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HRC slams Senate confirmation of Jeff Sessions; Ala. House advances troubling child welfare bill
HRC SLAMS SENATE CONFIRMATION OF JEFF SESSIONS: Last night, Sen. Jeff Sessions was confirmed as United States Attorney General, placing civil rights and equality in jeopardy. “It's deeply disturbing that Jeff Sessions, who has demonstrated a clear animus against so many Americans -- including the LGBTQ community, women and people of color -- could be charged with running the very system of justice designed to protect them,” said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign (@ChadHGriffin). “The man now in charge of enforcing hate crimes protections doesn’t even think they should exist -- or that LGBTQ people need them. The man now in charge of enforcing civil rights laws is a man who has a history of undermining the rights of African-American voters. Our message to Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions is this: we’re going to fight any attempt to roll back our rights with every resource that we have. We will not give one inch.” For more, check out HRC’s report: Jeff Sessions: A History of Anti-LGBTQ Actions, which includes details about his extensitve history of anti-LGBTQ lawmaking. More from HRC.
ALABAMA HOUSE ADVANCES TROUBLING CHILD WELFARE BILL: Yesterday, the Alabama House Health Committee advanced H.B. 24 -- the deceptively named “Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act,” which would enshrine taxpayer-funded discrimination into Alabama law. The bill would permit state-funded and licensed adoption and foster care agencies to reject prospective LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents based on the agency’s religious beliefs. HRC Alabama’s Eva Kendrick says of the action, “Alabama’s child welfare system has over 5,000 children waiting to be placed with or adopted by a qualified, loving family, yet our state lawmakers appear more interested in focusing on discriminating against LGBTQ people than helping these young people to find permanent homes. Offering adoption and foster care services to the public is not a religious-based activity, and this effort to discriminate using taxpayer dollars is an embarrassing and dangerous distraction from the real problems facing Alabama.” More from HRC.
AP LOOKS AT TRUMP’S DEBT TO RELIGIOUS CONSERVATIVES -- AS LGBTQ COMMUNITY BRACES FOR ATTACKS: AP’s David Crary (@CraryAP) and Rachel Zoll (@rzollAP) report on what religious conservatives are expecting from Donald Trump, and how LGBTQ advocates are fighting back. "Donald Trump talks a big game on his support for LGBTQ people, yet he has filled his Cabinet with people who have literally spent their careers working to demonize us and limit our rights," HRC President Chad Griffin told The AP. Though concerns about potential discriminatory actions extend to the states -- including Texas, which is considering an anti-transgender bill -- the long view holds promise. Said Sarah Warbelow, HRC's Legal Director: "We see an incredible divergence between where the American people and business community are at, and those who are trying to drive regressive, damaging policies. We're very hopeful about where we will end up, but it could be a painful slog to get there." Read the full piece here.
THROWBACK THURSDAY: #ShePersisted. Last weekend, Transparent actress Hari Nef gave a shout out to Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, two trans women of color who were at the front lines of the fight for LGBTQ equality from the Stonewall riots and beyond. While at a LGBTQ rally in solidarity with immigrants at the Stonewall Inn, she said “Trans women, particularly trans women of color, are the mothers of the LGBT movement.” More from OUT Magazine.
WAPO COLUMN -- LEGENDARY HOOPS COACHES LEND POWERFUL VOICES TO ANTI-HB2 CHORUS: The Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga (@BarrySvrulga) writes about the importance of legendary coaches Mike Krzyzewsk of Duke and Roy Williams of the University of North Carolina coming out strongly against NC’s anti-LGBTQ HB2 law. He details the damage that the law is wreaking on a state known for its devotion to college sports -- and particularly college basketball. Svrulga’s piece comes in the wake of reports that the NCAA is considering barring events in NC for the next six years if the law isn’t repealed. Svrluga writes, “That would eat at the identity of the state, just as the ugly law at the root of this situation is eating at its people — and their reputation.” Read the full piece from WaPo.
#GRABYOURWALLET -- HRC RELEASES BUYING GUIDE FOR EQUALITY-MINDED CONSUMERS: From Airbnb to Audi, companies used their advertising airtime during the 2017 Super Bowl to embrace the values of inclusion and equality. And those values are increasingly shared by consumers looking to spend their dollars to make a statement for equality. To help direct consumers to companies that value LGBTQ inclusion in their workplaces, the HRC Foundation has released its annual Buying for Workplace Equality guide. The guide, first issued a more than a decade ago by the HRC Foundation, provides invaluable consumer information based on company scores reported in the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI), as well as HRC-researched data on additional well-known companies and their brands. Read more about it at HRC.
NEW TRANS CARE CLINIC OPENS AT UNIV OF NEBRASKA: The Transgender Care Clinic at the the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Health Center has begun offering specialty healthcare services for transgender students and faculty, The Daily Nebraskan reports. Dr. Jean Amoura, who has more than a decade of experience with transgender patients, will offer onsite transition care. “I have worked to establish the most up-to-date and comprehensive standards for caring for these patients,” Amoura said. Read more The Daily Nebraskan.
STEVEN ROMEO, AN HRC HIV 360° FELLOW, CONTINUES TO INSPIRE: Steven Romeo, a member of the inaugural class of the HRC Foundation’s HIV 360° Fellowship Program, was featured in Alabama’s IronCity Ink for their work as founder and executive director of the Change Project in Birmingham, and its Our Bodies. Our Lives. (OBOL) project. OBOL is an ongoing LGBTQ campaign combining art and personal stories in an effort, Romeo says, “to humanize queer people and create a conversation that addresses intersectional components in the movement for LGBTQ equality.” In addition to serving as an HRC HIV 360° Fellow, Romeo in 2015 was honored at the White House as LGBT Artist Champion of Change for their groundbreaking advocacy work. Made possible with generous support from the Elton John AIDS Foundation, HRC’s HIV 360° is a capacity-building fellowship program for young, nonprofit leaders ready to take HIV-inclusive organizations and initiatives to the next level. Read more at HRC and IronCity Ink.
HRC JOINS COALITION ENDORSING INSURANCE PROGRAM FOR PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE: HRC and a coalition of more than 40 national and state advocates are supporting legislation that would establish the nation’s first-ever insurance program for paid family and medical leave -- helping ensure that workers are able to take leave at times they need it most. The FAMILY Act ensures employees have access to 12 weeks of partial income if they take time off for their health, a serious health problem of a child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner, the birth or adoption of a child, and/or military caregiving and leave purposes. LGBTQ families face higher rates of poverty than the overall public, and inclusive paid leave would help ensure our families won’t have to to risk their economic livelihood when they need to take time off to care for loved ones. Read more at HRC.
Premier reports on the movement to end the Church of England’s teaching against marriage equality;