BEN CARSON SUGGESTS TRANSGENDER PEOPLE USE SEPARATE FACILITIES: In an interview with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos yesterday, leading GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson called for the creation of separate “transgender bathrooms.” HRC president Chad Griffin and others slammed Carson's transphobic comments and called on other candidates to disavow his words. Carson has a long track record of offensive statements about LGBT people; he has said that LGBT families are not of “equal value” and that same-sex marriage would lead to “polygamy.” More on Carson’s anti-LGBT rhetoric here:

MARA KEISLING ON THE REAL WORLD IMPACT OF HERO’S DEFEAT:  The New York Times features a column by NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling on “separate but equal” policies imposed on transgender students. Keisling writes, “Transgender people are accustomed to accepting compromises as we move through a world that still isn’t familiar enough with us, but they should not and cannot be forced on us. That is separate, unequal and illegal.” Read her full piece here:

Also, the Christian Science Monitor outlines the ripple-effect the rejection of HERO will have nationwide.. and the Houston Press explores the lived realities of being young, homeless, and LGBT.

WHITE HOUSE RESPONDS TO THE REPEAL OF HERO: Yesterday, the White House weighed in on the repeal of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). According to the Associated Press, “The White House says the defeat this week of an ordinance that would have established nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people in Houston isn't "going to set back the broader trend toward greater equality and justice in this country."” The ordinance would have protected Houston residents and visitors from discrimination in housing, employment and business services on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion and 11 other characteristics, but opponents used scare tactics and fear mongering to mislead voters on its intended purpose. More here:

LATE NIGHT BEST, SETH MEYERS TAKES ON  HERO: This week, in a 6 minute segment, Late Night host Seth Meyers skewered the opponents of HERO for their misleading and blisteringly transphobic ads. Meyers sought to clear up confusion about the ordinance and educate viewers on the crucial protections it would have provided. Watch here:

MICHIGAN PLAINTIFFS IN SUPREME COURT MARRIAGE EQUALITY CASE ARE FINALLY ABLE TO ADOPT: Yesterday, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, the Michigan couple who successfully sued the state for its discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage, were finally able to adopt their five foster children. Their case was heard before the Supreme Court this past June and just two months after that positive ruling, DeBower and Rowse were married.  The couple had initially sued Michigan for its ban on same-sex adoption, but then sued for its restrictions on same-sex marriage. More here: and

NEW POLICY FROM MORMON CHURCH BARS CHILDREN OF SAME-SEX COUPLES FROM RITES: Yesterday, the Mormon Church announced a new policy that would exclude same-sex couples and their children from being baptized or blessed in the church. According the Salt Lake Tribune, “Under the new church policy, people in "same-gender" marriage have been added to the list of those acts that are considered apostasy and would be subject to disciplinary action….As for children, a separate section of the handbook says that natural or adopted kids of same-sex parents, whether married or just living together, may not receive a naming blessing. The policy also bars children from being baptized, confirmed, ordained to the church priesthood, or recommended for missionary service without the permission of the faith's highest leaders — the First Presidency.” The Mormon Church has a history of being very vocal on the issues of marriage equality and religious freedom. Just last month, Elder Dallin Oaks called for a better balance between these two issues in a speech where he deplored  Kim Davis’ actions. Last year the Church worked with LGBT activists to support a new non-discrimination bill in Utah. The bill extended employment and housing non-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity, while maintaining equal protection for the expression of religious beliefs. More here: and

KIM DAVIS LOSES AGAIN: Yesterday, embattled county clerk Kim Davis lost her latest appeal to the Sixth Circuit, the latest development in her months-long foot-dragging effort to avoid issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis and her lawyers have been appealing Judge David Bunning’s order that she must issue marriage licenses to all couples, not just the four who have filed suit. More here: and


INDIANA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SUPPORTS LGBT PROTECTIONS: Yesterday, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce came out in support of LGBT nondiscrimination protections. President Kevin Brinegar released the following statement, “We believe this expansion is a necessary action for the General Assembly to take. After the negative perception of our state generated by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act [RFRA] in the spring, we need to get this right in order to secure the reputation of Indiana as a hospitable and welcoming place.” This past March, the Hoosier State was thrusted into the national spotlight when Governor Mike Pence signed a discriminatory RFRA into law. Reeling from the fallout, many major businesses and corporations are now pushing for fully inclusive civil rights legislation that protects people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations, employment and housing. More here:

HEARING IN WI LEGISLATURE ON TRANSGENDER STUDENTS ACCESS TO BATHROOMS IN SCHOOLS POSTPONED: Yesterday, a hearing on a harmful bill that would prevent transgender students from using appropriate gender-segregated facilities in Wisconsin schools was postponed. The bill would not only conflict with federal protections for transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex students, but would also expose students to additional bullying, harassment and discrimination. The hearing is scheduled for later this month. HRC is encouraging Wisconsin residents to call Members of the Assembly Committee on Education and urge them to oppose this harmful legislation. More here:

MIAMI HERALD EDITORIAL BOARD CALLS FOR NONDISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS: Following devastating defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance this week, the Miami Herald calls for nondiscrimination protections for Florida residents and visitors, noting the $362 million annual price tag of discrimination in the state. This past August state leaders filed bills to expand the state’s nondiscrimination law to include LGBT people, and advocates and business leaders are hoping for positive action during the next legislative session. Read the editorial here:

NEBRASKA TO UPDATE BIRTH CERTIFICATES: The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced plans to update the state’s birth certificates to include the information for both same-sex spouses. According the Associated Press, “State officials initially fought changing birth certificate forms, arguing that complaints about birth certificates came from couples who weren't part of the original lawsuit. That objection was dismissed last month by U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon, who ruled that the original allegations that the ban denied various marriage rights and responsibilities can be construed as encompassing the birth-certificate issue."” This is a positive step forward, however many local LGBT activists remain concerned, as the HHS has yet to announce how the change will look on birth certificates. More here:


COLOMBIAN COURT LEGALIZES ADOPTION BY SAME-SEX COUPLES: Yesterday, by a 6-2 vote, Colombia’s Constitutional Court legalized adoption by same-sex couples, with the Chief Justice Maria Victoria Calle Correa saying, “A person's sexual orientation or gender are not in and of themselves indicative of a lack of moral, physical or mental suitability to adopt.” The court also ruled that adoption agencies cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The welcome news is quite the turnaround for the Constitutional Court, which ruled in February that same-sex couples could only adopt one child. Marriage equality is still not legal in Columbia but couples can enter into legal unions. More here: and

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