#AM_Equality Tipsheet: May 4, 2017

by Allison Turner

Civil rights groups rally against Trump’s #LicenseToDiscriminate EO; TODAY: Congress expected to vote on bill gutting healthcare

LGBTQ, RELIGIOUS, MUSLIM, IMMIGRANT AND WOMEN GROUPS RALLY AGAINST TRUMP’S RUMORED #LicenseToDiscriminate EXEC ORDER: A broad and diverse coalition across civil rights advocates came together yesterday to oppose a #LicenseToDiscriminate order Donald Trump is reportedly poised to sign today, putting millions of LGBTQ Americans and others at risk of discrimination. This morning, Greg Baylor of Alliance Defending Freedom -- one of the nation’s most dangerous organizations working to prevent equality for LGBTQ people --  told NPR’s Tom Gjelten (@TGjelten) that the executive order was being drafted as late as 4 PM yesterday, after actions by HRC and other civil rights organization to call out the executive order and the potential damage it could mean for countless LGBTQ people, women and other marginalized groups. Read more at HRC. Watch the full press event here. More from Washington Blade and The Daily Beast. Listen to the full NPR interview here.

  • The devil is always in the details: The White House claims this isn't about discrimination but has refused to provide the text of this order. If this EO is anything like leaked drafts, is little more than a license to discriminate. Fair-minded Americans need to know what this order will mean for millions of LGBTQ people. More from The Washington Post.
  • 1,300 faith leaders also oppose this EO: Fair-minded people of faith know that this a #LicenseToDiscriminate order would also be an attack on minorities. More from Salon.

HOUSE VOTE EXPECTED TODAY ON LEGISLATION THAT WOULD GUT HEALTHCARE FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS: After failed attempts to repeal Obamacare, the U.S. House is expected to vote today on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), legislation that would repeal and replace the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA) and gut healthcare for millions of Americans. As a result of the ACA, thousands of low-income people living with HIV have been able to obtain health insurance through the Medicaid expansion, critical coverage which ensures people living with HIV have access to lifesaving treatments. The AHCA’s drastic changes to Medicaid will likely strip these people, and other vulnerable populations, of essential healthcare coverage. More from the New York Times.  

GROWING CHORUS ON CAPITOL HILL AND BEYOND OPPOSE ARMY SEC NOMINEE MARK GREEN: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) yesterday became the first member of the Armed Services Committee to oppose Donald Trump’s nomination of anti-LGBTQ Mark Green for Army Secretary. Senate Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also came out strongly against Green, citing his “intolerant, extreme and deeply disturbing views” and Senator Murray called Green “a dangerous choice for Army Secretary.” They join Senator Tammy Baldwin who spoke out against Green Tuesday. Earlier this week, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, expressed deep concern about Green’s anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim comments. 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” and encouraging the state of Tennessee to deny marriage licenses to gay couples. 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 Huffington Post and The Hill.

  • Army veterans write about the dangers posed by Green, and the need to ensure the rights of LGBTQ service members: Ross Cohen writes for the Seattle Times “Green’s confirmation would signal renewed acceptance of hostility toward LGBTQ soldiers throughout the ranks, which will be especially discouraging for newer recruits... Our national security is weakened when we lose the service of our most capable people. The Senate must reject Green as Secretary of the Army. Let’s keep our most capable instead.” And Benjamin Haas writes for Just Security, “LGBTQ and Muslim soldiers are just as patriotic and capable as everybody else in the Army. And by virtue of putting on the uniform, they demonstrate their willingness to make immense sacrifices for the United States. In return, they at least deserve an Army secretary whose respect for them will not be clouded by the alarming views reflected in Green’s recent remarks.”

THANKFUL THURSDAY: While at HRC’s Time To THRIVE recent conference for youth-serving professionals, Bustle writer Emily Shire (@EShire) sat down with transgender youth advocate Jazz Jennings to discuss bills attacking the transgender community, the need for transgender-inclusive healthcare and the lifesaving work she and other transgender advocates are doing. Jazz says, “We are definitely going to be treated equally one day, if we keep fighting and we keep representing ourselves.” More from Bustle.

