Human Rights Campaign Hub




HRC Joins LGBTQ Organizations Standing In Solidarity With Slain Teenager Mike Brown: VIDEO

MikeBrown

The Human Rights Campaign along with 16 other LGBTQ organizations have penned an open letter of solidarity expressing their grief over the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager gunned down by police in Ferguson, Missouri, a St. Louis suburb.

“When communities experience fear, harassment and brutality simply because of who they are or how they look, we are failing as a nation," the letter reads. “In light of the recent events in Missouri, it is clearer than ever that there is something profoundly wrong in our country.”

Brown’s death sparked a wave of protests, public outrage, and calls for an investigation into the circumstances that lead to the shooting. Brown, 18, was known as a gentle giant by those who knew him, a description that has become a rallying cry from the communities calling for legal action against the police officer responsible for his killing.

Eye-witness accounts of the shooting differ drastically from those released by the St. Louis Police Department. According to Ferguson Police Chief Jon Belmar Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson were confronted by authorities after one of the boys allegedly forced an officer back into his cruiser, assaulted him, and attempted to take his gun. Johnson’s telling of the shooting recalls the officer approaching them, despite their insistence that they were minutes away from their destination and only wanted to go there.

“I saw the barrel of the gun pointed at my friend,” Johnson told NBC. “I could see so vividly what was going on because I was so close.”

Johnson’s claims that neither he nor Brown made an attempt for the officer’s gun, and that Brown had his hands in the air when he was finally gunned down.

The officer responsible for the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave in light of the fallout following Brown’s death. Despite public calls for the publication of the officer’s name, the St. Louis County Police Department has refused, citing its desire to protect his privacy.

Read the HRC’s full letter and watch Dorian Johnson’s interview describing Mike Brown’s shooting AFTER THE JUMP...

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Republicans Mike Enzi And Mike Kelly Introduce Anti-Gay Adoption Bill

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 10.23.11 AM

New legislation introduced last week aims to allow adoption and foster care providers to refuse service on the basis of the organization’s religious objections, reports Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Introduced by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA), bill S. 2706/H.R. 5285 would allow adoption or foster care providers to deny service to heterosexual couples of a different faith, single parents and LGBTI couples.

In a statement, Ellen Kahn, Director of the HRC Foundation’s Children, Youth, and Families Program, said:

“If this bill passes, an Evangelical straight couple, a single father, or a committed and loving gay and lesbian couple could find their path to adoption blocked for no reasonable reason other than naked discrimination.

"Taxpayer funds should not be used to discriminate, and too many children need loving families right now for our elected officials to be playing these kinds dangerous political games. This bill has nothing to do with faith, and it must be condemned.”

President Obama recently signed an executive order banning federally-funded organizations from discriminating against LGBTI people.

Last week, it was announced that Democratic House Representative Jared Polis is preparing to initiate a discharge petition for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a means of bringing a bill directly to the floor without consideration from committee or direct input from the House leadership.


New York Giants Hire Anti-Gay NOM Spokesperson David Tyree as Director of Player Development

Tyree

Towleroad readers will know former New York Giant David Tyree from a series of posts back in 2011 in when he became a spokesperson for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

GiantsHe has now been hired by the Giants as the director of player development.

Said Tyree in a video for NOM in 2011:

“Marriage is the only relationship that actually mirrors a relationship with God — it’s very unique in that way...If they pass this gay marriage bill...what I know will happen if this does comes forth is this will be the beginning of our country sliding toward...anarchy...That will be the moment our society loses its grip with what is right...I don't believe that truth is subjective...If you redefine [marriage...it changes the perception of what is good, what is right, and what is just..."

Tyree later went on to say that he would trade a Super Bowl win to stop gays from marrying and expressed concern for his kids:

 "I don't want my kids to think homosexuals are normal."

Tyree is also an advocate for gay conversion therapy, NJ.com reports:

His more divisive views -- like somebody can change their sexual identity through therapy --- came to light via a series of Twitter messages from 2011 first reported by NJ.com.

"I'll never be a former black," Tyree tweeted in June 2011. "I have met former homosexuals. That's the truth."

