Human Rights Campaign Announces First Slate of Pro-Equality Champions for Arizona Legislature

Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, announced its endorsement of four pro-equality candidates in the Arizona State Legislature. 

Arizona is one of 29 states that lack explicit state-level protections for all LGBTQ people. Of the four endorsed candidates, three are people of color and two identify as LGBTQ. 

“Right now, over 240,000 LGBTQ Arizonans live in a patchwork of protections,” said HRC Arizona State Director Bridget Sharpe. “Driving from Yuma to Flagstaff, an LGBTQ person would have different rights in every town, city or county they drove through. That must change, and while the Bostock ruling has provided some workplace protections, LGBTQ Arizonans are still at risk of discrimination in a variety of areas including seeking basic services offered to the public, such as transportation and retail services. In the coming weeks, HRC will mobilize the over one million Equality Voters across the state to ensure we have the strongest slate of pro-equality candidates to elect in November as possible.”

Today’s endorsements include:

  • Felicia French (SD-06)

  • Rep. Daniel Hernandez III (HD-02)

  • Coral Evans (HD-06)

  • Rep. Cesar Chavez (HD-29)

In the closing weeks of the 2018 election, HRC had 18 staff on the ground organizing Equality Voters in  Arizona. In the midterm elections, HRC members and supporters completed over 1,149 volunteer shifts. In the final four days of GOTV alone, our staff and volunteers knocked on over 13,625 doors. HRC hosted over 130 volunteer events and six Equality Action Academy trainings to give HRC members and supporters the tools they need to take action locally in legislative advocacy and in support of pro-equality candidates. In 2018, HRC’s unprecedented grassroots mobilization worked to recruit volunteers, mobilize constituents, register voters and grow the organization’s grassroots army in an all-out effort to pull the emergency brake on the hateful anti-LGBTQ agenda of the Trump-Pence administration and elect a Congress that would hold them accountable. In 2020, our engagement and mobilization efforts will only deepen. HRC will have at least 45 full-time staff in seven priority states (AZ, MI, NV, OH, PA, TX, and WI) and an additional 20 staff focused on a second tier of states and districts.

Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC (www.hrc.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

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100 Days Out: Trump v. Biden on LGBTQ Equality in Health Care

Over the coming days, HRC will be highlighting the key attacks from the Trump-Pence administration and the commitments from the Biden administration to undo those attacks and build a better future for LGBTQ people. These are Trump’s attacks on and Biden’s record and plans for LGBTQ equality in health care:

TRUMP’S ATTACKS

  1. Undermine Section 1557 of the ACA: HHS published a major change to the administrative rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to remove explicit protections for LGBTQ people in healthcare programs and activities, undermining protections for  LGBTQ people from discrimination based on sex stereotyping and gender identity.
  2. Advocated for the elimination of the entire Affordable Care Act: The Justice Department issued a legal filing arguing that the entirety of the Affordable Care Act should be overturned. This move would have jeopardized health care for over 130 million people with preexisting conditions like HIV and eliminate non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
  3. Created a Religious Discrimination Division: HHS created a new office whose sole purpose would be to defend physicians and other medical professionals who decide to refuse care, including to LGBTQ patients.
  4. Proposed cutting over $1.35 billion from PEPFAR budget: In his proposed FY 2019 budget, Trump cut $1.35 billion from or 29% of PEPFAR’s budget. PEPFAR is the U.S. government program that fights AIDS abroad.
  5. Issued a “conscience rule”: Trump’s HHS Department issued rules designed to allow health care providers to refuse to treat a patient on religious or moral grounds, significantly impacting LGBTQ people who still deal with widespread discrimination in health care.
  6. Fired the HIV/AIDS Advisory Council: Trump fired the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS after half a dozen members resigned in protest to the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine LGBTQ people’s access to health care.

BIDEN’S RECORD AND PLANS 

  1. Promised to overturn Trump’s decimation of the ACA Section 1557 regulation: Biden has committed to restoring the regulation implementing section 1557 of the ACA to ensure protections for LGBTQ people from discrimination by health care and insurance providers. The Trump-Pence administration has radically revised the rule, encouraging health care providers to refuse service and discriminate against LGBTQ patients.
  2. Promised to ensure HIV medication and testing is covered by health insurance: Biden has dedicated his administration to fighting price gouging for HIV prevention medication like PrEP and treatments like PEP. He has also committed to federal health plans to provide coverage for these life-saving medications.
  3. Committed to update and implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy: Biden has committed to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2025 and will update the nation’s comprehensive strategy to aggressively reduce new HIV cases and increasing access to treatment.
  4. Fight for truly science-based FDA blood donor regulations: Biden has committed to working with the FDA to implement blood donor rules that are based in science and risk factors rather than identity.
  5. Restore funding to Planned Parenthood: Planned Parenthood provides critical health care to millions of LGBTQ people across the country. Biden has committed to protecting Planned Parenthood and restoring funding to the critical health care they provide.

