#AM_Equality Tipsheet: April 19, 2017

by Allison Turner

Inexcusable -- NCAA’s unconscionable decision to reward NC with championship games; Ala. Senate passes anti-LGBTQ bill

INEXCUSABLE -- HRC AND EQUALITY NC SPEAK OUT ON NCAA’S DECISION TO REWARD NC WITH CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES: Yesterday, the NCAA chose to reward North Carolina with championship games despite discrimination against LGBTQ people that remains enshrined in state law with HB 142. Because the NCAA Board of Governors requires all bids to include a completed non-discrimination questionnaire, HRC has submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to North Carolina public universities for all materials related to their bids for NCAA events. “The NCAA has fallen ‘hook, line, and sinker’ for this ‘bait and switch’ sham ‘deal’ doubling down on discrimination,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “Even worse, the NCAA has inexcusably gone back on its promise to ensure all championship games are held in locations that are safe, respectful, and free of discrimination. By rewarding North Carolina with championship games, the NCAA has undermined its credibility and is sending a dangerous message to lawmakers across the country who are targeting LGBTQ people with discriminatory state legislation. In addition to protecting the broader LGBTQ community, the NCAA needs to clearly state how they will be protecting their student athletes, personnel and fans.” More from HRC, The Huffington Post, Mic and CBS Sports.

  • NC Business Owners know HB2 was not repealed: Bob Page, CEO of Replacements, Ltd., has been using an electronic billboard for the message, “Repeal HB2.” He’s now changed it to read, “Never Compromise on Civil Rights,” calling out NC Governor Roy Cooper’s betrayal of the LGBTQ community. More from The (Raleigh) News & Observer.

FROM CNN -- TERRIFYING, FIRST-PERSON ACCOUNTS FROM GAY MEN BEATEN, TORTURED IN CHECHNYA: CNN’s Jake Tapper (@JakeTapper) last night featured shocking first-hand accounts and video of two men’s experiences of violence and torture at the hands of Chechen police. They were able to escape Chechnya -- though some of the men in the horrifying footage have not. Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta first confirmed the anti-gay actions being taken by authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya, confirming that  hundreds of gay men were being detained, and at last three killed, by Chechen police. Novaya Gazeta reporter Elena Milashina, who first confirmed the anti-gay actions being taken by Chechen authorities, has fled her home in Moscow due to threats of violence. More from CNN.

ALABAMA SENATE PASSES ANTI-LGBTQ “LICENSE TO DISCRIMINATE” CHILD WELFARE BILL: HRC is calling on Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to veto the anti-LGBTQ bill  passed yesterday by the Alabama State Senate and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh. The bill, deceptively titled the “Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act,” would enshrine discrimination into Alabama law by allowing state-licensed adoption and foster care agencies to reject qualified prospective LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents based on the agency’s religious beliefs. “Plain and simple -- H.B. 24 is discrimination dressed up as a ‘solution’ to a fake problem,” said Eva Kendrick, HRC Alabama State Director. “It creates an unnecessary hardship for potential LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents in Alabama and primarily harms the children looking for a loving home.” More than 50 faith leaders have joined an open letter to legislators in Montgomery opposing the harmful measure, noting their faith calls them to serve all -- regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or any other perceived “difference.” More from HRC.

WHAT WE’RE READING WEDNESDAY: Stephanie Grace (@StephGraceLA), a columnist for The Advocate of New Orleans, calls out Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry for his shameful crusade against Governor John Bel Edwards’ executive order protecting LGBTQ employees from discrimination. She cites data showing that three out of four Louisiana adults support employee protections based on sexual orientation, and seven out of 10 support employee protections based on gender identity. More from The Advocate of New Orleans.

CALL IT OUT -- TX GOV ABBOTT SIGNALS SUPPORT FOR DESPICABLE ANTI-TRANS PROPOSAL: In a statement yesterday, Governor Greg Abbott called HB 2899 a “thoughtful proposal.” The measure -- which is anything but -- would prevent local communities and schools from protecting their transgender populations and students. In this way, it is incredibly similar to SB6, another heinous bill being considered in the Texas Legislature. More from Texas Tribune.

  • Also in Texas: Last week, the Texas Senate advanced a license to discriminate bill that would allow county clerks and other public officials and employees to refuse to issue marriage licenses on the basis of religious beliefs. And, get this: it would also allow county courts to hire random people to issue marriage licenses. See a breakdown from Slate.

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER ANTI-LGBTQ TRUMP NOMINATION: President Donald Trump intends to nominate former Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) to head the Export-Import Bank. Described as “too homophobic for Congress,” Garrett refused to support his own party’s congressional campaign committee because it “actively recruited gay candidates and supported homosexuals in primaries,” according to a 2015 report in Politico.  Garrett has voted against hate crimes protections for LGBTQ people, against the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, refused to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and twice voted in favor of writing a discriminatory ban on marriage equality into the U.S. Constitution. More from The Huffington Post.

NEW STUDY -- LGBTQ HOMELESS YOUTH AT RISK FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING: A shocking report has found that 56 percent of homeless transgender youth had been involved in the sex trade, and that 27 percent of LGBTQ youth had been exploited by sex traffickers. The study was conducted by Covenant House and the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research at the University of Pennsylvania and Loyola University Modern Slavery Research Project in New Orleans. More from The New York Times.

TRANS WOMAN SUES FOR RIGHT TO CHANGE SEX MARKER ON BIRTH CERTIFICATE: Yesterday, a transgender woman from Idaho sued for the right to change the sex marker on her birth certificate to female after state officials refused - claiming that Idaho law does not allow the the Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics to make this change. She is represented by Lambda Legal. More from BuzzFeed.

RUSSIAN VIOLINIST COMES OUT AS GAY: Artem Kolesov posted a powerful YouTube video describing the hateful anti-LGBTQ rhetoric he grew up with, and his struggle to live openly in Russia. Kolesov now lives in Chicago, where he advocates for LGBTQ youth as part of the “Children-404” project. More from NPR.

UNITED METHODIST CHURCH COURT TO RULE ON ALLOWING LGBTQ CLERGY: Rev. Alex da Silva Souto’s calling lies in the hands of the nine United Methodist Church officials who will decide next week if he -- a queer man -- can be commissioned, ordained, licensed or consecrated in the church. His case is one of seven involving LGBTQ clergy before the church court. More from News Times.

HRC EARNS SILVER IN SHORTIES FOR #ASKTHEGAYS: Just days after the horrific shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Donald Trump had the audacity to pander to LGBTQ voters by challenging his skeptics to "ask the gays" about where he stood on LGBTQ equality. HRC answered. Using the hashtag #AskTheGays, countless took to social media to call out Trump and Mike Pence on their anti-LGBTQ records. The campaign earned the a Silver Distinction in this year’s Shorty Awards. More here.

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A.M. Equality