#AM_Equality Tipsheet: October 31, 2017

by Allison Turner

#OpenToAll -- HRC-led amicus briefs in Masterpiece Cakeshop case; Federal judge blocks Trump-Pence’s transgender troops ban

#OpenToAll -- HRC-LED AMICUS BRIEFS IN MASTERPIECE CAKESHOP CASE FEATURES TOP CHEFS, MAJOR BUSINESSES: HRC announced two amicus briefs featuring the nation’s leading bakers, chefs and businesses who oppose discrimination against LGBTQ people -- the central issue in the pending Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The ‘Chefs for Equality’ brief includes bakers, chefs, restaurateurs and other culinary industry leaders from every state, plus Washington D.C. “The culinary community has joined this brief to relay a very simple message: ‘we welcome all,’” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “If a business is open on main street, it must be open to everyone, regardless of who they are or whom they love. It is important for the nation and the Supreme Court to affirm the equal dignity of every single American.” An HRC-led amicus brief featuring 37 businesses has also been filed in this case with the same argument --  businesses must be open to all. “These companies are sending a powerful message to LGBTQ people and their families that America’s leading businesses believe in equality,” said HRC Deputy Director of Employee Engagement Beck Bailey. “Across the country, corporate leaders know that businesses should be open for all. A business owner's personal beliefs should never be reason enough to discriminate against a customer because of who they are or who they love.” More from HRC and Axios.

FEDERAL JUDGE BLOCKS TRUMP-PENCE DISCRIMINATORY BAN ON TRANSGENDER TROOPS: HRC responded to the order by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly: “Today’s preliminary injunction is an important step in the ongoing efforts to protect transgender service members from the dangerous and discriminatory policies of Donald Trump and Mike Pence,” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC's Legal Director. “Donald Trump’s erratic tweets and half-baked orders disrespect the bravery of the countless transgender people who have fought, and in many cases died, for their country. The immediate harm to our national defense and to the thousands of transgender people serving and wishing to serve their country must be stopped -- and we are grateful that a federal judge has blocked this administration from discharging any qualified individuals because of their gender identity while these cases continue to make their way through the courts.” More from HRC, PinkNews, NPR and USA Today.

HRC OPPOSES SCOTT GARRETT NOMINATION TO LEAD EXPORT-IMPORT BANK: Garrett is the second Trump-Pence nominee with a significant anti-LGBTQ record shamelessly chosen to replace an openly-LGBTQ public servant. “Scott Garrett is not qualified to be the President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States and industry leaders have spoken out against him. Moreover, his virulent anti-LGBTQ record is gravely concerning to diverse communities who would utilize the bank’s services,” said David Stacy, HRC Government Affairs Director. “If Garrett’s anti-LGBTQ track record was not insulting enough, he has long opposed the very entity that he has been nominated to lead. The Trump-Pence administration continues to dispatch anti-LGBTQ officials to all levels of government and Garrett is simply another disgraceful agent in their crusade against equality. We urge the Senate to quickly reject his nomination.” More from HRC and PinkNews.

TUESDAY TRUMP TAKEDOWN TWEET: “I struggle to understand that an individual that says, ‘As our president I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful, foreign ideology,’ one day, but then who snuggles up yesterday with a domestic group that distributes pamphlets declaring homosexuality a public health issue -- I struggle to understand how that individual is not universally and objectively viewed as lying, untrustworthy and bankrupt,” said actor Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) in a powerful speech at a recent HRC event, where he accepted an Ally for Equality award.

