#AM_Equality Tipsheet: June 22, 2017

by Allison Turner

GOP Senators expected to reveal today hatched-in-secret plan to undermine health care for 23 million Americans.

TODAY -- GOP SENATORS TO EMERGE WITH PLAN HATCHED IN SECRET TO UNDERMINE HEALTH CARE ACCESS FOR 23 MILLION AMERICANS: After working in unprecedented secrecy, Republican Senators say they’ll be coming out from behind closed doors today with what promises to be a shameful plan to undo the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has extended essential, life-saving health care coverage to millions of Americans, including those in the LGBTQ community. It has been truly alarming to witness the GOP’s covert efforts to remake a system that is not only imperative to the well-being of so many of our fellow citizens, but also comprises nearly a sixth of the U.S. economy. Here’s what’s at stake: 23 million Americans could lose their healthcare by 2026, with 14 million losing coverage as soon as next year if the anticipated Republican plan becomes law. If they make good on their promise to end the ACA, millions of our nation’s most vulnerable -- including low-income people, children, elderly, women and LGBTQ people, as well as Americans with pre-existing conditions including cancer and HIV -- would lose the coverage they need to thrive and survive. Read more at HRC.

NEW SURVEY FINDS AMERICANS REJECT “LICENSE TO DISCRIMINATE” LAWS, SUPPORT MARRIAGE EQUALITY AT HISTORIC HIGHS: More than 60 percent of Americans say denying LGBTQ people products or services is wrong, and there is no longer any major religious group in America that has a majority of members who support such “license to discriminate laws,” according to the 2016 American Values Atlas released yesterday by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). The survey also found that 58 percent of Americans support marriage equality. PRRI is a nonpartisan research organization specializing in faith, public policy and cultural issues. Check out some of the survey’s key findings below, and read more from USA Today, The Advocate, and ThinkProgress.

● 58% of Americans support marriage equality, compared to 53% in 2015.

● 54% of young Republicans (ages 18-29) support marriage equality.

● 61% of Americans oppose allowing small business owners to refuse products or services to gay or lesbian people on the basis on religious beliefs. Only 30% of Americans favor allowing these “license to discriminate” laws.

HRC MARKS VICTORY FOR OLDER LGBT AMERICANS -- HHS TO RESTORE SEXUAL ORIENTATION QUESTION IN KEY SURVEY: Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration on Community Living proposed stripping a question on sexual orientation from the National Survey of Older Americans. After receiving more than 14,000 comments, including 4,800 from HRC members and supporters -- the vast majority urging that LGBT seniors be counted -- the agency announced it will retain the question to help assess the needs of older LGBT Americans. HRC partnered with SAGE and others on this important effort. “Throughout the history of our movement, LGBT people have fought to be counted,” said David Stacy, HRC Government Affairs Director. “It is critical that our seniors, many of whom have lived through decades of discrimination, be included on this national survey so that we can better understand their needs and challenges.” Read more at HRC.

● U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Special Committee on Aging Chairman Susan Collins (R-Maine) and 17 other Senators also wrote to HHS objecting to the removal of the survey’s sexual orientation question. Restoring the question, Casey said in a statement, “will help ensure that federal resources best serve the needs of older LGBT Americans.”

● U.S. Representatives Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and 48 House members wrote a similar letter urging the department to reverse course.

DOJ PRIDE TO HONOR GAVIN GRIMM WITH COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: DOJ Pride, the Justice Department’s group for LGBTQ employees and allies, will honor Gavin Grimm (@GavinGrimmVA) with its Gerald B. Roemer Community Service Award at its annual LGBT Pride Month Program on June 28. Grimm, a transgender teenager, filed suit against his school board, alleging it violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by denying him use of the boy’s restroom. Read more from BuzzFeed.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Tomorrow marks the 45th anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally-funded education programs and provides legal recourse to redress such discrimination. The law has played a critical role in protecting LGBTQ students from discrimination and ensuring that LGBTQ survivors of campus sexual violence have adequate protections and recourse. More from HRC.

FIRST OPENLY LGBTQ JUDGE CONFIRMED FOR NEW YORK’S HIGHEST COURT: The New York Times’ James C. McKinley Jr. (@jamesmckinleyjr) reports that the appointment of Justice Paul G. Feinman, 57,  who was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, was confirmed yesterday by the full New York State Senate. Read more at The New York Times.

TEXAS MOMS OF TRANSGENDER KIDS TO LEGISLATORS -- “DON’T BULLY OUR KIDS”: Three mothers of transgender children joined HRC and Equality Texas yesterday to urge the state legislature, which goes into special session July 18, to reject measures that discriminate against LGBTQ people -- most specifically, transgender people. Said mom Amber Briggle: “It’s the job of our Legislature to be protecting our children, not bullying them.” Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

● In a rousing speech at an LGBTQ gala sponsored by the Democratic National Committee, former Vice President Joe Biden urged the community to stand up to Trump and efforts at home and abroad targeting LGBTQ people for discrimination. "Transgender Americans are under attack from state legislatures from North Carolina to Texas," Biden said, by legislation "targeting young people, kids who are just trying to attend school." More from the Associated Press.

D.C. COUNCILMEMBER INTRODUCES BILL TO ALLOW NON-BINARY GENDER OPTION ON DRIVERS’ LICENSES: D.C. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau (@BrianneKNadeau) this week introduced a bill that would allow residents of Washington, D.C., to indicate their gender as non-binary by choosing an “X” instead of “M” or “F.” Xavier Persad, Legislative Counsel at HRC, said, “Ensuring that identity documents reflect the broader diversity of gender identities is a matter of both principle and public health. We thank Councilmember Nadeau for her leadership on this important bill and we urge the Council of the District of Columbia to continue its role at the forefront of the fight for equality by adopting this measure.” Read more from Metro Weekly.

● This bill follows Oregon’s move to allow its residents to use “X” as their gender marker on driver’s licenses, in recognition of non-binary identities.

ON BEHALF OF THE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT, QUEEN ELIZABETH PLEDGES TO FIGHT ANTI-LGBTQ DISCRIMINATION: In the traditional Queen’s Speech to open Parliament, Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday addressed plans to “tackle the gender pay gap and discrimination against people on the basis of their race, faith, gender, disability or sexual orientation.” Her remarks come at a time when the UK’s Conservative party is attempting to strike a governing deal with the anti-LGBTQ Democratic Unionist Party. Though welcome, the Queen’s speech unfortunately failed to mention protecting people on the basis of gender identity. Watch the video here, and read more from Gay Times and the Advocate.

GERMANY TURNS DOWN SAME-SEX MARRIAGE VOTE: Germany’s highest court has rejected a petition for German lawmakers to vote on a bill legalizing same-sex marriage before national elections in September. Germany does allow same-sex couples to enter civil partnerships. More from Pink News.

WATCH AND LEARN -- JAMES CORDEN TAKES ON TRUMP IN “CINEMATIC” WAY FOR IGNORING HIV AND AIDS ISSUES: He dedicated the last six minutes of his The Late Late Show to HIV & AIDS advocacy and awareness, revealing that he learned about AIDS from watching the movie Philadelphia -- and that he mailed every copy available on the Internet, 297 in total, to Mar-a-Lago. Read more from Towleroad and watch here.


The New York Times explores LGBTQ nightlife in NYC after the Orlando shooting; Mic tells the story of Pasha Zalutski, the first openly gay comedian in Russia; BuzzFeed takes us back to the 1960s with firsthand accounts of what it was like to identify as LGBTQ before the Stonewall Riots; LGBTQ Nation reports that former Glee star Jake Zyrus (@jakezyrus) has come out as a transgender man;

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