ALABAMA’S GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL ATTACKING RIGHTS OF LGBTQ ADOPTIVE PARENTS, CHILDREN INTO LAW: Yesterday, HRC expressed deep concern over Gov. Kay Ivey signing into law Alabama’s patently anti-LGBTQ bill HB24. The bill, deceptively titled the “Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act,” enshrines discrimination into Alabama law by allowing some state-licensed adoption and foster care agencies to reject qualified prospective LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents based on the agency’s religious beliefs. An amendment was added in the Senate and agreed to by the House that limits that discriminatory exemption to agencies that do not receive state or federal funding. “We are deeply disappointed that the legislature and the governor took on this unnecessary, discriminatory bill instead of focusing on how to improve the lives of all Alabamians, no matter who they are or whom they love,” said Eva Kendrick, HRC Alabama state director. “The intent of this law is clear: to discriminate, causing the most harm to children in Alabama’s child welfare system. It’s time our lawmakers -- from the legislature to the Governor’s Mansion -- stop using LGBTQ people as pawns to win cheap political points.” More from The Associated Press and The Montgomery Advertiser.

RUSSIAN LGBTQ GROUP HEARS FROM 75 AFFECTED BY CHECHEN ATTACKS ON GAY MEN: The Russian LGBT Network reports that 75 people have called into their hotline following reports that as many as 20 men may have been killed in the attacks in Chechnya, a republic within Russia. Many indicated that they were the victims of this violence, and some are fleeing their homes out of fear. The AP tells the story of a victim tortured by his captors with electric shocks before escaping to Moscow. According to ABC News, Chechen authorities have denied the arrests and torture, asserting that LGBTQ people in Chechnya don’t even exist in the republic. The Russian government has also refused to intervene, telling victims to “file official complaints and go to court” which is highly unlikely to yield any success. More from The New York Times and The Associated Press.

  • Sec of State Rex Tillerson implies that his State Department will deemphasize human rights, saying in some instances the U.S. should not use them as “leverage”: Bad Idea. Americans are more safe when governments around the world protect the human rights of all people, including those who are LGBTQ. More from The Associated Press.

NEW YORK AFFIRMS STATE TRAVEL BAN TO NORTH CAROLINA: HRC thanks Governor Andrew Cuomo, who reaffirmed New York’s ban on taxpayer-funded travel to North Carolina. The announcement comes after North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Senate President Phil Berger, and House Speaker Tim Moore passed a law -- HB 142 -- doubling down on many of the worst aspects of the state’s notorious anti-LGBTQ HB2 law. New York joins California; Washington state; Minnesota; New York City; Los Angeles; Chicago; San Francisco; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; Portland, Ore.; Baltimore; Atlanta; Oakland, Calif.; Cincinnati; Salt Lake City; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Portland, Maine; Palm Springs, Calif.; Burlington, Vt.; and Wilton Manors, Fla. More from HRC.

NOW MORE THAN EVER, THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY NEEDS FULL FEDERAL PROTECTIONS: In an oped for Advocate, Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) writes about why, now more than ever, LGBTQ Americans need Congress to pass the Equality Act. The federal legislation would finally guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our nation's existing civil rights laws. The bipartisan legislation would provide clear and equal protections under federal law for all Americans in vital areas of life, including employment, access to public spaces, housing, credit, education, jury service, and federally-funded programs. More from Advocate.

LGBTQ ADVOCATES CALL ON TN GOV. BILL HASLAM TO VETO ANTI-LGBTQ ERASURE BILL: Yesterday, advocates from HRC, the Tennessee Equality Project, ACLU, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition and GLAAD held a press conference to discuss HB 1111/SB 1085, the “LGBTQ Erasure” bill, which would require that courts and agencies apply a so-called “natural” meaning to the interpretation of gendered statutory language, including those involving the rights of husbands and wives and of mothers and fathers. HB 1111 is headed to Governor Bill Haslam’s desk where he could veto, sign or allow the bill to become law in Tennessee. More from The Tennessean.


Out & Equal Workplace Advocates’ Selisse Berry (@Selisse_Berry) and Ken Janssens (@KenCJanssens) write for Newsweek about the need for companies to lead in LGBTQ equality; USA Today shares a list of movies and TV shows celebrating transgender lives;

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