Posts Tagged As: Bathrooms

Federal Judge Blocks UNC From Enforcing North Carolina’s “Bathroom Bill”

Jim Burroway

August 29th, 2016

UNCThe University of North Carolina is barred from enforcing the portion of North Carolina’s HB2 which would require transgender people to use public restrooms based on the gender marked on their birth certificates:

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, issued the 83-page injunction late Friday on the basis the law, House Bill 2, likely violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

“The University of North Carolina, its officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and all other persons acting in concert or participation with them are hereby enjoined from enforcing Part I of HB2 against the individual transgender plaintiffs until further order of the court,” Schroeder writes.

However, Schroeder writes plaintiffs in the case “have not made a clear showing” they’re likely to succeed in their challenge against the law on the basis it violates the right to equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. Further, the court, Schoroder writes, will reserve ruling on due process claims pending further briefing from the parties.

The judge based his injunction on a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals case involving Gavin Grimm, a transgender student who is suing his Virginia school district for preventing him from using male rest rooms. That decision was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court pending an expected an appeal to the high court.

UNC had already said that they would not be enforcing HB2 on campus, and would comply with the injunction. The full trial  is set for November 14.

Texas Federal Judge Blocks Obama Administration’s Trans Protections

Jim Burroway

August 22nd, 2016

Responding to a lawsuit filed by Texas and ten other states, Ft. Worth Federal District Judge Reed O’Connor has blocked the Obama Administration’s interpretation of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act to extend discrimination protections for transgender people under the law’s provisions based on sex. According to Buzzfeed:

The court found that the Obama administration’s actions likely violate the Administrative Procedure Act for failing to follow proper notice and comment procedures under the law because, the court found, the policies are “legislative and substantive.” Additionally, the court found that, under the text of the law, the Obama administration’s interpretation is incorrect — a ruling that contradicts an earlier decision from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in a related case challenging a Virginia school district’s policies.

“A definition that confuses instead of clarifies is unpersuasive,” O’Connor wrote of the policies, citing the judge who dissented from the 4th Circuit’s decision for support.

O’Connor, in granting the states’ request, issued a nationwide injunction of the guidance, writing that “while this injunction remains in place, [the Obama administration is] enjoined from initiating, continuing, or concluding any investigation based on [its] interpretation that the definition of sex includes gender identity in Title IX’s prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex.”

While the Fourth Circuit Court’s rulings aren’t binding in Texas, I don’t see how the Texas judge can issue a nationwide injunction. Maybe legal eagles can weigh in here. Others seems to agree:

Other courts have sided with the Obama administration, agreeing that transgender students can be protected by anti-discrimination laws.

“A ruling by a single judge in one circuit cannot and does not undo the years of clear legal precedent nationwide establishing that transgender students have the right to go to school without being singled out for discrimination,” said a statement from five groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), that have filed “friend of the court” briefs on behalf of transgender students.

The injunction does not prevent parents of transgender students from suing school districts for discrimination, nor does it prevent districts from offering bathroom access policies that run according to the guidelines, those group said.

ACLU attorney Joshua Block said the main practical impact of the decision is that it would prevent the Obama administration from carrying out administrative enforcement actions against schools on transgender issues.

(Click to enlarge.)

(Click to enlarge.)

The thirteen states which are suing the Obama administration under Texas vs. United States are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. That lawsuit is being led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Eleven states are suing the administration in a separate lawsuit, Nebraska vs. U.S: Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming. That lawsuit is being led by Nebraska Attorney General Douglas Peterson.

Four separate lawsuits have been filed in North Carolina over HB2, which prohibits municipalities from enacting local non-discrimination ordinances based on either sexual orientation or gender identity, and which requires transgender people to use the rest room based on the gender listed on their birth certificates. Two of those lawsuits are challenging the law, and two others are challenging the Obama administration’s transgender policies.

