#AM_Equality Tipsheet: May 22, 2017

by Allison Turner

Discrimination approved by TX Legislature; Anti-LGBTQ extremist possible DHS appointee

DISCRIMINATION APPROVED BY TX SENATE -- ANTI-LGBTQ HB 3859 ADVANCES: Last night, HRC called out the Texas Senate for approving the discriminatory HB 3859, a bill that would allow child welfare organizations -- including adoption and foster care agencies -- to turn away qualified Texans seeking to care for a child in need, including LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced, or other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection. It also could harm children in care; HB 3859 would forbid the state from canceling a state contract with an agency that subjected children in their care to dangerous practices such as so-called “conversion therapy.” “HB 3859 is a dangerous, discriminatory bill that shows the type of overarching anti-LGBTQ animus that is coloring so much of the Texas legislature this session,” said Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign and a foster and adoptive parent. “This ‘Slate of Hate’ that the Texas legislature has made a priority harms LGBTQ Texans. It is unconscionable that a bill would prioritize discrimination over the best interest of kids in the child welfare system, but Texas lawmakers have done just that. As HB 3859 heads to Governor Abbott’s desk, we hope he does not buy into a hateful agenda over the best interest of some of his most vulnerable constituents -- Texas’ children looking for loving, stable homes.” The bill how heads to the governor’s desk. More from HRC.

ALSO, DISCRIMINATORY ANTI-TRANSGENDER AMENDMENT PASSES TEXAS HOUSE: HRC called on the Texas Senate to stop a measure that could further ostracize and harm transgender students. House lawmakers today added the discriminatory amendment to an otherwise unrelated education bill. Policies such as this one, which make classifications on the basis of “biological sex,” are designed to alienate transgender students from their peers. “This shameful amendment is yet another example of Texas lawmakers’ anti-LGBTQ agenda,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs. “Transgender youth deserve the same dignity and respect as their peers, and this craven attempt to use children as a pawn for cheap political points is disturbing and unconscionable.” More from HRC.

ALARMING -- ANTI-LGBTQ SHERIFF CLARKE POSSIBLE DHS APPOINTEE: Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., one of America’s most controversial and anti-LGBTQ law enforcement officials, could soon be tapped by President Trump to fill a prominent role at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) -- raising alarms with civil rights groups across the country. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Clarke is claiming he will accept a position at DHS’s Office of Partnership and Engagement as a liaison with state, local and tribal law enforcement and governments. Although DHS has yet to confirm Clarke’s claim, HRC and other civil rights organizations, including GLAAD and the Anti-Defamation League have expressed grave concerns. Clarke’s tenure as sheriff was challenged following the deaths of four people -- including a baby -- under his supervision; his abhorrent “leadership” also includes a long and expansive anti-LGBTQ record. More from HRC.

  • Students at the University of Notre Dame yesterday protested Mike Pence’s commencement speech and anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQ views by walking out of the ceremony. More from The Advocate and NPR.

MUST WATCH MONDAY: In a special report from Telemundo, correspondent Alonso Castillo (@acastilloT48) interviews HRC’s Laya Monarez and Lisbeth Melendez about the transgender Latinx community, and what HRC and the National Center for Transgender Equality are doing to fight anti-transgender legislation and the epidemic of violence against transgender women of color. More from Telemundo.

ANTI-LGBTQ JUDGE THOUGHT HE COULD AVOID SAME-SEX ADOPTION CASES… BUT HE THOUGHT WRONG: Kentucky family court judge W. Mitchell Nance recently submitted a proposed procedural change to the state’s chief justice that would let him avoid cases involving adoptions by same-sex couples -- a topic he has openly stated his opposition to. Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. denied the request. More from The Associated Press.

CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER ED BOARD SUPPORTS STATEWIDE LGBTQ NONDISCRIM PROTECTIONS: The Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial Board made a strong case moral and economic case for the Ohio Fairness Act -- a bill being considered in the Ohio legislature that would bring statewide nondiscrimination protections to the LGBTQ community. The Board writes, “That such protections also have an economic dimension should go without saying. Ohio doesn't want companies trying to hire young, talented high-tech workers to move to states that do protect the full civil rights of all employees. To compete in this job market, numerous big Ohio employers already forbid anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender discrimination.” Read the full piece from Cleveland Plain Dealer.

HONORING HARVEY MILK ON HIS 87th BIRTHDAY: Milk envisioned a place where all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are treated equally. HRC, as well as countless LGBTQ organizations, pro-equality lawmakers and supporters, strive everyday to make Milk’s dream a reality for millions of LGBTQ people. It is now more vital than ever that we, as a community, work tirelessly towards achieving what Milk sacrificed his life for -- equality and justice for all. More from HRC.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS SUSPEND PLAYER FOR ANTI-GAY SLUR: Kevin Pillar has been suspended for two games after calling Atlanta Braves pitcher Jason Motte an anti-gay slur. More from Bleacher Report.

TV SHOW THE FOSTERS HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE OF LGBTQ ACCEPTANCE IN FOSTER CARE AND ADOPTION: In honor of National Foster Care Month, HRC is highlighting The Fosters, a television show on Freeform that has done more to bring awareness to the issues of LGBTQ youth, same-sex couples and the importance of adoption and foster care than most other shows in recent memory. More from HRC.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY MAY ARRIVE IN TAIWAN THIS WEEK: The decades-long work of Asian activists across the vast continent to achieve marriage equality may finally bear fruit this week in Taiwan. The country’s Constitutional Court is expected to issue a ruling on May 24th in a marriage equality case brought by a veteran LGBTQ activist with support from authorities in the capital city, Taipei. Taiwan could become the first Asian country with marriage equality. More from Taiwan News.

BANGLADESHI AUTHORITIES HAVE ARRESTED 27 MEN ON SUSPICION OF BEING GAY OR BISEXUAL: This troubling report comes a year after Bangladeshi LGBTQ advocate Xulhaz Mannan was murdered. Bangladesh is one of at least 72 countries that criminalize same-sex sexual activity. More from The Independent.


The Advocate recounts the incredible story of two women who sailed from Russia to Canada to start a life together; HRC shares that rock band The Main has join its Equality Rocks campaign;

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