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Human Rights Campaign Designates Juneteenth as an Organizational Holiday

Today, the Human Rights Campaign announced the establishment of Juneteenth as an organizational holiday. 

“Juneteenth is the culmination of countless seen and unseen efforts by enslaved peoples and abolitionists. It is a clarion call that we still hear today, a call that we have been pressed to answer thanks to the millions of people who are advocating for racial justice at Black Lives Matter protests, and in less visible ways,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Every Juneteenth from this year moving forward, employees at the Human Rights Campaign will have the opportunity to reflect on our shared journey, and how we can  further racial equity, individually, organizationally and globally. None of us is free unless all of us are free, a truth made clear by the very fact that it took more than two years for news of emancipation to reach enslaved people in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. With this designation, we proudly and publicly recommit to continue working on behalf of all marginalized people for full equality.”

The decision to make Juneteenth an organizational holiday is one more articulation of the vision and commitment that David made to make racial equity a cornerstone of HRC’s work when he joined the organization in August 2019 which includes adopting racial equity and inclusion principles for the staff, volunteer leadership and boards; launching a transgender justice initiative; launching an initiative to address voter suppression efforts that further marginalize minority communities at the ballot box; and expanding the scope of the organization’s work with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Juneteenth is the annual commemoration emancipation and the end of slavery that has been celebrated in the United States since June 19, 1865. It is often celebrated by organizing politically to strengthen civil rights for Black people in America. 

Earlier this month, the Human Rights Campaign organized a letter, joined by prominent LGBTQ and civil rights organizations, condemning racism, racial violence and police brutality while calling for action to combat these scourges. The letter is now signed by 800+ leaders of the nation’s most prominent LGBTQ and civil rights organizations.

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Martha McSally Haunted by Decision to Strip Life-Saving Health Care Coverage from Americans

HRC marks the three year anniversary of Senator Martha McSally voting for the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017 in the U.S. House, which would have gutted protections for the 2.8 millions Arizonans living with asthma, cancer, diabetes and other pre-existing conditions. 

According to the Arizona Republic, Senator Martha McSally’s campaign is running a new ad that features a former staffer without disclosing their previous relationship or that the former paid staffer in 2014 “helped defend McSally’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act and roll its coverage protections back.” 

“On the anniversary of her vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, we remember how Martha McSally dangerously voted to strip ten million Americans and 2.8 million Arizonans of life-saving health care coverage,” said HRC Arizona State Director Bridget Sharpe. “McSally’s vote would have negatively impacted communities already facing discrimination and health care disparities, including the LGBTQ community. Millions of Arizonans with pre-existing conditions will not forget how McSally has failed them over and again in Washington. McSally can run but she cannot hide from her record on health care.”

As a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), thousands of low-income people living with HIV have been able to obtain health insurance through the Medicaid expansion. This critical coverage ensures that people living with HIV have access to lifesaving treatments. The AHCA’s drastic changes to Medicaid would have likely stripped these people, and other vulnerable populations, of essential healthcare coverage.

McSally’s pattern of not standing up for Arizonans and their health care is especially troublesome as America deals with the COVD-19 pandemic. In 2017, McSally voted to slash $1 billion in funds for the CDC’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, including hundreds of millions set aside “for detecting and responding to infectious diseases and other public health threats.” McSally has refused to speak out against the Trump Administration’s  ongoing attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, saying, “it’s not my role” to get involved. McSally has also been caught lying about her attempts to take health care away from millions of Americans and “crowing about a ventilator deal that’s less than it appears.”

HRC recently published a research brief outlining the particular health and economic risks faced by the LGBTQ community during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Many in the LGBTQ community are uniquely vulnerable, as they are more likely to work jobs in highly affected industries, often with more exposure and/or higher economic sensitivity to the COVID-19 crisis, are less likely to have health coverage and are more likely to smoke and have chronic illnesses like asthma. Read the full brief here.

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