#AM_Equality Tipsheet: May 5, 2017

by Allison Turner

Trump lays groundwork for a #LicenseToDiscriminate; Senate -- don’t rip away healthcare from millions of Americans

TRUMP LAYS GROUNDWORK FOR A #LICENSETODISCRIMINATE: HRC condemned Donald Trump’s Executive Order which, among other things, gives Attorney General Jeff Sessions discretion to create a #LicenseToDiscriminate in agencies across the federal government. HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said, “Donald Trump just let the fox into the hen house. Through this Executive Order, Trump has directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions -- a man who has denied LGBTQ people equality under the law -- to seek a license to discriminate across all areas of the government. This order is incredibly alarming, particularly for millions of LGBTQ people and women across the nation who are among those most frequently subjected to discrimination under the guise of religion. We are watching and we will challenge any effort by Jeff Sessions or other agencies of Trump’s Administration to license discrimination.” Donald Trump’s Executive Order instructs the Attorney General to provide guidance to all agencies on “interpreting religious liberty protections in Federal law.” This sweeping approach could result in an unprecedented expansion of religious exemptions affecting employment, services, and programs. More from HRC and NBC.

TRUMP SAT DOWN TO DINNER WITH ANTI-LGBTQ EXTREMISTS BEFORE SIGNING THIS EXECUTIVE ORDER: On Wednesday night, Donald Trump invited known anti-LGBTQ extremists to dinner at the White House, including:

  • Southern Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, who has said that 70 percent of gays have AIDS and that there's a direct link between homosexuality and pedophilia.
  • Evangelist Franklin Graham, an outspoken and extremist leader at home and abroad. He has repeatedly made headlines for his verbal attacks on LGBTQ people, calling for boycotts of LGBTQ-friendly businesses.
  • Focus on the Family Founder James Dobson, who once linked the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. with “turning our back on God” and the “redefinition” of marriage.”
  • Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who earned zero after zero after zero after zero on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard during her time in Congress.
  • Faith and Freedom Coalition chairman Ralph Reed, who once compared marriage equality to slavery and those fighting it to abolitionists.

More from TIME.

HRC’S MESSAGE TO THE SENATE -- DON’T RIP AWAY HEALTH COVERAGE FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS: Yesterday, HRC released the following statement  strongly condemning a vote by the House of Representatives to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA). “Donald Trump and his allies in Congress are one step closer to ripping away care from millions of people, with a particularly devastating impact on low-income senior citizens, women, children, LGBTQ people, and people living with HIV,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “It is unconscionable that Congress might restrict vital health care for the very people they represent. With people’s lives on the line, we urge the Senate to stop this madness and reject this harmful piece of legislation.” The AHCA undermines core provisions of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA). 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. This critical coverage ensures that 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 HRC.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY -- QUEER LATINX ADVOCATE SHARES STORY, JOURNEY TO HARVARD: Javier was just six years old when his mother brought him and his brother to the U.S. from Guatemala. But it wasn’t until he came out a decade later that he found out why she left her professional life and her extended family behind to bring her sons to a new country. She feared that her son’s safety and well-being could not be assured if they stayed in Guatemala. In a new video for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Javier shares his journey, his experience with advocacy working with the Human Rights Campaign after the presidential election and his plans to attend college and continue his work. More from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

CHORUS OF SENATE AND HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE MEMBERS OPPOSES MARK GREEN FOR ARMY SECRETARY: Armed Service Committee Member Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Senate Assistant Minority Leader Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Armed Service Committee Ranking Member Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA), announced their opposition to the nomination of Tennessee State Senator Mark Green. Green’s anti-LGBTQ record, among other things, includes using slurs against the transgender community and claiming that transgender people have “a disease,” -- as reported by CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski (@KFile) and Chris Massie (@ChrisMassie). More from The Hill and CNN.

  • The Truman National Security Project sent a letter with over 80 signers to the Committee asking them to oppose Mark Green, writing “As every military leader knows, unit readiness at every level is built on mutual trust, often referred to as unit cohesion. When leaders denigrate service members on the basis of their personal characteristics, it undermines that essential trust. As several of you know firsthand, that can be the difference success and failure on the battlefield.” Read the full letter here.

#EYESONCHECHNYA -- HRC TO HOLD PROTEST AT RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR’S HOME: On Tuesday, May 9, HRC, Human Rights First and Amnesty International USA will protest the ongoing atrocities against gay men in the Republic of Chechnya. The Russian LGBT Network says that as many as 20 men may have been killed in the attacks in Chechnya, a republic within Russia. More disturbingly, the paper reported that Chechen authorities were engaged in purging gay men by kidnapping and imprisoning them secretly in “detention style camps.”

PULSE OWNER ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR A PERMANENT MEMORIAL SITE: Barbara Poma announced that a permanent memorial will honor the 49 lives lost in the horrific shooting last June -- overseen by the newly-created onePULSE Foundation. The memorial will also include a scholarship component to help the survivors and families of those affected by the shooting. More from Advocate.

UGANDAN LGBTQ ADVOCATE HONORED BY FORTUNE: Dr. Frank Mugisha (@FrankMugisha), Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, was honored by Fortune Magazine as one of the 2017 ‘World’s Greatest Leaders.’ Mugisha has worked tirelessly to decriminalize same-sex sexual activity in the East African country. More from Fortune.

HRC CELEBRATES LEADERS OF CORPORATE EQUALITY IN TEXAS: On Monday, AT&T hosted HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Team in Dallas, Texas, for the inaugural Corporate Equality Index (CEI) Awards - West. The celebratory night was held to honor the 2017  Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality with representatives from the largest group of 100 percent rated companies in the CEI's history. More from HRC.


Washington Blade reports that Chase Brexton Health Care will celebreate LGBTQ Elders on May 16; Advocate celebrates LGBTQ art of the 1970s and 1980s;

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