In another lawsuit, a Virginia high school student is suing the Gloucester County school board over the district’s bathroom policy that would force him to use the women’s restroom. After his case was rejected in Federal District Court, the Fourth Court of Appeals issued a preliminary injunction allowing the teen to use the mens’s restrooms and ordered the lower court to re-hear the case, saying that the U.S. Department of Education could interpret Title IX as applying to gender identity. That injunction was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court on August 3.

Twelve states, led by Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, filed a brief in the Northern District of Texas supporting the Obama administration’s policies. They were: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, as well as Washington, DC.

Federal Judge Appears Skeptical Of North Carolina’s Anti-Trans Law

Jim Burroway

August 1st, 2016

From Dominic Holden of Buzzfeed:

A federal judge expressed skepticism on Monday that North Carolina lawmakers were solving a legitimate safety problem when they passed a law that bans many transgender people from restrooms in government facilities that match their gender identity.

US District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder also seemed flummoxed at one point by how the law could function in practical terms — it requires people to use single-sex restrooms associated with the sex on their birth certificate, thereby making transgender people enter facilities that conflict with their identity and appearance.

“We would have people dressed like males, who consider themselves male, walking into the ladies room,” he told a lawyer representing Gov. Pat McCrory.

“How on earth is that supposed to work?” he asked.

Schroeder was considering a request to suspend the law while its underlying legal merits are considered at a trial. “I endeavor to make a decision as soon as I can,” he told the courtroom. “I know school is about to ramp up.”

According to Holden, the hearling lasted more than three hours, and his report includes an extended account of the arguments made in court. It seems that lawyers for the state have quite a hill to climb.

Judge Schroeder was hearing arguments over a motion for a injunction to prevent North Carolina from enforcing the anti-transgender public accommodations portion of HB2. The state law was introduced, debated, passed by both state chambers in the legislature and signed into law in a single day, which has to be some kind of a record. HB2 was enacted in response to a Charlotte city ordinance that granted broad anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. HB2 overrode the Charlotte ordinance and prohibited all municipalities from passing any such anti-discrimination ordinances. HB2 also added an additional anti-transgender component that single-sex restrooms and locker rooms in public schools and government buildings be used by people according to the gender specified on their birth certificates.

Twelve States File Brief Supporting Transgender Coverage Under Civil Rights Laws

Jim Burroway

July 28th, 2016

Notes: In states other than Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee, local jurisdictions may provide additional anti-discrimination protections beyond those provided by state law. On June 30, a federal judge issued an injunction preventing Mississippi’s so-called “religious freedom” law from going into effect.

Notes: In states other than Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee, local jurisdictions may provide additional anti-discrimination protections beyond those provided by state law. On June 30, a federal judge issued an injunction preventing Mississippi’s so-called “religious freedom” law from going into effect. (Click to enlarge.)

Twelve states, led by Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, have filed a brief in federal court supporting the Obama Administration’s policies to include non-discrimination protections for transgender students and employees under current civil rights laws which prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender. The brief was filed in the Northern District of Texas, where Texas is the lead plaintiff on behalf of thirteen states in a lawsuit seeking to block the Obama Administration’s policies.

According to Dominic Holden at Buzzfeed:

“The bottom line is that the federal guidance at issue here threatens no imminent harm,” reads a draft of the brief provided to BuzzFeed News.

The filing is led by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, whose brief adds that federal protections for transgender people are “strongly in the public interest.”

Ferguson elaborated on getting involved in the litigation in an interview with BuzzFeed News, explaining, “I think this case could go all the way to the Supreme Court, and I want to make sure the trial court has our perspective and the perspective of like-minded states.”

I haven’t seen a copy of the brief. Buzzfeed reports that the brief argues, “Contrary to Plaintiffs’ claims, our shared experience demonstrates that protecting the civil rights of our transgender friends, relatives, classmates, and colleagues creates no public safety threat and imposes no meaningful financial burden.”

