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#AM_Equality Tipsheet: December 14, 2016

NEW HRC REPORT — EQUALITY OPPONENTS RAMPING UP STATE EFFORTS TO SANCTION DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBTQ PEOPLE: Despite historic progress on equality over the last decade, many states are targeting the LGBTQ community with discriminatory legislation, according to a report released today by the HRC Foundation. HRC’s State Equality Index (SEI), issued in partnership with the Equality Federation, reveals that opponents of equality are ramping up efforts to sanction discrimination against LGBTQ people by proposing state-level laws that would undermine existing protections, erode marital rights of legally-married same-sex couples, target transgender people — particularly youth — and limit the ability of cities and towns to pass their own inclusive laws. In 2017, HB2-style, anti-LGBTQ legislation is expected to be raised in states including Texas, Tennessee, West Virginia and Arkansas — with the potential of dozens of discriminatory bills in Texas alone. “State governments have a clear choice between sowing the seeds of division and discrimination or building an economy that works for everyone by fostering fairness and inclusion,” said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). “Unfortunately, too many lawmakers have decided to target LGBTQ people for state-sanctioned discrimination and to interfere with local protections for workers, customers and residents. Now more than ever, it is crucial that legislators across the country stand on the right side of history and ensure full equality for all their citizens — nothing more and nothing less.” More from HRC.

TENNESSEE BUSINESS COALITION WARNS LEGISLATURE ABOUT HARMFUL ANTI-LGBTQ MEASURES: As the 2017 legislative session approaches, more than 190 Tennessee businesses are serving notice that they want their representatives in the State Capitol to learn from North Carolina’s disastrous anti-LGBTQ law  — and not make the same mistake. The Tennessean’s Jamie McGee (@JamieMcGee_) recounts the enormous economic fallout North Carolina suffered after Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB2 into law, and says that the new group, Tennessee Thrives, is warning of similar repercussions if state lawmakers there move to discriminate. Read the full story in The Tennessean.

And in Texas: Governor Abbott claims to be in the “information-gathering stage” of considering an anti-transgender public accommodations bill. This morning, HRC helped him out with some of that research. Read more on Twitter.

WITH RICK PERRY PICK, TRUMP ADDS YET ANOTHER ANTI-LGBTQ CABINET APPOINTEE: In picking Rick Perry to head the nation’s Energy Department, President-elect Donald Trump is embracing a longtime politician with an equally long history of opposing LGBTQ equality. As a presidential candidate, Perry touted his opposition to LGBTQ rights, including releasing a notorious ad in 2011 during which he scurrilously asserted that there was something “wrong” with our country when “…gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.” As governor, Perry supported a ballot measure to ban marriage equality in Texas, endorsed a federal Constitutional amendment banning marriage equality nationwide and attacked judges who have ruled against marriage bans. During an interview with NPR, Perry suggested that Texans who support marriage equality should move to California. He even defied a Department of Defense rule that granted LGB service members access to spousal benefits. Perry also defended then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s “right to discriminate” law, which put LGBTQ people at risk and cost the state millions of dollars. And just like Pence, Perry also attacked the Obama Administration for fighting for LGBTQ equality abroad. More from HRC.

As if that’s not all bad enough, yesterday a member of President-elect Trump’s transition team claimed that disgraced North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory “definitely” has a place in Trump’s administration. Reminder: McCrory was the only incumbent Republican governor to lose on Election Day. Results of major post-election polls found that the anti-LGBTQ HB2 was the critical issue leading to McCrory’s defeat. North Carolina voters opposed to HB2 62 to 30 percent, and cited the discriminatory law as leading reason to vote against McCrory. More from The Charlotte Observer.

Meanwhile, President-elect Trump offered Montana GOP Congressman Ryan Zinke the position of Interior Secretary. While Zinke hasn’t formally accepted, it’s worth noting that he received a “zero” on the HRC Congressional Scorecard and made the absurd suggestion in a debate this year that being a lesbian — like his Democratic opponent — was a choice.

