#AM_Equality Tipsheet: March 20, 2017

by Allison Turner

Neil Gorsuch opposed marriage equality in dissertation; NM legislature passes bill to protect youth from so-called “conversion therapy.”

NEIL GORSUCH OPPOSED MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN OXFORD DISSERTATION: Yesterday, Brown University Professor Corey Brettschneider (@BrettschneiderC) unearthed Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s 2004 dissertation from Oxford University, where he revealed that he did not think the United States Constitution protected the right to marriage equality. Brettschneider writes, “If he still holds this view, he could join forces with other justices to reverse the Court’s protection of this right.” Gorsuch has a long and troubling career opposing civil rights, including for LGBTQ people, including calling marriage equality part of the liberal social agenda, saying, “American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom… as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide…” We can’t afford a Supreme Court justice who will rubber stamp Trump’s agenda. And because so many of the LGBTQ community’s hard-fought rights have been secured in the nation’s highest court, HRC opposes Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. We have no reason to believe he will be an advocate for LGBTQ Americans, and we urge senators to vote “no.” More from TIME.

  • ICYMI: HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) spoke out against Gorsuch’s nomination in an oped for NBC. He writes, “We must demand a Supreme Court Justice who embraces equal justice under law and who will apply a compassionate, impartial, and inclusionary interpretation of the Constitution faithful to its drafters’ vision. By his own admission, Neil Gorsuch is not that justice.” More from NBC.
  • Gorsuch’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings begin today: HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow is scheduled to testify this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Gorsuch’s nomination, and will detail the equality case against the nominee.

NM LEGISLATURE SENDS BILL TO PROTECT YOUTH FROM SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY” TO GOV’S DESK: On Friday, HRC hailed the New Mexico legislature for passing a bill banning so-called “conversion therapy” for minors. After clearing the Senate last month, the bill, SB 121, passed the House this week by a vote of 44-23 and will now head to the governor’s desk. New Mexico is a majority-minority, primarily Catholic state, and would be the eighth jurisdiction in the nation, including the District of Columbia, to protect youth under the age of eighteen from the harmful and discredited  practice of conversion therapy by state-licensed mental health professionals. There are currently 19 other state legislatures considering similar legislation. “Conversion therapy is dangerous and inhumane, and HRC is very pleased to see New Mexico’s lawmakers stand up for the vulnerable children who could be subjected to this completely discredited practice,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC SVP of Policy and Political Affairs. “This action sends a clear message to LGBTQ youth in New Mexico: you do not need fixing. We are grateful to Equality New Mexico and the lawmakers who championed this cause, and we hope the governor signs this bill into law as soon as possible.” More from HRC.

MUST WATCH MONDAY: This weekend at HRC’s Los Angeles dinner, Lena Dunham presented ground-breaking actress and LGBTQ advocate America Ferrera with HRC’s Ally for Equality Award. In her speech, Ferrera made a bold call for standing up for all marginalized groups, saying, “Anything I ever did for the rights of this community I did because I believe -- with every fiber of my being -- that my liberation is bound up in the liberation of my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, and in the liberation of my black brothers and sisters, and in the liberation of immigrants, and refugees, and Muslims, and sikhs, and women all over the world, and the incarcerated, and the criminalized, and the uneducated, and the poor, and the hungry...”  Actress Shannon Woodward presents global pop icon and longtime equality advocate Katy Perry with HRC’s National Equality Award. Perry spoke to her religious upbringing and her own sexuality, saying “How was I going to reconcile that with a gospel-singing girl raised in youth groups that were pro-conversion camps? What I did know was I was curious, and even then I knew sexuality wasn’t … black and white.” Watch their speeches, along with Senator Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) on HRC’s YouTube. More from Advocate, BuzzFeed and USA Today.

ARKANSAS HOUSE ADVANCES ANTI-TRANSGENDER HB 1986: On Friday, HRC blasted the Arkansas House for advancing H.B. 1986, an anti-transgender bill, to the Senate. The bill clearly intends to discriminate against transgender Arkansans by making it criminal for a transgender person to access a sex-segregated space consistent with their gender identity. The measure would make it a crime for transgender Arkansans to use the facilities that correspond to their gender identity, and would open them up to further discrimination and ostracization. It would impose a criminal record on a transgender person who uses a locker room or similar facility that is consistent with their gender identity - even if they haven’t done anything wrong. More from HRC.

OPENLY TRANS CHIEF EXECUTIVE STARTS NETWORK TO HELP TRANS COMMUNITY FIND WORK: When Michaela Mendelsohn, the owner and chief executive of the Pollo West Corporation came out as transgender in 2006, she made a vow to hire more transgender people -- a community too-often denied access to work due to discrimination. Those efforts have expanded to a statewide effort called TransCanWork, a nonprofit working to hire transgender people in California. More from The New York Times.

“A COUNTRY THAT DOES NOT NURTURE AND DEFEND ALL ITS CHILDREN IS NO COUNTRY AT ALL.” In a powerful oped for The Los Angeles Times, transgender advocate iO Tillett Wright (@iOlovesyou) tells his harrowing story of growing up as a transgender child, struggling to simply use the facilities most aligned with his gender identity in his school in the West Village of New York City. He writes, “My school couldn’t have been better positioned to foster tolerance of a transgender child, but still, I got punched in the face and pressed into concrete steps because kids didn’t know for sure what I was.” More from The Los Angeles Times.

THE POWER OF BI VISIBILITY: Over the past year, we have seen more and more celebrities come out as bisexual. While bisexual individuals comprise nearly half of all the LGBTQ community, many struggle with coming out and a wide variety of health issues. More from HRC.


Washington Blade highlights a new Volvo ad featuring a same-sex couple… HRC profiles Luis Larrain, an openly gay man running for office in Chile…

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A.M. Equality