States joining Washington’s brief are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, as well as Washington, DC. All but New Hampshire and New York cover gender identity in addition to sexual orientation under their non-discrimination laws. New York has recently extended gender identity protections under regulations implemented by the state’s Division of Human Rights, which enforces the state’s non-discrimination laws.

(Click to enlarge.)

(Click to enlarge.)

Twelve other states have joined Texas in its federal lawsuit, and nine others have joined a a similar lawsuit being led by Nebraska. Two lawsuits in North Carolina seek to enjoin the Obama Administration from implementing its transgender protection policies.

Two others lawsuits have been lodged against North Carolina over HB2, which prohibits municipalities from enacting local non-discrimination ordinances based on either sexual orientation or gender identity, and which requires transgender people to use the rest room based on the gender listed on their birth certificates.

On Tuesdsay, Federal District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder set a November 14 trial date to consider whether the four North Carolina lawsuits should be tried jointly or organized in a different manner. But moments ago, the ACLU, which joined with Lambda Legal to represent plaintiffs in one of those lawsuits challenging HB2 has sent out a press release saying that Judge Schroeder will hear arguments on Monday, August 1, on a motion for a preliminary injunction blocking the state from enforcing its anti-transgender provisions.

NBA Pulls All-Star Game From Charlotte Over Anti-LGBT Law

Jim Burroway

July 21st, 2016

Yahoo News broke the story:

Without any movement by state legislators in North Carolina to change newly enacted laws targeted at the LGBT community, the NBA is pulling the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, league sources told The Vertical.

The NBA is focused on the New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center as the host for All-Star Weekend and the All-Star Game on Feb. 19, league sources told The Vertical.

For now, there are still other cities trying to lure the All-Star Game, sources said.

A formal announcement on the NBA’s withdrawal out of Charlotte is expected as soon as this week, league sources said Thursday./blockquote>

The National Basketball Association has long warned North Carolina legislators that the state risked losing next year’s All-Star Game if it didn’t rescind HB 2, which prohibits local jurisdictions from enacting non-discrimination ordinances covering sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and excludes all workplace discrimination lawsuits from state courts. HB 2, additionally and more controversially, prohibits transgender people from using public facilities which correspond to their gender identity or presentation. A number of businesses have halted relocation and expansion plans in the state, and several conventions and concert performances were cancelled. Figures are hard to pin down, but one tally of known cancellations as of mid-April put the losses at $77 million.

Texas Leads 13-State Lawsuit Against Obama’s Transgender Bathroom Directive

Jim Burroway

July 7th, 2016


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading a coalition of thirteen states in a lawsuit filed against the Obama administration. The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction against directives from the Justice Department and the Education Department which warn that Title IX funding may be withheld from school districts and colleges that discriminate against transgender students. The particular point of contention among conservatives is whether schools can be compelled to make restrooms and changing rooms available to transgender students according to their gender identity:

The coalition, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, has already filed suit against the Obama administration to seek a permanent block of the directive. Wednesday’s request, if approved, would affect not just these states but public schools across the country.

The states filed the case in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas. Harrold Independent School District, just northwest of Wichita Falls, is the official plaintiff on behalf of Texas, but most of the attention in the Lone Star State has fallen on the Fort Worth Independent School District.

There, the superintendent incurred the wrath of Paxton, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other Republican leaders for setting local rules that would allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.

Last week, Paxton issued a nonbinding opinion that the new guidelines for transgender students violate state law by relegating “parents to a subordinate status” in being informed about their children. He also said Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner illegally enforced the rules without the school board’s input.

Scribner countered that the school district’s guidelines for transgender students had been approved by the district five years ago, long before the current controversy.

