#AM_Equality Tipsheet: June 26, 2017

by Allison Turner

BREAKING -- Supreme Court of the United States to rule in 2 LGBTQ cases; 2-year anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges.

BREAKING -- SCOTUS TO RULE IN MASTERPIECE CAKE CASE: Today, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case involving a baker who in 2012 refused to provide a cake for a same-sex marriage ceremony. Last year, The Colorado Supreme Court upheld a ruling by the Colorado Court of Appeals that bakery owner Jack Phillips cannot cite religious beliefs or free speech as a legal reason to discriminate against same-sex couples. In his appeal to the high court, Phillips is claiming that he is not violating the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act because he sells “non-wedding cake products” to the LGBTQ community. More from NBC and BuzzFeed.

BREAKING -- SCOTUS ORDERS ARKANSAS TO NAME SAME-SEX PARENTS ON BIRTH CERTIFICATES: Today, the Supreme Court of the United States summarily ordered Arkansas to allow both marriedsame-sex parents to be listed on their child’s birth certificate. The decision, in Pavan v. Smith, overturns an Arkansas Supreme Court decision that would have undermined LGBTQ rights under current state law allowing a different-sex couple married at the time of a child’s birth are presumed parents, and listed as such on the birth certificate -- even in cases where reproductive technologies have been used and agreed to by both parents. Additionally, a different-sex couple married after the birth of their child can both be listed as legal parents on the birth certificate if the husband attests he is the parent. The case was argued by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Ropes & Gray, LLP and Arkansas attorney Cheryl Maples.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Today HRC joins the nation in celebrating the second anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that finally made marriage equality the law of the land. “Today, we celebrate the plaintiffs, attorneys, and advocates who helped push our nation closer to the promise of a more perfect union,” said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). “But it’s equally important to remind ourselves that the fight is far from over. Many of the very same couples who fought so hard for the right to marry are still at risk of being fired, evicted, or denied service just because of who they are. That’s why we need the federal Equality Act to fix the patchwork of laws that leave LGBTQ people at risk. Our civil rights should not change at every state border.” Jim Obergefell (@JimObergefell), the lead plaintiff in the case, is a Cincinnati native and council members there recognized the anniversary by naming Mercer Street “John Arthur & Jim Obergefell Way” to honor him and his late husband. HRC honors all of the plaintiffs in this new video, and celebrates the historic decision here. More from WCPO.

● According to UCLA’s Williams Institute, nearly 1.1 million LGBT people in the United States are married to someone of the same sex, “implying that more than 547,000 same-sex couples are married nationwide. Since Obergefell, at least 157,000 same-sex couples married.” Those numbers may continue to rise as LGBTQ rights are threatened under the Trump Administration, as The Guardian reported in January. More from Newsweek and The Guardian.

SICKENING -- TRUMP-PENCE HIV POLICY COULD LEAD TO 1 MILLION DEATHS AROUND THE WORLD: In a shocking report about the potential deadly effects of the Trump-Pence Administration’s plan to decimate U.S. international humanitarian aid, The New York Times’ Helene Cooper (@helenecooper) writes, “The Trump administration has proposed slashing programs that buy antiretroviral drugs for people who are infected with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, by at least $1.1 billion — nearly a fifth of their current funding. Researchers say the cuts could lead to the deaths of at least one million people in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere.” Read more at The New York Times.

HRC CRITICIZES POTENTIAL 6-MONTH DELAY IN ALLOWING TRANSGENDER PEOPLE TO OPENLY ENLIST IN MILITARY: Responding to a report by the Associated Press about the proposed delay, Stephen Peters (@stephenpeters2), HRC National Press Secretary and Marine veteran discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, said, “Each day that passes without implementing the final piece of this important policy harms our military readiness and restricts the Armed Forces ability to recruit the best and the brightest. We’re disappointed that a further delay is under consideration and urge Secretary Mattis to move forward expeditiously in implementing this recruitment policy.” Enlistment by qualified transgender people is scheduled to begin July 1, a final piece of Obama-era policy under which transgender people currently in the military are allowed to serve openly. Read more from HRC and The Associated Press.

TODAY -- SHKRELI ON TRIAL: Remember this slimeball? Today, Martin Shkreli’s trial on securities and wire fraud charges will begin in federal court in Brooklyn. Shkreli, then-CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, was charged in late 2015 after coming under intense public scrutiny when his company overnight increased by 5000 percent the price of Daraprim, a crucial and often life-saving drug frequently used by people living with HIV and pregnant people. HRC called for a Congressional investigation into Turing’s price gouging. Several other pharmaceutical companies have faced similar controversy, including Mylan for a recent six-fold price increase for its essential EpiPen. More from NBC News.

