Notes from the LGBTQ Rights Committee - Shore Area NOW

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Shore Area NOW LBGTQ Rights Committee met on Friday, February 9, 2018 at 6:00pm in Eatontown, NJ. In attendance were: Lynn Hansen, Aimee Rabino, Pam Smith, Abbie Spector and Jill Stack.

The Committee discussed the boos, coups and wait and sees since the last meeting:

·       Boos

o   In February, the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted at its winter meeting to support Trump's demand that military recruitment policy consider being transgender as a "disqualifying psychological and physical" condition.

o   On January 19th, the Department of Health & Human Services Office of Civil Rights issued a rule, "Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority," one day after announcing the creation of the "Conscience and Religious Freedom" unit. The proposed rule doesn't just protect health care institutions and medical providers who refuse care on religious grounds, it shields anyone who claims a "moral" objection too.

o   In January, there were 23 abysmal federal judicial court nominees that the senate is trying to railroad through. All anti-civil rights and LGBTQ rights.

o   On December 27th, President Trump fired off the remaining members of the HIV/AIDS advisory council. The members were fired without warning and via letters sent through FedEx.

o   On December 20th, the Trump Administration ordered that certain words will be banned at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These words include: “vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based and science-based.”

·       Coups

o   On January 26th, the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a $700,000 jury award for Lori Franchina, a lesbian firefighter who experienced extensive unchecked harassment from her co-workers at the Providence Fire Department.

o   On December 28th, the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the $135,000 fine against Sweetcakes by Melissa, an Oregon bakery that refused to bake a wedding cake for Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer, a lesbian couple.

o   Phil Murphy was elected in November as Governor of NJ.

o   The 14th Annual Gay Straight Alliance Forum took place on November 18th at Montgomery High School in Montgomery Township.

o   On November 12, 2017, CA is the first state to approve LGBT-Inclusive History Books for K-8 Schools.

·       Wait and Sees

o   Supreme Court Justices to hear case on religious objections to same sex marriage in 2018.

o   On January 25th, Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN  asked the US District Court for the Western District of Washington to permanently block enforcement of the Trump Administration’s plan to ban transgender people from serving openly in the U.S. Armed Services.

Lynn announced the following upcoming event:

·       Saturday, February 24th – Talent Show at the PRIDE Center

Jill shared that there was no new state legislation that was introduced on LGBTQ issues since the last time we met. We think this is because our meetings fell between legislative sessions and not much new work was going on due to the election, etc.

The LGBTQ Committee discussed the actions that were taken since our last meeting in October on the two bills that are our project:

·       S1405/A2739 – “Requires boards of education to include instruction, and adopt instructional materials that accurately portray political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and Transgender people.”

·       AJR94 – “Supports US Senator Cory Booker’s efforts to persuade Federal Trade Commission to prohibit practice of sexual orientation change efforts.”

In a nutshell:

·       We threw all our effort behind S1405 writing multiple times to the Senate Education Committee and Senate Leadership and it died in Committee. It was not carried into 2018.

·       We threw all our effort behind AJR94 writing to the Assembly Human Services Committee and the Assembly Leadership and it died in Committee. It was not carried into 2018.

·       We threw no effort behind A2739 with the Assembly Education Committee and it got carried forward 2018 and re-filed with a new number A1335.

The following actions surrounding pushing our cause forward ensued:

·       A1335 - We all communicate with the Assembly Education Committee Leadership, the Assembly Leadership and our Assembly Representatives asking them to bring A1335 for discussion. Abbie will communicate under Shore Area NOW letterhead and the rest via postcards. We prepared the postcards at the meeting.

·       S1405 - Abbie, under Shore Area NOW Letterhead, will press the Senate Leadership and Senate Education Committee Chair asking why was it not carried forward and renumbered and we feel it is important they revive it.

·       AJR94 - We will forget about it. There is an all new cast of characters on the Assembly Human Services Committee and the Assembly Leadership. We should focus efforts on the Federal Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act.

Aimee reported that there has been no additional action on LGBTQ inclusive education by Garden State Equality outside their normal program.

Jill reported on Federal Bill HR2119 (Lieu): Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act. It was introduced in the House of Representatives on April 25, 2017 and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce who then referred it to the Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection on April 28, 2017. The bill is still sitting there. Jill identified:

·       Frank Pallone as an Ex-Officio Member of the Subcommittee.

·       Leonard Lance (Republican - NJ) as a Member of the Subcommittee. Leonard will not be running for re-election in November so he is a lame duck.

·       Robert Latta (Republican - OH) is the Chair of the Subcommittee.

·       Greg Harper (Republican - MS) is the Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee.

It appeared that the subcommittee membership was in flux and the group decided that it may settle down after the primaries in March. As such, the group decided to revisit HR2119 at our April Meeting.

Abbie presented design ideas for the Shore Area NOW LGBTQ Rights Committee shirts and the group selected one.

Our next meeting will be on Friday, April 13, 2018 at 6:00pm in Eatontown. A key topic will be Pride Festival Tabling on Sunday, June 3rd.

Submitted by: Lynn Hansen