The thirteen states joining the lawsuit are: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

NC Lawmakers End Session By Making A Tiny Change to HB 2 — To Limit Its Impact To Straight People

Jim Burroway

July 2nd, 2016

For months, North Carolina Gov Pat McCrory (R) has been  promising change to HB 2, the state law that blocks all anti-LGBT discrimination ordinances in the state, and which criminalize transgender people’s ability to use public restrooms according to their gender identity. National outcry over the discriminatory legislation has resulted in millions of dollars in lost business and high-profile cancellations of events and concerts in the state. The National Basketball Association has threatened to pull its planned 2017 All Star Game from Charlotte if the law weren’t changed.

And so the legislature changed the law, just before ending its session yesterday:

Gov. Pat McCrory had been seeking the action for months. HB2, best known for requiring transgender people in government facilities to use bathrooms matching the gender on their birth certificates, also blocked a path that North Carolinians had to file state-court discrimination claims.

Though lawmakers’ action Friday restores that path, it comes with a statute of limitations shorter than before — one year instead of three years.

“As we said from the beginning, there was never an intent to limit the right of anybody to seek redress in state court,” House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters.

The House passed the change 85-15, and the Senate passed it 26-14 to send it to the governor.

House speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland Co.) actually said with an straight face: “I certainly hope that the NBA will keep the All-Star Game here. The process I don’t think lends itself to (passing) legislation perhaps that they might want to see. I hope that they – and frankly every business that had concerns about discrimination arguments – see fixing this issue with access to state courts as fixing that.”

Yup. All fixed.

The House also voted 89-32 to raid the state’s disaster relief fund to the tune of %500,000 to defend HB 2 in court. The bill passed the Senate on Thursday and is headed to McCrory for his signature. State Attorney General Roy Cooper (D), who is running against McCrory for Governor, has said he will not defend the law in court.

North Carolina Lawmakers Plot Raid Of Disaster Relief Fund to Defend HB 2

Jim Burroway

July 1st, 2016

When the next hurricane or flood hits North Carolina and state residents turn to the state’s disaster relief coffers, they’ll find it half a million dollars poorer than it should be:

North Carolina lawmakers took steps Thursday to set aside a half-million dollars for the legal defense of a law limiting protections for LGBT people as a judge sought to streamline a cluster of lawsuits it has inspired.

Republican lawmakers were mapping out the end of the session, including possible changes to the law known as House Bill 2, which has attracted high-profile critics including the NBA. The session could end this weekend.

But there was no appetite to change the provision requiring transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate in schools, universities and many other public buildings. The law also excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from statewide anti-discrimination protections.

…The Senate also approved a plan to give McCrory’s office $500,000 to defend the law in court, by transferring money from a disaster relief fund. The measure still must pass the House.

The NBA had scheduled its 2017 All-Star game in Charlotte before the law was enacted earlier this year. Yesterday, the Charlotte Hornets and the NBA issued a joint statement saying that the minor changes to HB 2 that have been floated aren’t enough. While Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is trying to find some minimal changes to the law that might keep the All Star game in town while still keeping anti-LGBT lawmakers in his own party happy, he has no problem with trying to take advantage of whole episode in a re-eleaction campaign pitch:

A spokesman for McCrory’s re-election campaign, Ricky Diaz, later said in an email: “Any Democrat standing with the Human Rights Campaign and other out-of-state liberal interest groups by refusing any compromise is attempting to drive the NBA All-Star Game from North Carolina.”

Right. It’s Transwomen You Need To Fear

Jim Burroway

June 9th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 8.29.45 AMA small bomb exploded in the women’s bathroom at a Target store in Evanston on Wednesday, and officials are investigating whether it’s connected to the company’s policy allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice.

Thankfully, no one was in the restroom when the explosion went off a little after 4:00 yesterday afternoon outside of Chicago. Police say a plastic bottle was used, but no nails or projectiles were inside. The restroom sustained minor damage.