HRC AND PLANNED PARENTHOOD ARE #UNITED4THEFIGHT; TEAM UP FOR TWITTER SWAP: On Friday, HRC and Planned Parenthood joined forces on a Digital Day of Action to highlight that catastrophe that would be caused by Trump, Pence and McConnell’s “defunding” of Planned Parenthood by blocking patients on Medicaid from receiving care at PPFA clinics. The #United4TheFight effort included a unique “Twitter swap,” with HRC President Chad Griffin and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards taking over each other’s Twitter feeds for part of the day. HRC and PPFA also launched a video featuring Brooke Baxa, a transgender, non-binary 22-year-old who relies on Medicaid and Planned Parenthood for life-saving medical care. Read more from HRC and Metro Weekly, and watch the video here.

● Check out this article from GQ, which illustrates the dangers that the Trump-McConnell “health care” bill poses to the transgender community. More from GQ.

MUST WATCH MONDAY: A day we can all support -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared June 22 as “Laverne Cox Day,” to honor the transgender advocate, actress and trailblazer. During an appearance at the mayor’s official residence, Cox told the crowd, “Can you believe that a black transgender woman from Mobile, Alabama, raised by a single mother has a day in New York City named after her?” More from JoeMyGod.

THIS WEEK, U.S. HOUSE TO CONSIDER BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION CONDEMNING VIOLENCE AGAINST GAY AND BISEXUAL MEN IN CHECHNYA: The resolution calls on the Russian federation to “protect the human rights of all its citizens, condemn the violence and persecution, investigate these crimes in Chechnya, and hold accountable all those involved in perpetrating such abuses.” The measure, sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), also calls on the Trump Administration to condemn the violence and persecution in Chechnya, which has included kidnapping, torture and sometimes murder of gay and bisexual men. Read the resolution here, and more about violence in Chechnya, and the #EyesOnChechnya effort at HRC.

BRAVO MÉXICO -- YOUNG ADVOCATES FROM MEXICO JOIN HRC’S WELCOMING SCHOOLS TRAINING: Last week, HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Program hosted 22 educators and advocates from 16 states and Washington, D.C., as well as Mexico, for its second National Facilitator Certification Training at HRC’s headquarters. Among them were Jorge Herrera and María Orozco of Mexico City, founders of DILO, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating discrimination-free spaces and inclusive classrooms for LGBTQ students across Mexico. They sat down with Milagros Chirinos, HRC’s Bilingual Media Manager-Spanish, to discuss DILO, their goals, and participation in HRC’s training program. Read the interview from HRC.

PRIDE, NOUN: A REASONABLE OR JUSTIFIABLE SELF-RESPECT; A COLLECTIVE SENSE OF SELF-WORTH: As we head into the final week of Pride Month, Merriam-Webster provides a lively history of the word “pride,” and how it came to be associated with the modern LGBTQ rights movement. Check it out here.

● The Washington Post recounts the history of Pride, and how the LGBTQ community has slowly rejected the tactic of discretion, embracing a stronger voice in demanding equality across the world. More from The Washington Post.

NY GOVERNOR CUOMO LIGHTS UP ONE WORLD TRADE CENTER IN HONOR OF LGBTQ PRIDE: This weekend, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo directed the spire of One World Trade Center and the Kosciuszko Bridge be lit with the colors of the transgender Pride flag on Friday, and the LGBTQ Pride flag on Saturday and Sunday. Read the release here, and a report from ABC.

BRITAIN SEES HISTORIC DROP OF HIV CASES IN GAY AND BISEXUAL MEN: The number dropped 17 percent between 2015 and 2016, and, experts say, could signal the beginning of the end of the AIDS epidemic on the continent. More consistent testing, better treatment and the use of the preventative drug PrEP are driving the decline. More from The Guardian and Daily Mail.

GERMANY VOIDS CONVICTIONS OF GAY AND BISEXUAL MEN, OFFERS COMPENSATION: The move affects tens of thousands of people sentenced under a Nazi-era anti-gay and bisexual law, removing them from the criminal record. The German government has also agreed to offer compensation to the estimated 3,000 people still alive who were victims of this law. More from BBC.


Bangor Daily News interviews LGBTQ farmers in Maine; The Tennessean publishes a piece by Nikki Gibson, co-lead of North America Pride, about why LGBTQ equality is good for business

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