HRC LEGAL DIRECTOR TESTIFIES AT NEIL GORSUCH’S SCOTUS NOMINATION HEARING: Yesterday, HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Gorsuch’s nomination, where she detailed the equality case against the nominee. “We might not agree with every decision a Supreme Court Justice may make. But we must believe in their commitment to reaching impartial judgments based upon fact, not political ideology or bias,” said Warbelow during the hearing. “And they must agree that LGBTQ people have fundamental rights protected by the Constitution and that we, as individuals and as a community, are entitled to equal treatment under the law. We need a Justice who recognizes our basic equality and shared humanity. Judge Gorsuch has never met this bar.” Warbelow’s written testimony can be found here. And her oral testimony is here. More from HRC.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has asked his fellow Democrats to join him in filibustering the Gorsuch vote. More from The Washington Post.
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VA GOV MCAULIFFE VETOES “LICENSE TO DISCRIMINATE” BILLS: Yesterday, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed SB 1324 and HB 2025 — discriminatory legislation seeking to give taxpayer-funded agencies and service providers a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people under the guise of religion. “Governor Terry McAuliffe continues to solidify his place in history as a stalwart champion of fairness and equality,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “In truth, this vile legislation had nothing to do with protecting the right to practice one’s religion and everything to do with enshrining taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people into state law. By vetoing this discriminatory legislation, Governor McAuliffe has sent a powerful and inclusive message that Virginia is welcoming and open for business to all. We urge the Virginia Legislature to uphold this decision.” SB 1324 and HB 2025 sought to allow taxpayer-funded organizations, like homeless shelters and adoption agencies, a special license to discriminate by refusing service to same-sex couples, transgender people, and anyone suspected of having intimate relationships outside of a heterosexual marriage (such as single mothers or a cohabiting straight couple) without losing taxpayer funding, contracts, licensing, or other forms of state recognition. More from HRC.
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FRIDAY CLAPBACK — NEARLY 600 ACADEMICS DEBUNK ANTI-TRANS SO-CALLED “EXPERT”: Yesterday, nearly 600 academic and medical experts responded to essays written by Dr. Paul McHugh, a psychologist who has never performed any research on gender and sexual orientation, but who has become the go-to “expert” for anti-equality extremists. McHugh’s writings have been cited by anti-LGBTQ, and in particular anti-transgender, activists in courthouses and state legislatures. The letter was lead by two experts at Vanderbilt’s Program for LGBTI Health, Drs. Lauren Beach and Jesse Ehrenfeld. “Dr. McHugh’s essays misrepresent established research, run contrary to the overwhelming medical consensus, and cause real harm to LGBTQ people across the country,” said Ashland Johnson, HRC Director of Public Education and Research. “Dr. McHugh has no formal expertise or research on gender or sexual orientation, and avoids rigorous peer-review for his work. The more than 600 experts included represent a diverse array of academics and experts from across the country and send a clear message that McHugh’s work is deeply misleading and, most of all, dangerous.” More from HRC.
HOUSE DELAYS VOTE ON AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT: The vote was postponed yesterday as Donald Trump and Paul Ryan struggle to gain support for this disastrous bill. CNN reports that the president delivered an ultimatum to House Republicans demanding that the vote happen today or we will be “stuck with Obamacare” (Um… yes please?). The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act would result in 14 million people losing their health care coverage next year, and 24 million by 2026. The Republican plan would place in jeopardy coverage for thousands of low-income people living with HIV who have been able to obtain health insurance through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. It would also cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which could endanger the ability of clinics to deliver preventive health services, including HIV testing and transition-related care, and would eliminate ACA’s public health and prevention fund that invests in the nation’s public health infrastructure — disproportionately affecting people living in rural and isolated areas. Earlier this month, HRC sent a letter to Congress opposing the GOP’s unconscionable plan. More from CNN.
NCAA PUTS NC ON NOTICE — KEEP HB2 AND LOSE CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS THROUGH 2022: The NCAA warned North Carolina yesterday that they must repeal HB2 by next week or risk losing championship games through 2022. “As the state knows, next week our various sports committees will begin making championships site selections for 2018-2022,” the NCAA said in a statement. “Once the sites are selected by the committee, those decisions are final.” The NCAA plans to announce the sites of future games on April 18. “The NCAA has put North Carolina on notice, and the stakes for the future of basketball in the state could not be any higher,” said HRC SVP for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. “North Carolina lawmakers have run out of time for their reckless political gamesmanship, and they must immediately vote for full and complete repeal of HB2. It’s beyond clear that North Carolina cannot afford one more day of this deeply discriminatory law.” More from The Charlotte Observer.
PRO-EQUALITY CONGRESSMAN LOWENTHAL ON THE EQUALITY ACT, ANTI-LGBTQ HATRED AND MORE: In an exclusive interview from Metro Weekly, Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) speaks out about the need for full federal protections for LGBTQ people — and how the Equality Act could make that possible. He also discusses a recent incident where a anti-equality man tore down the rainbow flag the congressman hangs outside of his office in support of the LGBTQ community before entering the Capitol Hill office and spewing anti-LGBTQ venom at the Lowenthal’s staff. Read the full interview from Metro Weekly.
OREGON JUDGE GRANTS PORTLAND RESIDENT RIGHT TO BE WITHOUT GENDER: Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Amy Holmes Hehn granted Patch, a local video game designer, the right to list Patch’s gender as “agender” — defined as the absence of gender. Patch is the second person in the country to legally change their gender to a nonbinary option — in June 2016, Judge Holmes granted Jamie Shupe the right to change their gender to non-binary. More from NBC.
SHAMEFUL — CARIBBEAN RELIGIOUS OFFICIALS ASK U.S. TO STOP PROMOTING LGBTQ RIGHTS ABROAD: In a letter sent to President Trump, 289 religious figures from the Caribbean and Guyana have asked that the State Department and “other government agencies involved in foreign policy” cease promoting global LGBTQ rights. More from The Washington Blade.
WELCOMING SCHOOLS FACILITATOR WINS VOICE FOR EQUALITY AWARD: Earlier this month, Welcoming Schools Facilitator Lisa La Monica, who works for the Miami-Dade School District, received Equality Florida’s Voice for Equality Award at their annual Miami gala. Welcoming Schools is proud to have one of its own honored for her decades of advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ students. More from HRC.
BuzzFeed interviews a same-sex Taiwanese couple about what marriage equality in Taiwan would mean for them… The New York Times reflects on the life of George Weinberg, a pro-equality psychotherapist who coined the phrase “homophobia” in the 1960s…