House GOP Caucus Heard “Homosexuals Worthy Of Death” Verse Before Spending Bill Vote

Jim Burroway

May 26th, 2016

I mentioned this earlier, but Roll Call has just come out with more details:

Georgia Rep. Rick W. Allen led the opening prayer by reading from Romans 1:18-32, and Revelations 22:18-19. An aide to Allen told CQ that Allen did not mention the upcoming vote on the Energy-Water spending bill or an amendment it included from Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York that would prevent federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Passages in the verses refer to homosexuality and the penalty for homosexual behavior. “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet,” reads Romans 1:27, which Allen read, according to his office.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them,” read lines 28-32, which Allen also read, according to his office.

The night before, the full House — with the help of 43 Republicans — approved an amendment offered by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) Malone to restore President Obama’s LGBT non-discrimnation Executive Order. The order is threatened by a clause inserted by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) into a VA spending bill passed by the House last week that would overturn it.

Following the prayer/sermon/caucus meeting this morning, 130 of the 246 House Republicans– well more than half the caucus — defeated the energy spending bill, with many of those voting against it citing specifically citing Maloney’s amendment. When Maloney heard about the GOP conference prayer/sermon, he declared, “To suggest that protecting people from being fired because of who they are means eternal damnation, then I think they are starting to show their true colors.”

Only 106 Republicans joined six Democrats to support the bill. Democratic opposition centered around a another amendment added to the spending bill after Maloney’s amendment was approved that would prevent the Obama administration from reducing Title IX and other funding to North Carolina over that state’s discriminatory anti-trans legislation. Exchanging one form of discrimination for another made the prospect of voting for the larger spending bill anathema to all but six Democrats.

Updated: The House May Have Passed the LGBT Amendment, But They Defeated The Larger Bill

Jim Burroway

May 26th, 2016

The House rejected a appropriations bill for the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers, Interior Department’s Bureau of Reclamation and several other commissions. The huge $37.4 billion spending bill went down 112-305. Dems lined up against the measure, citing such poison pill provisions as amendment targeting the Iran nuclear deal and prohibiting the Obama administration from revoking Title IX funds previously appropriated for North Carolina and Mississippi over those states’ anti-trans bathroom bills. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) was among those voting against the bill:

Ultimately, though, Maloney said he voted ‘no’ on the Energy-Water bill, which included his LGBT anti-discrimination amendment. He pointed to a subsequent amendment by Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C.,   which prohibits the Obama administration from blocking North Carolina from receiving federal funds in retaliation to its transgender bathroom law. That measure was adopted 227-192.

“I wasn’t about to support the Pittenger amendment … having fought all week to get workplace protections,” Maloney said. “We won the vote last night. That’s an important victory. It shows there is a majority in the House that supports work place protection.”

Update:  Politico adds this bit of inside baseball:

Some GOP lawmakers were furious over Rep. Rick Allen’s (R-Ga.) comments on the LGBT issue at a GOP Conference meeting prior to the vote.

Allen read a passage from the Bible and questioned whether members would violate their religious principles if they supported the bill.

But moderate Republicans were stunned by Allen’s remarks, and some walked out of the meeting in protest, according to GOP lawmakers.

“A good number of members were furious,” said one Republican, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. “There was some Scripture that was read and the like … Nothing good was going to happen to those that supported [the LGBT provision.] A good number of members were furious.”

An amendment offered by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) added a line saying that Maloney’s provision, which restored Obama’s Executive Order requiring federal contractors to provide anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, would not conflict with “the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and Article I of the Constitution.” The hope was that this caveat would reassure more conservative members of the caucus. But this morning, those conservatives informed leadership that they would not support the appropriations bill with Maloney’s amendment attached. Those conservatives said that GOP leadership never should have allowed Maloney’s amendment to be vote on in the first place. Meanwhile, Democrats also abandoned the bill over the Title IX amendment and other provisions targeting climate change science and withholding federal funds from “sanctuary cities.”

House Finally Passes LGBT Anti-Discrimination Measure

Jim Burroway

May 26th, 2016

Remember that amendment that Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) tried to attach to veterans spending bill last week that would uphold President Obama’s Executive Order requiring federal contractors to maintain anti-discrimination policies covering sexual orientation and gender identity? Remember that he tried to attach that amendment because Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) had inserted a provision that would have overturned Obama’s Executive Order? And remember how House GOP leaders went through extra lengths — even going so far as to openly break their own House rules to do it — to see Maloney’s amendment defeated?