BROWNBACK FACES OPPOSITION OVER ANTI-LGBTQ RECORD: HRC sent a letter to senators on the Foreign Relations Committee urging them to oppose Donald Trump’s nomination for the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, staunch anti-LGBTQ politician Sam Brownback. “Given Governor Brownback’s anti-LGBTQ record, it is deeply worrying that he could use this position to promote the harmful idea that individuals holding certain religious views should somehow be permitted be discriminate against LGBTQ people or other minorities,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “This is particularly concerning because LGBTQ people often face persecution in the same countries where where religious minorities face persecution. Gov. Brownback must not be allowed to use this position to reverse the State Department’s longstanding policies, reiterated by Secretary of State Tillerson earlier this year, to support ‘the fundamental freedoms of LGBTQ persons to live with dignity and freedom.’” More from McClatchy.

CONGRESS CONDEMNS ANTI-LGBTQ VIOLENCE IN CHECHNYA; TRUMP-TILLERSON REMAIN SILENT: HRC hailed a voice vote in the U.S. Senate condemning the violence against and persecution of LGBTQ people in Chechnya. To date, neither Trump nor U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have publicly condemned the atrocities. “The U.S. Senate just sent a powerful message with this unanimous vote that, despite the deafening silence from the White House, the people of the United States strongly condemn these anti-LGBTQ attacks in Chechnya,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. “Members of both parties in both chambers have now unanimously condemned the anti-LGBTQ Chechen violence and persecution, and it’s far past time that President Trump and Secretary Tillerson also publicly do so. Given the growing violence and arrests of LGBTQ people around the world, the United States must not back away from leading on LGBTQ human rights.” The Senate and House measures call on Chechen officials “to immediately cease the abduction, detention, and torture of individuals on the basis of their actual or suspected sexual orientation, and hold accountable all those involved in perpetrating such abuses.” More from HRC.

HRC STANDS WITH SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT, NOW AND ALWAYS: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience sexual violence at similar or higher rates than heterosexuals. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects estimates that nearly one in ten LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence has experienced sexual assault from those partners. Learn more on sexual assault and the LGBTQ community here.

HRC MOURNS STEPHANIE MONTEZ, A TRANS WOMAN MURDERED IN TEXAS: HRC was shocked and saddened to learn that Stephanie Montez, a 47-year-old transgender woman, was brutally murdered weeks ago near Robstown, Texas. Montez had been shot multiple times. Montez’s longtime friend, Brittany Ramirez, described her as “one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet,” who loved dancing and “had a great outlook on life.” The investigation into her murder continues. More from HRC.

NEW STUDY HIGHLIGHTS HORRIFYING INSTANCES OF WHITE SUPREMACIST BULLYING IN SCHOOLS: The report, issued by the UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education and Access, reveals that students are feeling emboldened by the toxic rhetoric of the Trump-Pence administration to bully and harass other students of color. Read the full report here.

ARIZONA’S AK-CHIN TRIBE TO RECOGNIZE MARRIAGE EQUALITY: A tribal court has ruled that same-sex couples have a “fundamental right to marry.” More from The Associated Press.

ANTI-LGBTQ EXTREMIST GROUP EXPORTS HATE AROUND THE WORLD: MassResistance, a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group, promotes the lie that LGBTQ identities fuel “public health crises” and pushes an anti-marriage equality agenda in countries including Jamaica, the UK, Finland, Mexico, Taiwan, Australia and Nigeria. “It's horrifying that anti-LGBTQ hate groups have become 'exporters of hate,' focusing on fighting equality in countries where anti-LGBTQ violence is already so prevalent,” HRC Press Secretary Nick Morrow (@NRMorrow) told Vice’s Sirin Kale (@thedalstonyears). More from Vice.

EGYPT EXTENDS DETENTION OF MAN ARRESTED FOR WAVING RAINBOW FLAG: Ahmed Alaa was arrested at a concert in Cairo, and is one of more than 60 LGBTQ Egyptians arrested over the past two months. More from The Associated Press.

HORRIFYING -- PUERTO RICO LGBTQ DANCECLUB ATTACKED: A local newspaper reported that “incendiary devices” were thrown into the San Juan bar on Saturday night. More from Washington Blade.


Reuters reports that Hong Kong will host the 2022 Gay Games;

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