Americans for Marriage Equality

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Welcome to A.M. Equality - March 27, 2015


@HILLARYCLINTON CRITICIZES GOV MIKE PENCE FOR SIGNING INDIANA DISCRIMINATION BILL: Last night, Hillary Clinton took to Twitter to criticize Indiana’s new “religious freedom” legislation, signed into law by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence: “Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn't discriminate against ppl bc of who they love #LGBT” The Indiana law - broad and vague by design - allows any person to discriminate against LGBT citizens if they feel it is against their religion. Gov. Pence pledged the law was not designed to discriminate, but major businesses are already vowing not to hold conferences and conventions in Indiana so long as LGBT employees might face discrimination there.

GOP SENATORS SPLIT ON MARRIAGE BENEFITS: Political expediency cut both ways on Thursday evening for GOP senators. During a marathon series of budget amendment votes, some of the Senate's most senior Republican members found themselves divided on granting Veteran's Affairs and Social Security benefits to married same-sex couples. Eleven GOP senators, many of whom face competitive re-election fights in 2016, supported the amendment offered by Democrat Brian Schatz: Sen. Rob Portman (OH), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (NH), Sen. Richard Burr (NC), Sen. Ron Johnson (WI), Sen. Mark Kirk (IL), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK) were among the co-signers. Each of the GOP Senators expected to announce presidential bids in 2016 - Marco Rubio (FL), Rand Paul (KY), Ted Cruz (TX), and Lindsey Graham (SC) - voted against granting benefits. The amendment passed 57–43.

#BOYCOTTINDIANA GAINS STEAM: After Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law the discriminatory “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” yesterday -- which will allow businesses to deny service to same-sex couples on religious grounds -- a social media campaign was born, in which many celebrities, prominent companies, and organizations began to tweet that they would #BoycottIndiana. The hashtag originated from a tweet by George Takei, and has quickly gained popularity on Twitter, where it remains a trending topic. Many companies -- led by the CEO of Salesforce who announced that he would cancel all programs in the state of Indiana -- have pledged to not conduct business in the state while this law remains on the books, showing Gov. Pence that anti-LGBT sentiment will cost the state millions in revenue. A few of the many, many prominent LGBT-rights supporters voicing their opposition to the law are Andy Cohen, Dustin Lance Black, Cleve Jones, Kathy Griffin, Larry King, Ashton Kutcher, and Christine Quinn. More here:

NCAA “RE-EVALUATING” RELATIONSHIP WITH INDIANA: As #BoycottIndiana continues to grow on Twitter, the NCAA has announced that it will be re-evaluating its relationship with the state of Indiana. The organization, which organizes the athletics for many colleges and universities in the U.S., including football and basketball -- is currently hosting several March Madness games in the city of Indianapolis. NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement, “The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events.  We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees.  We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill. Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”

NFL REMAINS MUM: The National Football League, on the other hand, has yet to comment on the Indiana law, even after the NCAA has spoken out. When Arizona was on the precipice of passing a similar law last year, the league voiced its concern about the impact it would have on sporting events in the state, especially as the Super Bowl was set to be hosted in Glendale, Arizona this year. Notably, even as the Indiana law has passed, the NFL has been silent, even though it hosts a major franchise -- the Indianapolis Colts-- in the state. More here:

FLASHBACK FRIDAY -- CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS ON LOVING V. VIRGINIA: CAC Vice President Judith Schaeffer looks back at a long forgotten portion of Chief Justice John Roberts’ confirmation hearing, in which he discusses the proper context for the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia with everyone’s favorite veep, Joe Biden. In the exchange, Roberts uses the Loving decision to demonstrate a legal point -- but simultaneously makes the case that basing a legal decision on “tradition,” “runs head-on into Loving,” which 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner has separately pointed out. More on Roberts’ comments here:

VICTORY FUND ANNOUNCES AISHA MOODIE-MILLS AS NEW PRESIDENT AND CEO: The LGBT-rights group the Victory Fund and Institute has announced that Aisha Moodie-Mills, formerly of the Center for American Progress, will lead the organization as its new president and CEO. This is an historic announcement for the Victory Fund, as Moodie-Mills will be its first black, female, lesbian leader. Moodie-Mills was an instrumental leader in bringing marriage equality to Washington, D.C., and she hopes to bring her activism to the Victory Fund to help encourage more members of the LGBT community -- especially transgender people -- to run for office. More here:


-FEDERAL JUDGE BLOCKS FAMILY & MEDICAL LEAVE ACT IN FOUR STATES: Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Conner issued a ruling blocking FMLA coverage for same-sex couples from taking effect in four states - Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Nebraska - where same-sex marriage is banned. The lawsuit was brought by Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is deeply entrenched in his own personal war against LGBT people. In his decision, O'Connor wrote that if the new FMLA rule was allowed to take effect, "irreparable injury would occur." HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow issued a statement on behalf of the organization responding to the decision, saying that “no legally married same-sex couple should be denied family leave simply because they happen to live in a state that fails to respect their marriage.” More here:

-FLORIDA REPUBLICANS: NO NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF GAY MARRIAGE: A new poll released yesterday by Public Policy Polling found that 81% of Florida Republicans say that there has been no impact or only positive impact on their lives since granted in the state in February. We’re thrilled for the Sunshine State!


-IRISH GOVERNMENT SAYS NO RELIGIOUS OPT-OUT IN MARRIAGE LAW: As the Irish prepare to vote on a referendum on marriage equality on May 22nd, Labour leader Joan Burton has said that the wording of the referendum will not include a “religious opt-out” clause, similar to what politicians in the United States have pushed to soften the blow of full marriage equality. More here:

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