Well, the House has approved Maloney’s measure as an amendment to an Energy Department appropriations bill. The vote was 223-195 late Wednesday night. Forty-three Republicans joined all voting Democrats to support the amendment. According to The Hill:

Republicans were more prepared this time for Maloney’s amendment since it was clear ahead of time that it would come up for a vote. Last week’s vote, meanwhile, came with little warning, which resulted in GOP leaders partaking in the last-minute arm-twisting.

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) offered a counter-amendment so that Maloney’s proposal would be modified by stating that no funds could be used in contravention of the LGBT executive order except as “required by the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and Article I of the Constitution.”

“Does anyone in this chamber seriously oppose Article I of the constitution, the First Amendment, or the 14th Amendment?” Pitts asked.

Maloney allowed Pitts’s amendment to pass by voice vote, saying that he had no objection to simply stating adherence to the Constitution.

“What do you say we abide by the whole Constitution? The part that tries to make it more progressive, more inclusive of people like me, of people of color, of women, of people who were shut out when it was written. How about we include the whole Constitution? Can we do that?” Maloney said.

All seven Republicans who switched their vote last week wound up voting for Maloney’s amendment.

Earlier that evening, the House approved an amendment from Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) which prohibits the Obama administration from revoking Title IX funds previously appropriated for North Carolina over the state’s anti-trans bathroom bill.

The whole bill goes before the House on Thursday, and will need to be reconciled with the Senate version which does not include Maloney’s amendment.

OK Lawmakers Make Last-Minute Effort Move Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill

Jim Burroway

May 25th, 2016

With a 10-10 tie vote, an Oklahoma House Committee last night failed to move SB-1619, a bill requiring school districts to provide separate bathrooms for students who object to sharing bathrooms with transgender students. With a tie vote, the bill stays in the committee. It should be noted that the committee was recessed, and not adjourned, after the tie vote. The bill remains in committee, and could be heard again at any time during the legislative session, which ends at 5:00 p.m. on May 27. And with Oklahoma being Oklahoma, just about anything is still possible as long as the Legislature is still in session.

Last night’s quickly-called hearing by the House Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget came as a surprise to LGBT activists. Earlier that day, Freedom Oklahoma sent out a press release saying “Leadership in the State House of Representatives informed Freedom Oklahoma today that SB 1619 – a bill targeting transgender youth with segregated bathrooms – will not move forward this session. … Freedom Oklahoma will stay vigilant in making sure there are no more 11th hour attempts to harm LGBTQ Oklahomans and it is our hope that the grown ups are back in control under the dome at 23rd and Lincoln.”

Vigilance was warranted. No sooner had that statement gone out when Freedom Oklahoma sent out this tweet:

Details are scant, but it appears that SB-1619 was added to the agenda at the last minute as an emergency item. The committee, chaired by Rep. Earl Sears (R-Bartlesville) was in a marathon session moving bills to the House floor when suddenly Rep. Dan Fisher (R-Yukon) brought up SB 1619 for consideration:

According to tweets from JRLegislativeReport, Fisher pushed hard for the bill’s passage, citing the Obama Administrations recent guidance on Title IX funding stating that issues of transgender discrimination fall under the Title’s gender equality provisions. After what appears to have been a contentious back-and-forth, Sears called for a recess:

It’s unclear what happened during that recess, but about an hour after the committee resumed its work, it deadlocked, with Sears join the “nays.”  Vice Chair Dennis Casey (R-Morrison) and Reps. Leslie Osborn (R-Mustang) and Harold Wright (R-Weatherford) also joined the committee’s Democrats to block the measure. The Associated Press reported, “In a letter to lawmakers Monday, the presidents of both the Tulsa Regional Chamber and Greater Oklahoma City Chamber warned of ‘severe economic damage’ that could result from the measure.”

