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BEN CARSON FONDLY REMEMBERS DADT; DECRIES EFFORTS TO ALLOWS TRANS AMERICANS TO SERVE OPENLY: Speaking at a veterans townhall this weekend, presidential candidate Ben Carson fondly remembered the days when gay and lesbian Americans were barred from serving openly in the military and spoke against the idea of lifting the ban on transgender servicemembers, saying, “You know, give me a break. Deal with the transgender thing somewhere else.” Carson also said that he doesn’t appreciate “using our military as a laboratory for social experimentation,” echoing similar comments made by Ted Cruz just last week. These remarks are hardly a surprise coming from Carson, who has a long track record of offensive statements about LGBT people, even advocating for separate “transgender bathrooms.” Though they are not able to serve openly, there are an estimated 15,500 actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military, and an estimated 134,000 transgender veterans who are alive today. A draft memo circulated this past August expects the ban to be lifted in May 2016. More on Carson’s anti-LGBT rhetoric and positions here:

MARCO RUBIO SAYS HE’D REVERSE OBAMA’S LGBT EXECUTIVE ORDER: The Christian Broadcasting Network has just released more from their interview with presidential hopeful Marco Rubio, and it’s awful. In the latest clip, Rubio takes aim at Obama’s executive order that prohibits government contractors from discriminating against LGBT people, saying that we need “a Justice Department that’s vigilant about ensuring that those who hold traditional values are not being discriminated against.” Not only did he pledge to reverse the order if elected, Rubio blasted the Obergefell decision, and said we need to appoint Supreme Court justices who understand that the Constitution “is not a living and breathing document.” In the same interview Rubio said that he “cannot abide by” laws regarding same-sex marriage and that “God’s rules always win.” A 2015 HRC poll found that a 55 percent majority of voters are less likely to support a candidate for president who opposes allowing same-sex couples to marry, including 40 percent who strongly oppose. Find out more on Marco Rubio’s anti-equality record here:

A.M. MUST READ FROM GOOD HOUSEKEEPING: Check out the heartwarming story of Beth and Russ McGarrity, who are raising two transgender teenagers. After the family’s long journey Beth McGarrity says, "I feel like my kids are at a place now where I can sit back and take a deep breath. They're happy. And every minute we spend with them, I feel, is a gift.” Their story echoes the message of these moms in a recent HRC video who are supporting their transgender kids unconditionally. Read the full story here:


INDY STAR DEBUNKS ARGUMENTS AGAINST EXPANDING LGBT PROTECTIONS: In an editorial this past weekend, the Indianapolis Star continues to make the case for expanding civil rights to LGBT Hoosiers by debunking all the main arguments used by opponents of equality. To the point of religious freedom, the board writes, “But religious beliefs, no matter how deeply held, do not provide an unchecked license to discriminate against fellow citizens. In those infrequent instances when religious liberty and civil rights concerns have clashed, courts have been called on to strike a balance between competing values. It’s not a perfect system, of course, but it’s one that has served our state and nation well.” Last week, 150 local businesses officially launched Indiana Competes, a coalition fighting to expand fully inclusive nondiscrimination protections in housing, public accommodations and employment to LGBT Hoosiers. State Democrats and Republicans have both introduced competing bills but the Republican measure is extremely flawed and has huge religious carve-outs that go far beyond the existing religious exemptions in Indiana law for religious institutions and ordained clergy. More here:

WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL LOOKS AT POLICIES FOR TRANSGENDER STUDENTS STATEWIDE: Molly Beck of the Wisconsin State Journal takes an in-depth look at latest in the debate on how accommodating schools and school district should be towards transgender students. While State representatives have introduced harmful legislation that would ban transgender students from accessing bathrooms and locker rooms assigned to the gender they identify with, more than 600 people came out to support a transgender girl from Mount Horeb Primary Center and her family in a reading of I Am Jazz, a book based on the real-life experiences of transgender activist Jazz Jennings. Beck also looks at pro-equality efforts that have passed in school districts in Madison and failed in others like Sparta. Read the full article here:

CINCINNATI CONSIDERING BAN ON CONVERSION THERAPY FOR LGBT YOUTH: Today, almost one year after the death of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn shook the nation, the Cincinnati City Council is set to debate a measure that would impose a $200-a-day fine on a therapist or counselor in the state practicing conversion therapy on LGBT youth. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, this would make Cincinnati the first major city to take such steps. Earlier this year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) released a new report definitively denouncing conversion therapy, and HRC and the National Center for Lesbian Rights released sample legislation for state legislators and equality advocates who want to protect LGBTQ youth. The practice is currently illegal for LGBTQ youth in California, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, and Illinois. More here:

DOZENS PROTEST ANTI-TRANSGENDER BILL IN TENNESSEE: Yesterday, dozens of residents in Johnson City, Tennessee came out to protest Representative Bud Hulsey’s disgraceful legislation that would require students in schools to use the bathrooms of the gender that they were assigned at birth. Not only would this bill conflict with federal protections for transgender and gender nonconforming students, it would also expose students to additional bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Local LGBT advocates have also already begun to speak out against the legislation which is still in the drafting stages. More here:


FIRST TRANSGENDER WOMAN ELECTED TO VENEZUELAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY: The Washington Blade, is reporting that Tamara Adrián of the Popular Will Party in Venezuela, has become the first openly transgender person elected to Venezuela’s National Assembly. Adrián will represent the the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. More here:

FIRST OPENLY LGBT MEMBER ELECTED TO AUSTRALIA’S LOWER HOUSE: Following elections this Saturday, Trent Zimmerman of Australia’s Liberal Party became the first openly gay member of Australia’s House of Representatives. Marriage equality, which is overwhelmingly supported in Australia, remains illegal, but a vote on the issue is scheduled for after the next federal election. Zimmerman served on the North Sydney Council for 8 years prior. More here:


The Washington Blade looks at the impact of Hillary Clinton’s historic speech on LGBT rights in Geneva four years ago… the Gay Star News breaks down the arguments used by Northern Ireland’s counsel to protect their discriminatory ban on marriage equality… and The Pride LA shares a remarkable story of heroism in San Bernardino.

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Filed under: A.M. Equality, Community

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