#AM_Equality Tipsheet: May 25, 2017

by Allison Turner

HRC launches “Summer of Action”; MT GOP House candidate charged with assault on reporter; NBA returns All-Star game to CLT

HRC LAUNCHES SUMMER OF ACTION TO SPUR MILLIONS OF SUPPORTERS TO ‘UNITE. RESIST. ENLIST.’ Today, HRC launched a nationwide summer of action anchored by more than 250 grassroots events from coast to coast. The theme of these events -- “Unite. Resist. Enlist.” -- reflects the goal of HRC’s summer of action: to empower and mobilize millions of equality voters to fight back against attacks that undermine the LGBTQ community. As part of the summer of action, HRC staff and thousands of volunteers will be fanning out to lead more than 250 local events in more than 45 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. They will register thousands of new voters, host grassroots advocacy trainings, and step up visibility and outreach at LGBTQ Pride parades, equality marches, festivals and other events. More from HRC.

“Through his hateful rhetoric and dangerous policies, Donald Trump has awakened a sleeping giant. Never before have Americans been more eager to participate, to advocate and to fight back. Instead of dividing us, he has unified us. And it is our responsibility as advocates to keep that momentum alive, and keep the pressure on,” said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). “During this historic Summer of Action, HRC’s grassroots army will help harness the full power of our democracy to unite, enlist and resist.”

  • HRC has also joined a broad coalition of progressive organizations in Equality Florida’s #HonorThemWithAction campaign to pay tribute to the 49 people -- most of them LGBTQ and Latinx -- whose lives were taken at the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, and is supporting related community events. More from HRC.

MONTANA GOP HOUSE CANDIDATE CHARGED WITH ASSAULT ON REPORTER: On the eve of today’s tight special election in Montana, anti-LGBTQ Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte was charged with assault for allegedly attacking a reporter, and quickly lost endorsements from three state newspapers. Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs (@BenCJacobs) said Gianforte body-slammed him at the candidate’s Bozeman headquarters when questioned about the Republicans’ health care bill. A Fox News crew that witnessed the violent incident confirmed Jacobs’ account after a Gianforte spokesperson provided an inaccurate account of what happened. “It was an extraordinary development in a race that was already being closely watched for clues about the national political environment in the tumultuous first months of the Trump presidency,” reporter Jonathan Martin (@JMartNYT) writes today in The New York Times.  Vice President Mike Pence has campaigned in the state for Gianforte, who, like Pence, has a long history of opposing LGBTQ equality. He is scheduled to appear in court June 7. Read more at The Billings Gazette.

NBA RETURNS 2019 ALL-STAR GAME TO CHARLOTTE: Yesterday, HRC responded to the NBA’s decision to bring back the All-Star Game to Charlotte in 2019.  “North Carolina's discriminatory law prohibits the city of Charlotte from implementing non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ residents and visitors attending the All-Star Game. Nothing has changed that fact,” said HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. “It's critically important that people understand the gravity of this situation, which has had the effect of extending discrimination and endangering LGBTQ people across the state of North Carolina.” The NBA had previously moved its 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte in response to HB2, the deeply discriminatory law that has since been replaced by another law -- HB142 -- that continues the same anti-LGBTQ scheme put forward by the original measure. More from HRC, ThinkProgress and Deadspin.

TRUMP’S PROPOSED BUDGET CUTS CRITICAL PROGRAMS IMPACTING LGBTQ PEOPLE: If enacted, the budget Trump released this week for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 would devastate federal safety net programs, eliminate health care for millions of Americans and undercut civil rights protections in the U.S. and human rights protections abroad. Although HRC is hopeful that Congress will reject many of these draconian cuts, this budget could trigger unimaginable cuts to safety net programs -- including programs that focus on preventing, fighting, and finding cures for diseases, and on programs that provide health services to people living with HIV, low-income women, children, the disabled and elderly. More from HRC and The New York Times.

  • In a Twitter must-read, HRC breaks down the ways Trump’s proposed budget hurts the LGBTQ community. Read the thread here.

BETSY DEVOS REFUSES TO RULE OUT GIVING FEDERAL MONEY TO ANTI-LGBTQ PRIVATE SCHOOLS: During a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing yesterday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos astoundingly refused to say whether she would deny federal funds to private schools that discriminate against LGBTQ people, racial minorities or those with special needs. After a heated back-and-forth with Devos over the issue, Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA), said, “I am shocked that you cannot come up with one example of discrimination that you would stand up for students.”  Said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy: “Taxpayer funds should never be used to discriminate against LGBTQ students, and it is shocking and disappointing that Secretary DeVos won’t make this basic commitment. Secretary DeVos has failed again to stand up for all students and ensure every child is able to receive an education free from harassment and discrimination.” More from HRC and CNN.

THROWBACK THURSDAY -- NORTH CAROLINA WRACKED UP $700K IN LEGAL FEES FIGHTING ANTI-LGBTQ LAW: BuzzFeed’s Dominic Holden (@DominicHolden) uncovered nearly $700,000 in legal fees spent by the state to defend the anti-LGBTQ HB2. The documents did not note when the payments were made, or if any were made during current Governor Roy Cooper’s tenure. This brings the total estimated cost of North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ legislation, HB142 and it’s predecessor HB2, to nearly one billion dollars. (Did you read that in Dr. Evil’s voice? Because you should have.) More from BuzzFeed.

CIVIL RIGHTS ORGS URGE TRUMP NOT TO APPOINT DAVID CLARKE TO KEY DHS POSITION: Yesterday, HRC joined a broad coalition in releasing a letter calling on President Donald Trump and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John F. Kelly not to appoint controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke as an Assistant Secretary in the Office of Partnership and Engagement at the DHS. The letter is signed by executives from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Human Rights Campaign (HRC), The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Muslim Advocates, National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and the National Urban League (NUL). More in today’s Politico Playbook.

VP PENCE -- TRUMP’S PUPPETMASTER ATTACKING LGBTQ COMMUNITY: The Washington Blade imagines a world where Trump is impeached and Vice President Mike Pence becomes president… and it’s not good. “Vice President Pence bears full responsibility for the Trump administration’s anti-equality, anti-immigrant, and anti-science cabinet and the hateful policies they’ve begun implementing,” HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride (@SarahEMcBride) tells The Blade’s Chris Johnson (@ChrisJohnson82). “Time and time again, reports surface that Vice President Pence and his allies are continuing to push the administration to take additional steps allowing a license to discriminate against LGBTQ families. From undermining protections for transgender kids to the attempted Muslim ban that would have prevented LGBTQ refugees fleeing violence from settling in America, Mike Pence is the man behind the curtain pulling Donald Trump’s puppet strings.” More from The Washington Blade.

HRC MOURNS THE LOSS OF MARTYN HETT -- LGBTQ BLOGGER KILLED IN MANCHESTER TERROR ATTACKS: Twenty-two people were killed following a terrorist attack that took place at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, on Monday night. Among the victims is 29-year-old blogger Martyn Hett. BuzzFeed once featured Hett endearingly trying to help his mom’s flailing knitting career by advertising her work on Twitter. His persistence paid off and made his mom -- and her crochet creations -- a viral sensation. More from HRC.


The New York Times previews an upcoming ‘Transparent’-themed cabaret performance; Healthline reports that HRC was named one of the best LGBTQ parenting blogs of the year;

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A.M. Equality