Rep Fisher, who is a pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Yukon, made waves last year when he proposed a bill targeting Advanced Placement U.S. History courses in Oklahoma. “There seems to be a very clear leaning in the new framework to communicate that America is just not a good place. We’re exploiters. We’re abusers. We put down the poor. The rich rule. All those kinds of things,” said Fisher. But after it was pointed out that not just anybody can create an college Advanced Placement course and expect universities to accept them for course credit, the bill failed to make it to the House floor.

Charlotte Pulls “Compromise” With State Over HB2

Jim Burroway

May 24th, 2016

Yesterday, the city of Charlotte was scheduled to vote on a proposed repeal of the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. The ordinance had already been overruled by North Carolina’s HB2, which not only overturned local anti discrimination ordinances across the state, but added a highly controversial provision requiring that trans persons use public restrooms that matches their birth certificate. The state legislature and governor did all of that in exactly one day. Contrary to statements by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) and other anti-LGBT extremists, the Charlotte ordinance did not address public restroom usage. In a potential compromise, the city would repeal its anti-discrimination ordinance and the legislature would “modify” some parts of HB2. I haven’t found any description of what those modifications were supposed to be.

But just before Charlotte’s city council was scheduled to meet yesterday, the Council released a statement saying the vote would not be on the agenda. The local Chamber of Congress had been pressing for the “compromise”:

The Charlotte Chamber declined to comment Sunday on the HRC criticism. But in an op-ed posted Sunday, Chamber President Bob Morgan said the City Council “should act to take the first step in a process we hope leads to reforms to HB2 that advance our city and state as places where discrimination is not tolerated – for anyone.” He said the council should take that step in response to “an overture” by the legislature.

The chamber says it opposes discrimination in any form but has not taken a position on HB2, unlike some other business groups in the state, which have asked for a repeal of the state law.

The chamber has previously lobbied city officials to be more conciliatory toward Raleigh leaders in their public statements. But the group upset some in the city when it issued a statement praising Gov. Pat McCrory’s executive order in early April that was an attempt to defuse the controversy over HB2.

Council members believe there are six votes for the symbolic repeal: Republicans Ed Driggs and Kenny Smith, and Democrats Greg Phipps, Claire Fallon, Vi Lyles and James Mitchell. (Lyles and Mitchel supported the ordinance in February; the others opposed it.) Those six votes would have been enough to pass the repeal, but not enough to sustain Mayor Jennifer Roberts’s veto. Later in the meeting, Republican council member Kenny Smith proposed a resolution to place the ordinance’s repeal on the agenda for Wednesday. That resolution failed 7-4.

The HRC sent a letter to the Council urging them not to compromise: “This moment in which we find ourselves is quickly defining the type of nation we are destined to be. Today, you are standing on the right side of history.”


Target CEO: Boycotts Having “No Material or Measurable Impact”

Jim Burroway

May 21st, 2016

Ever since Target announced their policy of allowing transgender customers and staff to use the bathroom that most closely matches their gender identity, the big-box chain has been the target, so to speak, of yet another American Family Association boycott, as well as a regular parade of nutjobs trolling some of its stores. The AFA has claimed success with their boycott, and Brietbart even went so far as to claim that the boycott directly led to lost sales and cheered what it called Target’s “$10 billion stock crash.”

But on Wednesday, Target CEO Brian Cornell told Fortune that while the chain is set for a disappointing set of first quarter results — due to weather and skittish consumers over economic concerns — the anti-trans boycott is not having “a material or measurable impact on our business“:

He did allow that just a few stores had some some protests and took a bit of a hit sales wise, but on the whole, the 1,800-store retailer didn’t feel anything.

“To date we have not seen a material or measurable impact on our business. just a handful of stores across the country have seen some activity and have been impacted ,” he added.

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In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.