WHAT WE’RE READING WEDNESDAY — WASH POST SAYS “TRUMP HAS A LOT TO LEARN FROM LORETTA LYNCH”: In an op ed this morning, The Washington Post notes that on Monday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch visited a mosque in Northern Virginia, and on Tuesday held a roundtable with LGBTQ youths at a New York high school. Writes the Post, “It is not happenstance that she is using her last month in office to reach out to groups that are among the most vulnerable to hate crimes. Hopefully her message will be embraced and extended by the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.” Read more here. Later, Lynch discussed the future of LGBTQ rights with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow during an interview at the historic Stonewall Inn in New York City. Check it out.

  • The Trevor Project has found increased anxiety in LGBTQ youth since Election Day, reports Voice of America.

MAMA DRAGONS STAND UP FOR MORMON LGBTQ YOUTH: Mormon mothers are standing up for their LGBTQ children in a powerful way. These “Mama Dragons,” a group of women affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, are dedicated to ensuring that their LGBTQ children are safe and loved — even if it means going against their communities, church and other family members. Read a powerful interview with one Mama Dragon, Jen Blair of Twin Falls, Idaho, in MagicValley.com.

ANTI-LGBTQ GROUP WITHDRAWS LAWSUIT AGAINST MASSACHUSETTS MEASURE PROTECTING TRANS PEOPLE: The Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson (@ChrisJohnson82) reports that the anti-LGBTQ Alliance Defending Freedom voluntarily dismissed its challenge of a recently-enacted Massachusetts law prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in bathrooms and public accommodations, “citing changes in guidance the state made for houses of worship.” Johnson reports that in advance of the lawsuit’s withdrawal, the state agreed to remove “houses of worship” not in fact open to the public as an example of a “place of public accommodation.” Although the lawsuit was dropped, it will still be on the ballot in 2018. Read more here.

PITTSBURGH CITY COUNCIL BANS SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY” FOR MINORS: Yesterday, members voted unanimously to ban the dangerous and debunked practice for minors, and a spokesperson for Mayor Bill Peduto said that he plans to sign the bill into municipal law. More from Penn Live.

“IF A QUEER DAUGHTER OF MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS CAN BE ELECTED… THE AMERICAN DREAM IS ALIVE AND THRIVING”: At the inauguration of San Diego’s city council, new members highlighted an agenda that includes affirming the city’s dedication to the LGBTQ community and creating an inclusive city for all. Councilmember Georgette Gomez explained her optimism despite the results of the presidential election with a personal note: “If the openly queer daughter of Mexican immigrants can be elected as your City Councilwoman, then the American Dream is still alive and thriving,” More from The San Diego Union-Tribune.

ANTI-LGBTQ MAN ATTACKS INCLUSIVE CHURCH — “TRUMP GAVE HIM PERMISSION”: A church in Tempe, Arizona, reported that a man stormed into their offices spouting hateful language about the LGBTQ community. The church’s pastor says the man was responding to a rainbow flag the church hangs to support its LGBTQ members. Pastor Doug Bland also said the man claimed that the intruder said he “felt he had permission to say and act the way he wanted” because Trump won the presidency. More from AZFamily.com.

HRC HONORS GLOBAL LGBTQ ADVOCATES ON HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: This week, HRC and Human Rights First honored Caleb Orozco and Olena Hloba at their second annual Human Rights Day reception. Orozco was instrumental in bringing down Belize’s “anti-sodomy” law, and Hloba cofounded an LGBTQ allies organization to support her openly gay son and other LGBTQ Ukrainians. More from HRC.

READING RAINBOW

HRC interviews HIV 360° Fellow PJ Moton about his vision of an AIDS-free generation… Vulture reinterprets the classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” as an allegory for coming out as LGBTQ… Salon calls on Melania Trump to keep her promise to combat bullying, especially bullying against LGBTQ youth…

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