#AM_Equality Tipsheet: December 4, 2017

by Allison Turner

Tomorrow, SCOTUS to hear arguments in Masterpiece; Today, HRC to launch 1st international report recognizing employers for LGBTQ inclusion

TOMORROW -- SCOTUS TO HEAR ARGUMENTS IN MASTERPIECE CASE OF BUSINESS THAT TURNED AWAY SAME-SEX COUPLE: It involves a baker who refused to serve a gay couple in violation of Colorado’s statewide nondiscrimination law. The baker, who lost before the Colorado Supreme Court, has been granted a Supreme Court hearing to make a claim that he should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people on religious freedom and freedom of speech grounds. The Trump-Pence Administration has also entered this case to back the baker’s claim. Conversely, HRC believes that the First Amendment cannot and should not be distorted as a weapon of discrimination. And the argument is simple: businesses should be able to decide what to serve, but not who to serve. HRC has organized two major amicus briefs in this case: one on behalf of major American businesses; and a second on behalf of top chefs and bakers in all 50 states, including notable culinary leaders including Jose Andres, Tom Colicchio, Elizabeth Falkner, Carla Hall and Padma Lakshmi. This case, which will be decided by next June, will either protect the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people -- or it could set a dangerous precedent giving businesses a license to discriminate. More from CBS.

  • The Associated Press’ Mark Sherman (@shermancourt) reports on how Masterpiece echoes 1968 SCOTUS Piggie Park case of a barbecue restaurant chain that refused to serve Black customers. A lower court judge wrote that the restaurant owner has a right to espouse religious beliefs, but not “the absolute right to exercise and practice such beliefs in utter disregard of the clear Constitutional rights of other citizens;” SCOTUS justices called the BBQ owner’s attempt to recoup legal costs “frivolous.” The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund focused  their amicus brief in Masterpiece on this case which they argued before SCOTUS. Read about it at the AP.

LATER TODAY IN MEXICO -- HRC LAUNCHING FIRST INTERNATIONAL REPORT RECOGNIZING EMPLOYERS FOR LGBTQ INCLUSION: The groundbreaking HRC Equidad MX: Global Workplace Equality Program, will be launched later today by HRC Foundation at PEMEX Auditorio in Mexico City. It introduces a first-of-its-kind assessment designed to help promote LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices in workplaces across Mexico. Thirty-two multinational employers including Accenture, Citibanamex, Google, Kellogg, MasterCard earned top ratings in the inaugural report, reflecting a commitment to creating welcoming, inclusive work environments for LGBTQ employees. For information on the event, please contact milagros.chirinos@hrc.org.

MUST WATCH MONDAY -- HUNDREDS MOBILIZE TO THIS WEEK TO STAND WITH TRANS YOUTH: Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, is the self-described troll capital of the U.S.. It's also where an extraordinary story of a town banding together to lift up an LGBTQ child unfolded. Watch this heartwarming account of the power of local activism taking on outside extremists here. And learn how to host your own reading from HRC.

SENATE REPUBLICANS PASS TRUMP-PENCE ‘TAX’ SCHEME THAT INCLUDES DANGEROUS ATTACK ON ACA: Saturday morning, Senate Republicans passed a bill that repeals the ACA’s individual mandate that requires all Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty. This provision was at the heart of the Trump-McConnell failed effort to repeal the ACA earlier this summer. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, repealing the individual mandate could result in 13 million people leaving the insurance market, immediately causing insurance premiums to soar and leave millions more priced out of access to healthcare. Furthermore, the revenue losses triggered by the bill are likely to result in future spending cuts to critical health programs like Medicare, Medicaid, global HIV/AIDS programs, the Ryan White Care Act, and other essential domestic discretionary programs. More from HRC.

HRC RESPONSE TO PA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE PAUL MANGO’S SUPPORT OF ANTI-TRANS LEGISLATION: “These outrageous comments are disqualifying,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “To be clear, Paul Mango is proposing to take Pennsylvania down the same path of anti-LGBTQ discrimination that has wracked North Carolina since the passage of their infamous HB2 law. In North Carolina, HB2 not only put countless LGBTQ people at risk, it resulted in a surge of hate violence and at least $886.4 million in economic losses as business fled the state. It also, notably, led to the defeat of the governor who signed it into law. On top of that, Paul Mango is running on a platform of defunding Planned Parenthood, one of the most crucial health care providers for the LGBTQ community. Paul Mango would do well to remember there are 360,000 LGBTQ voters -- and millions more allies across the state of Pennsylvania -- who won't stand for these kinds of attacks on our community and our health care.” More from HRC.

WHITE HOUSE LEAVES BLACK, LGBTQ REPORTERS OFF HOLIDAY PARTY INVITE: Notably, American Urban Radio Networks’ April Ryan (@AprilDRyan) and The Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson (@chrisjohnson82) -- both members of the White House Press Corps -- were not invited. Ryan has attended every holiday party for the past 20 years. Earlier this year, Johnson went months without having White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders respond to his questions during briefings. More from NewNowNext and Newsweek.

  • In a piece today in The New York Times, “Trump’s Racist Tweets. My Patriotism,” Kashana Cauley (@kashanacauley) writes powerfully about how the president’s anti-Black animus has inspired her, and her faith in the nation. Read more at NYT.

PAID LEAVE CRITICAL FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV: While the Family and Medical Leave Act provides some protections for people living with HIV, not all are eligible to use this critical workplace protection. The LGBTQ community is disproportionately affected by HIV, and inclusive paid leave policies that support LGBTQ people's right to balance both their health, job, and family are vital. Read more in HRC’s Paid Leave Is Critical for People Living with HIV.

SITKA, ALASKA, TAKES FIRST STEP TOWARD ADOPTING NONDISCRIM ORDINANCE WITH LGBTQ PROTECTIONS: This would be the city’s first nondiscrimination ordinance. More from KCAW.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE HAPPY COUPLE: Former Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning (@ericfanning) and Ben Masri-Cohen of The National Gallery of Art were engaged in Greece this weekend.

NORTH CAROLINA TRANS ADVOCATE NAMED VOGUE’S “21 UNDER 21”: Hunter Schafer, who sued North Carolina for discrimination because of the state’s anti-transgender HB2 law, appeared in the recent issue guest-edited by Hillary Clinton. More from Teen Vogue.

LGBTQ YOUTH ARE 120 PERCENT MORE LIKELY TO BE HOMELESS: This disturbing statistic comes from a study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, and cites lack of acceptance inside and outside of the home as causes. More from Newsweek.

HISTORY MADE IN PALM SPRINGS -- ENTIRE CITY COUNCIL IS LGBTQ: New York Times’ Frank Bruni (@FrankBruni) interviews the Palm Springs City Council, comprised of three gay men, a transgender woman and a bisexual woman. Read the full piece from NYT.

HIGHEST COURT IN TURKEY OVERTURNS TRANSPHOBIC LAW: The law required transgender people seeking transition-related surgery to prove they are “unable to procreate.” More from Daily Sabah.

HORRIFYING -- POLICE ARREST WOMAN IN TANZANIA FOR SAME-SEX KISS: Tanzania is one of at least 72 countries where same-sex intimate relationships are criminalized. More from Reuters.


St. Louis Public Radio offers tips to journalists covering transgender people; NBC speaks to three HIV advocates active during the epidemic of the 1980s; Forbes dives into the history of Prudential Financial’s annual LGBTQ survey;

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