#AM_Equality Tipsheet: April 27, 2017

by Allison Turner

Congress to reintroduce Equality Act on Tuesday; 23 Nations sign statement calling on Russia to investigate horrors in Chechnya

CONGRESS TO REINTRODUCE EQUALITY ACT ON TUESDAY: Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) plan to reintroduce the Equality Act on Tuesday morning, The Washington Blade reports. The Equality Act provides basic protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, access to public spaces, housing, education, jury service, credit and federal funding. “LGBTQ people face unfair and unjust discrimination just because of who they are, with few explicit legal protections in place,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “As lawmakers in states around the country target LGBTQ people for discrimination, it is even more critical that Congress pass a clear federal law to ensure LGBTQ people are fully protected by our nation’s civil rights laws.” More from The Washington Blade.

23 NATIONS SIGN STATEMENT CALLING ON RUSSIA TO INVESTIGATE HORRORS IN CHECHNYA: Twenty-three nations, including the United States, signed a statement calling on Russian authorities to investigate recent reports by a Russian newspaper and LGBTQ advocates in the country that Chechen police have been detaining, torturing and killing gay men. The signing nations are: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay. HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex  Tillerson, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and members of the White House National Security Council encouraging them, “to make clear to your Russian counterparts that such lawless detentions, arrests, torture and murders are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.” HRC is working closely with the Russian LGBT Network, which asserts that as many as 20 men may have been killed in the attacks in the Russian republic. Read the statement here.

THANKFUL THURSDAY: Paris Police Officer Xavier Jugelé, 37, was killed last week by a gunman who opened fire on police officers on the Champs-Élysées. This week, his husband, Etienne Cardiles, delivered a powerful, poetic eulogy, describing Xavier’s love of music and film, his efforts to perfect his English and his “life of joy and laughter, in which love and tolerance were your uncontested masters.” He closed his remarks saying, “You lived like a star, you leave like a star.” Watch on Channel 4 News.

ALL EYES ON TENNESSEE AS LEGISLATORS CONSIDER BILL TO ERASE LGBTQ PEOPLE FROM THE LAW: Seventeen anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced this session, and the Tennessee legislature will hold hearings on two this week that attempt to undermine the impact of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.  The measures would require that courts and federal agencies apply a plain meaning interpretation of gendered statutory language, including those involving the rights of husbands and wives. This would exclude many same-sex spouses from protection, because courts could not interpret “husband” or “wife” to mean “spouse” under the law. More on these discriminatory efforts at HRC.

ANTI-LGBTQ ADOPTION BILL HEADS TO ALABAMA GOVERNOR’S DESK:  A bill that would enshrine discrimination into Alabama law by allowing some state-licensed adoption and agencies to reject qualified prospective LGBTQ adoptive parents based on the agency’s religious beliefs is headed to the desk of Governor Kay Ivey. HRC is calling on the governor to veto this discriminatory measure. More from ThinkProgress and Romper.

HEY - IT’S #NOMOORE TIME AGAIN: Disgraced former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is running for the U.S. Senate, after resigning from the state’s Supreme Court. In September, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary suspended Moore from the bench for the remainder of his term, due to his unethical and extralegal actions surrounding marriage equality. Eva Kendrick, state director of HRC Alabama, told the Associated Press that Moore is seeking "to capitalize on the name recognition he gained for harming LGBTQ people in our state." Said Kendrick: "Roy Moore was removed — twice — from the Alabama Supreme Court for unethical behavior; rarely does an elected official become more ethical when they are elevated to a higher office.” HRC Alabama initiated the #NoMoore campaign to remove Moore from the bench for his blatant legal and ethical failings. #NoMoore from AL.com.

TRANS CANDIDATES FOR MPLS CITY COUNCIL SEEK PARTY ENDORSEMENTS: Phillipe Cunningham and Andrea Jenkins are vying for a Minneapolis City Council, and are seeking endorsements from the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. Cunningham, a trans man, was in a neck-in-neck battle with the incumbent of Ward 4 before the local Democratic convention adjourned without an official endorsement. Jenkins, a trans woman, will seek the endorsement for Ward 8 on April 29. More from The Minneapolis Post.

HRC EXPANDS TEXAS FIELD ORGANIZING TEAM: HRC Texas is bringing on two new organizers to fight back against anti-LGBTQ legislation, expanding the state team to five. HRC is monitoring a slew of anti-LGBTQ legistation in Texas, including HB 3859, a bill that would allow sweeping discrimination by foster care and adoption agencies against potential parents based on the agencies’ religious beliefs, and HB 2899, an anti-transgender bill that would remove protections ensuring that transgender people can access restroom facilities consistent with their gender identity. More from HRC.

  • HRC is also concerned with lawmakers’ apparent strategy to add discriminatory amendments to otherwise benign legislation. A Texas ride-sharing bill that included an amendment defining “sex” as “the physical condition of being male or female,” passed last week -- and Lyft and Uber are calling out the discriminatory action. Both companies have affirmed that their nondiscrimination policies, which protect people based on gender identity, will not change. More from The Texas Tribune.

HEARTLESS -- SD SOUP KITCHEN REFUSES TO SERVE TRANSGENDER WOMAN: Isabella Red Cloud was kicked off the premises of a local soup kitchen because she was wearing a dress. The director of the church that houses the soup kitchen told The Argus Leader that they routinely turn away transgender women. South Dakota does not have nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. More from Mic.

30 IRANIAN MEN ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF SAME-SEX SEXUAL ACTIVITY: The men were shot at, beaten and arrested on suspicion that they are LGBTQ. Iran is one of at least 72 countries around the world that criminalize same-sex sexual activity. More from Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees.


Reuters interviews Dessai Scott, a transgender survivor of sex trafficking, and shares the harrowing statistics surrounding the transgender community and sex trafficking; Capitol Hill Times previews the world’s largest transgender film festival; The Boston Globe explores a Provincetown camp for LGBTQ youth; OutSports previews the 11 LGBT Nights at MLB games happening this summer;

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to #AM_Equality and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!

A.M. Equality