The tweets -- along with his crusade for years against gay marriage -- drew a strong rebuke Tuesday by the Human Rights Campaign, both in a response to an inquiry from NJ.com and in a press release Tuesday evening.

“When did Tyree decide to be straight?” asked Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a news release. “The idea that someone can change their sexual orientation or gender identity is ludicrous, and the New York Giants are risking their credibility by hiring someone who publicly advocates this junk science. His opposition to basic legal equality aside, David Tyree’s proselytizing of such dangerous practices goes against the positive work the Giants organization has done in recent years.

The Giants said in a statement that Tyree "was expressing his personal view, and that is not the view of the Giants organization."

Watch Tyree's video for NOM and an ESPN report on the hiring and backlash, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Demi Lovato Releases Video Supporting Marriage Equality: WATCH

Lovato

Pop star Demi Lovato, who recently appeared at both NYC and L.A. Pride, revealed that her grandfather was gay at a Logo Trailblazers event, and released a music video with an LGBT rights message, appears in a new video from HRC's Americans for Marriage Equality Campaign.

Says Lovato in the clip: “I believe that love comes in all different shapes, sizes and colors. So whether you’re LGBT or straight, your love is valid, beautiful and an incredible gift. So let’s protect love and strengthen the institution of marriage by allowing loving, caring and committed same-sex couples to legally marry.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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HRC's Chad Griffin Says Congress Must Narrow ENDA's Religious Exemption and Pass Full LGBT Civil Rights Bill

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin on Wednesday called on Congress to narrow the religious exemption in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act one day after several other top LGBT rights groups including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the ACLU pulled their support of the bill.

GriffinHRC had come under criticism for standing by the bill. Said Griffin in today's statement, posted at Buzzfeed:

The Human Rights Campaign supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for a very simple reason. It will guarantee millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in all 50 states explicit, reliable protections from discrimination in the workplace. We call on our allies in Congress to improve this bill’s overly broad religious exemption. A strong ENDA is worth fighting for because we cannot ignore the urgent need of countless LGBT people who do not have the luxury of waiting for these protections.

...We cannot and will not ignore the imperative of this moment. As long as this Congress is in session, we will fight for ENDA — with a narrowed religious exemption — because these workplace protections will change millions of lives for the better. But this movement has a responsibility to also chart a course for the future.

Griffin also stated the need for a full LGBT civil rights bill:

But regardless of whether or not ENDA passes in this session of Congress, it is time for the LGBT movement to throw its weight behind a fully comprehensive LGBT civil rights bill. A bill that, at long last, would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in all core civil rights categories — including housing, public accommodations, credit, education and, if ENDA fails to pass, in employment. This is a visionary idea that Congresswoman Bella Abzug brought to Congress in 1974. Its time has come.


As ACLU, GLAD, Lambda Legal, NCLR, and Transgender Law Center Pull Support for ENDA, HRC Holds On

Following this morning's statement that the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) dropped their support for ENDA, four more major LGBT rights organizations have followed suit.

Via the ACLU: Aclu

The American Civil Liberties Union today announced that it is withdrawing its support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in a statement also signed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Transgender Law Center. The ACLU objects to a provision in the bill that would allow religiously affiliated employers to continue to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"Federal legislation to protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination is way beyond overdue, but Congress has no place giving religiously affiliated employers a license to discriminate against LGBT workers," said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office. "We can no longer support a bill that treats LGBT discrimination as different and somehow more legitimate than other forms of discrimination."

President Obama has announced his intention to sign an executive order that would ban discrimination against LGBT people employed by federal contractors. The ACLU opposes any inclusion of a discrimination exemption in this executive order.

Read their statement HERE.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign continues to support the troubling, flawed piece of legislation.

Said HRC Vice President Fred Sainz in an email: "HRC supports ENDA because it will provide essential workplace protections to millions of LGBT people."

In related news, 45 LGBT groups have written a letter to President Obama asking him to ensure that the executive order he has promised to sign barring anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors "not contain any exemption beyond what is provided by the Constitution and Title VII."


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