#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: March 1, 2016

DOWN TO WIRE IN SOUTH DAKOTA AS GOVERNOR DAUGAARD DECIDES FATE OF ANTI-TRANS BILL: As HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement yesterday, “This is not a complicated issue.” South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard has fewer than 13 hours to veto a proposal attacking transgender youth before it automatically becomes law. We implore him to listen to the broad chorus of LGBT organizations, businesses, child advocacy organizations, editorial boards and--most importantly--transgender students and their families, urging him to veto this deplorable legislation. If he does not act before 11:59 pm CT tonight to protect the state’s transgender children from this legislative assault against their rights, dignity, and safety, South Dakota will become the first state in the nation to enact a law that specifically targets transgender youth in school. A failure to veto the measure would also place South Dakota school districts into the untenable position of choosing between complying with state or federal law, putting them at risk of losing up to nearly $200 million in federal funding for their schools in addition to the cost of inevitable litigation. All eyes are on Gov. Daugaard. More here: bit.ly/1oK6enX

GOV. DEAL FEELING THE HEAT ON GEORGIA’S FADA?: The chief executives of Salesforce, Unilever, Dell Inc., Virgin Group and Microsoft have all joined the chorus of business leaders urging Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and state lawmakers to reject H.B. 757 -- a First Amendment Defense Act that would allow individuals to use religion as an excuse for discrimination. No word yet on Gov. Deal’s plans, but he’s definitely feeling the heat and released the following statement yesterday: “I do not want us to do anything that will be perceived as allowing discrimination in the state of Georgia. That is not who we are as a people. And I don’t think we have to do that in order to give the security that the faith-based community thinks we need. I want to make sure we don’t go out of balance.” Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, helped lead the charge against anti-LGBT legislation in Indiana and is doing it again in Georgia. He’s already announced that the company will decrease its investments in the state if H.B.757 is passed. More here: on-ajc.com/1QpUj9J

MORMON ELDER THINKS GAY PEOPLE AREN’T REAL: In a strange question and answer session posted on Facebook, Mormon Elder David A. Bednar claims there are “no homosexual members of the church.” In a bizarre attempt to rationalize his claim, he goes on to say that Mormons should not listen to “the world” and it’s call for tolerance. Watch here: http://on.fb.me/1UwwsqE

TWO CAMPAIGNS, ONE SOURCE OF TERRIBLE ADVICE: The Blaze reports that Ted Cruz has launched his “Religious Liberty Advisory Council.” Members include Tony Perkins and the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan T. Anderson. There’s just one little problem. Anderson already joined the Rubio campaign’s “marriage and family board.” We’ve often made the case that Cruz and Rubio have the same anti-LGBT positions -- and now with them sharing the same anti-LGBT policy advisers, it’s easy to see why. More here: bit.ly/1ngd4Re


TENNESSEE LAWMAKER STILL FIGHTING FOR THE NATURAL MARRIAGE DEFENSE ACT: Yesterday, Tennessee State Senator Mae Beaver announced that despite the fact that it is clearly unconstitutional and has already been rejected by a Senate committee, she is still hoping to move forward with the Natural Marriage Defense Act. She wants to see the House version resurrected, and released a statement saying, “The action by only a few legislators denies the citizens of Tennessee, who made the definition of marriage a part of our Constitution, the opportunity to have their representatives take a stand for both traditional marriage and constitutional integrity.” The Volunteer State has spent a lot of time trying to nullify the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality over the past several weeks. Several counties passed resolutions approving anti-marriage equality encouragements and HJR 529, a symbolic resolution that allows lawmakers to express their animosity toward the Supreme Court, is quickly advancing through the State Legislature. Reminder to Mae Beaver, analysis by the Tennessee General Assembly's Fiscal Review Committee determined that the Natural Marriage Defense Act would cost the state upwards of $8 billion annually. More here: bit.ly/1TkA1B3

SCOTUS DECLINES TO HEAR CHALLENGE TO NEW JERSEY’S LAW BANNING “CONVERSION THERAPY”: Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to New Jersey’s law protecting LGBTQ youth from the fraudulent and dangerous practice of so-called “conversion therapy,” which was signed into law in 2013 by Governor Chris Christie. The Court’s action leaves in place the decision of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upholding the law’s constitutionality. Last May, the Supreme Court declined to review a separate challenge to the same law, and in June of 2014, the Court refused to hear similar challenges to California’s law protecting youth from this dangerous and discredited practice. California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon and the District of Columbia have all passed laws protecting LGBTQ minors from this so-called therapy, and more than 20 states have introduced similar legislation this year. Following an executive action from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, New York is also adopting regulations to protect youth from the abusive treatment. Last week, HRC, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a historic federal consumer fraud complaint against a major provider of “conversion therapy,” urging the Federal Trade Commission to take enforcement action against the organization and all practitioners engaging in similar fraudulent advertising and business practices. More here: bit.ly/1pmETc6


INDONESIA CONTINUES TO SPIRAL ON LGBT RHETORIC: Indonesia is making headlines again for a new round of hateful messaging and decisions that impact the LGBT community. Last week, the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission issued a directive banning programming where men behave “effeminately.” According to the Gay Star News, the Commission said in a statement that “airing this content thus can encourage children to learn and/or justify inappropriate behavior such as common in everyday life.” This is the second such directive in two weeks, as they have already warned broadcasters once against promoting the LGBT community. For the past several weeks, the LGBT community in the majority Muslim country has been under attack. Funding for LGBT programning has been banned, along with LGBT-related stickers and emojis on messaging apps. The country’s largest psychiatric body even declared transgender people to be “mentally ill.” Government officials have also been ramping up the anti-LGBT rhetoric. Indonesia’s Defense Minister called the LGBT community a “threat” to the country, and we kid you not, the mayor of the Indonesian city of Tangerang said that milk formula and instant noodles can turn babies gay. More here: bit.ly/1OJuJH3

FACEBOOK DOWN UNDER: As politicians continue to argue about the possibility of marriage equality in Australia, Facebook has “friended” Australian Marriage Equality (AME). Allowing Australians to voice their support for marriage equality with a Facebook profile frame, AME is hopeful that politicians will realize that when over 70 percent of the population is ready for equality, it might be time for them to catch up fast. More here: bit.ly/1Sf59kb

DON’T LET THEM EAT WEDDING CAKE: Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s long-reviled dictator, is making headlines again for the latest in a stream of vile homophobic rants. This time it seems he would rather see his country forgo $1.6 billion dollars in food aid than accept any progress on LGBT equality. Also, Mugabe decided to make this statement on his 92nd birthday, the celebration of which reportedly cost $800,000. He probably should have just stuck to blowing out the candles with all that hot air. More here: bit.ly/1T5Zy0s


ThinkProgress shows how the Washington State Human Rights Council breaks down the myth of “men in women’s bathrooms”... OUT profiles the transgender teenager who helped bring a LGBT-inclusive curriculum to New York City schools... Huffington Post highlights the LGBT health stories you should know… BBC News takes a closer look at the sudden onslaught in hate against the LGBT community in Indonesia… Reuters explores the newest haven for LGBT people, Vietnam…. Keen News Service takes an in-depth look at the LGBT support for Hillary Clinton in South Carolina…. and PBS Newshour covers the LGBT advocates who are fighting to get South Dakota Governor to veto H.B. 1008.

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!

HRC staff

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