#AM_Equality Tipsheet: May 1, 2017

by Allison Turner

KQED seeks to unseal video of historic ‘Prop 8’ marriage equality trial; KY judge refuses to hear adoption cases involving LGBTQ parents

KQED SEEKS TO UNSEAL VIDEO OF HISTORIC ‘PROP 8’ MARRIAGE EQUALITY TRIAL: HRC supports efforts by San Francisco PBS station KQED to release the full record of the groundbreaking case, including videotapes, which have remained under court seal. Prop 8, the 2008 amendment to the California Constitution that stripped the state of marriage equality, was ultimately overturned by the United States Supreme Court in Perry v. Brown. “The lives of millions of Americans have been changed by the historic fight to secure marriage equality nationwide. The effort to keep the Proposition 8 trial proceedings hidden from the public was wrong then, and it is wrong now,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The stories of our plaintiffs -- Kris & Sandy and Paul & Jeff -- are a crucial part of the historic record and our nation's civil rights history. So are the claims made by those who have fought at every turn to deny loving couples their most basic fundamental rights.” More from HRC.

OUTRAGEOUS -- KENTUCKY JUDGE DEFIES STATE LAW, REFUSES TO HEAR ADOPTION CASES INVOLVING SAME-SEX ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Judge W. Mitchell Nance, a family court judge in Kentucky, is refusing to hear adoption cases involving same-sex parents. Hist outrageous reasoning is because he does not believe same-sex parents are in the “best interests” of a child -- even going so far as to say children can never be served by a “practicing homosexual.” When speaking to his hometown newspaper, The Courier-Journal, he admitted to never having met same-sex parents or seeing research that backs up his bigoted claims. More from New York Daily News and USA Today.

UMC RESCINDS APPOINTMENT OF LESBIAN BISHOP: In a repudiation of its own congregants’ decision, The United Methodist Church (UMC) on Saturday took the deeply disappointing action of rescinding the appointment of openly lesbian Bishop Karen Oliveto. “LGBTQ religious leaders deserve the recognition of their peers, and the opportunity to lead the faithful in the same way non-LGBTQ leaders do,” said Ashland Johnson, Director of Public Education and Research. “The Western Jurisdiction of the Church saw fit to recognize, elevate and celebrate Bishop Oliveto. We are disappointed that the UMC did not honor their congregants’ decision.” More from HRC.

MUST WATCH MONDAY: HRC Foundation’s fourth annual Time to THRIVE Conference came to a close Sunday in Washington, D.C. Over the three-day event, more than 700 youth-serving professionals attended workshops, joined HRC in honoring journalist Katie Couric of Yahoo News and transgender advocates Jazz Jennings and Ruby Corado, and heard Charles Blow of the New York Times discuss LGBTQ identities and intersectionality. Read more about day one, day two and day three of Time to THRIVE. To learn more, visit TimeToTHRIVE.org, and watch more videos on HRC’s YouTube channel.

MILITARY ACADEMICS WARN THAT ANTI-LGBTQ ARMY SEC NOMINEE MARK GREEN WOULD POSE “SERIOUS THREAT”  TO MILITARY VALUES:  Twenty-one current and former faculty members at service academies, war colleges, and other military universities released a letter warning that Mark Green, Donald Trump’s nominee for Army Secretary, would constitute a “serious threat” to the military’s core values and ability to draw on the best talent to accomplish critical military missions. Green’s anti-LGBTQ record includes describing former President Obama’s guidance protecting transgender students an example of “tyrannical government,” saying that being transgender is a “disease”, encouraging the state of Tennessee to deny marriage licenses to gay couples, and equating transgender people to rapists and pedophiles. As a State Senator, he supported legislation giving businesses a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, sponsored several anti-transgender bills, and opposed state nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation. More from The Tennessean.

  • Muslim Advocates joins growing movement against Army Sec. nominee Mark Green: In a statement, the national legal advocacy and education group writes, “Green has a deplorable record of stereotyping and trafficking in harmful rhetoric against Muslims and the LGBT community and a troubling friendliness to anti-Muslim propaganda.” More from Muslim Advocates.

LGBTQ ALLY REP. ROS-LEHTINEN ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT: Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), a staunch champion of LGBTQ people, announced this weekend that she will be retiring from the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of her term next year. Ros-Lehtinen is a co-chair of the HIV caucus and a member of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. In an HRC video, Ros-Lehtinen, who earns a perfect 100 in HRC’s Congressional Scorecard, speaks movingly about her transgender son, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen. More from The Miami Herald.

FAITH LEADERS URGE TEXAS LAWMAKERS TO SUPPORT LGBTQ COMMUNITY: More than 200 faith leaders wrote a letter to Texas House members urging them to reject policies that discriminate against the LGBTQ community. HRC is monitoring a slew of anti-LGBTQ legislation in Texas, including HB 3859, a bill that would allow sweeping discrimination by foster care and adoption agencies against potential parents based on the agencies’ religious beliefs, and HB 2899, an anti-transgender bill that would force transgender people to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity. More from the San Antonio Express News.

LGBTQ YOUTH STORM THE U.S. CAPITOL FOR LOBBY DAY: On Friday, more than 60 youth-serving professionals, LGBTQ youth and parents of LGBTQ youth met with officials and staffers in nearly 100 congressional offices to lobby on issues affecting LGBTQ youth. The advocates from 20 states were brought together by HRC, GLSEN, PFLAG, the Trevor Project, and the True Colors Fund. More from HRC.


AARP shares healthcare tips for LGBTQ elders;  HRC highlights the 10 times Ellen DeGeneres proved she is a pioneer and icon for the LGBTQ community; Trans writer Malcolm Conner won The New York Times’ Modern Love Essay Contest for his piece The Physics of Forbidden Love.

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A.M. Equality