TODAY -- HRC PRESIDENT CHAD GRIFFIN (@CHADHGRIFFIN) TO SPEAK AT OKLAHOMA PRESS CONFERENCE: SB 1140, a license to discriminate in child welfare services bill, which has passed the Oklahoma Senate, is likely to have a hearing today in the House Judiciary Committee. The bill would make it harder for kids to find foster and adoptive families by allowing taxpayer-funded government contractors to refuse to work with LGBTQ individuals, same-sex families, or other qualified prospective parents who do not share all the tenets of the contractor’s faith. HRC will hold a press conference at 2:30 PM CT, alongside Freedom Oklahoma and other advocates to discuss the harms this bill will cause, and to encourage Oklahomans to contact their representatives and voice their opposition to the measure.

HAWAII HOUSE OF REPS PASSES BILL TO PROTECT YOUTH FROM “CONVERSION THERAPY”: It moves to conference committee before it can go to Governor David Ige’s desk for his signature. Last month, Hawaii’s State Senate passed SB 270 with only one senator voting against it. “So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is nothing short of child abuse with life-threatening consequences for countless LGBTQ youth,” said HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. “It is time Hawaii join the growing number of states that are enacting laws to protect LGBTQ youth from this dangerous and discredited practice.” More from HRC.

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING WEDNESDAY:  In a new video for “I Need A Woman To Love,” Kesha (@KeshaRose) officiates a same-sex wedding. The song is from an album featuring Kesha, Bob Dylan and others recreating classic songs to be about same-sex love. More from Billboard.

HRC ENDORSES BETO O’ROURKE FOR THE U.S. SENATE: “The choice for Texas voters this November could not be starker. While Ted Cruz has spent his career undermining the rights of LGBTQ people for his own cynical, political gain, Beto O'Rourke is a proven champion of equality who will defend the rights of all Texans,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Now more than ever, it is crucial we have elected officials such as O'Rourke pushing back against the Trump-Pence agenda in Washington and fighting for the rights of all their constituents back home, including those who are LGBTQ. By electing Beto O'Rourke and defeating the anti-equality Ted Cruz, we can not only pull the emergency brake on this administration's hate-fueled agenda, but send a message that the days of attacking LGBTQ people for political gain are over.” More from HRC.

HRC ENDORSES KATE MARSHALL FOR NEVADA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: “Kate Marshall’s commitment to equality and years of service to the people of Nevada make her the clear choice for voters,” said HRC Nevada State Manager Briana Escamilla. “As Lieutenant Governor, I have no doubt she will work hard to advance equality in the Silver State.” More from HRC.

MORNING MUST READ FROM ARIZONA REPUBLIC -- “WHY PARENTS ARE LOSING CUSTODY OF TRANS AND GENDER NON-CONFORMING KIDS”: Researchers have found no evidence that a parent can “force” a child to be transgender, but experts say family courts often act based on fear or misinformation.  Arizona Republic’s Maria Polletta (@mpolletta) explores this in the context of an Arizona judge who issued injunctions forbidding a mother from affirming her daughter’s identity during a custody case. More from Arizona Republic.

LATEST IN A GROWING TREND -- TEXAS DISTRICT COURT RULES FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT LAW PROTECTS TRANSGENDER WORKERS: The case involved an engineer who alleged she was not hired by an energy company because she is transgender. More from Dallas Morning News.

CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY PASSES RESOLUTION TO APOLOGIZE FOR PAST ANTI-LGBTQ LAWS: It is the first state to do so. More from Los Angeles Blade.

KENDRA JOHNSON NAMED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF EQUALITY NORTH CAROLINA:

MICHAEL JOHNSON GRANTED PAROLE IN CASE INVOLVING DISCRIMINATORY MISSOURI HIV STATUTE: Johnson, a former Missouri college student, had been convicted of violating Missouri’s discriminatory HIV transmission and exposure statute. As part of a plea deal last year, he was sentenced to 10 years. More from BuzzFeed.

  • HIV criminalization doesn't lower HIV transmission rates. In fact, researchers found “no association between HIV and AIDS diagnosis rates and criminal exposure laws across states over time, suggesting that these laws have had no detectable HIV prevention effect.”

HRC URGES POLICE TO INVESTIGATE MIAMI ATTACK ON GAY MEN AS HATE CRIME: The Miami Herald and other news outlets are reporting that the suspects have turned themselves in.

HAPPENING TODAY:

BROAD CITY’S ABBI JACOBSON (@ABBIJACOBSON) COMES OUT IN VANITY FAIR INTERVIEW:  “I date men and women,” Jacobson told Vanity Fair’s Lisa Liebman (@LisaLiebmanNYC). “They have to be funny, doing something they love. I don’t know -- I’ve never really been interviewed about this before.” More from Vanity Fair.

MINNEAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO ALLOW STUDENTS TO LIST PREFERRED NAME AND GENDER ON ALL FORMS: More from Minneapolis Star Tribune.

MADISON AREA TECHNICAL COLLEGE TO OFFER SCHOLARSHIP TO LGBTQ STUDENTS: More from Wisconsin State Journal.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

VENEZUELAN OLYMPIC DIVER ROBERT PÁEZ COMES OUT AS GAY IN AN ESSAY FOR OUTSPORTS.

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!

The Guardian honors Lady Gaga’s decade of contributions to pop music; NewNowNext shares reactions to openly lesbian wrestler Sonya Deville’s (@SonyaDevilleWWE) rainbow costume at WrestleMania; and Advocate reports that journalist Ronan Farrow came out as a member of the LGBTQ community


Filed under: Community, A.M. Equality

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