections would be a critical step forward for both Florida and the nation.” More here: bit.ly/1WedIdI and bit.ly/1orNfyO
ANTI-LGBT BILL DEFEATED IN OKLAHOMA, DOZENS MORE TO GO: Yesterday, Oklahoma’s Senate Judiciary Committee voted against a bill that would authorize individuals, businesses, and taxpayer-funded agencies to use religion as a legal reason to refuse goods or services to LGBT people. Despite this huge victory, there are still dozens of anti-LGBT bills up for consideration in the Sooner State. The state leads the way with over two dozen anti-LGBT bills dubbed the “Slate of Hate.” These anti-LGBT bills range from a proposed Joint House Resolution that would put the right to discriminate on the ballot; an extremely dangerous pro-“conversion therapy” bill; bills seeking to restrict transgender people from using facilities consistent with their gender identity; and even a bill explicitly allowing student groups to exclude some students – including those who are LGBT – without losing university recognition or funds for doing so, as well as numerous pieces of legislation attempting to undermine marriage equality. More on the defeat of SB 1328 here: bit.ly/1PAmQWe and bit.ly/23WTmvk
ANTI-LGBT PASTOR DAVE WELCH JUST WON’T GO AWAY: Anti-LGBT pastor Dave Welch, one of the extremist behind the fight against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), has set his sights on Dallas, where the city council recently voted to strengthen non-discrimination protections for the transgender community. Welch and the U.S. Pastor Council who are set to discuss how to fight the ordinance today, have been one of the driving forces behind the trans bathroom myth which erroneously claims that granting transgender people the right to use the appropriate sex-segregated bathroom, would be the equivalent of men dressed as woman going into women’s bathrooms to attack women and girls. This outrageous lie has gained traction thanks to Welch and his cohorts, and continues to be the issue of focus whenever LGBT protections are discussed at the state, local and national levels. The group is also working to fight an LGBT-inclusive ordinance from passing in Jacksonville. Remember the days when pastors used to preach about love and acceptance? More here: bit.ly/1o2RbWZ
AROUND THE WORLD
(MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN) GEORGIA ON MY MIND: Georgian civil rights lawyer Giorgi Tatishvili is making history this week as he appeals to the constitutional court to legalize same-sex marriage, marking the first attempt to bring LGBT rights to the predominantly Orthodox Christian country. Advocates for marriage equality in the country are looking to Georgia’s Constitution for their arguments, stating that the document defines “family” as a union between spouses, leaving the gender of said spouses undefined. More here: bit.ly/1Les6gt
The Guardian looks at LGBT progress in six countries… Just in time for tax season, ABC News shares some tips for same-sex couples… MSNBC chronicles the (not-yet-over) fight for marriage equality… AL.com celebrates the anniversary of marriage equality in Alabama with a wedding photo album… ABC Australia wonders why six months have passed without a public vote on marriage equality… San Diego LGBT Weekly explains a study showing hormone therapy improves psychological health in trans communities… and The Washington Blade looks at the two openly LGBT candidates running for Congress in New Hampshire.