Indiana Lost $60M After Passing Anti-Gay Law Last Year, Doesn’t Stop Them From Proposing New Ones This Year

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law Impacted The State

+ A new study by Visit Indy, a tourism organization in Indianapolis, found the state may have lost up to $60 million in hotel profits, tax revenue and other economic benefits. The tourism group surveyed 12 out-of-state conventions and found they all decided against hosting their conventions in the state specifically because of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allowed discrimination against LGBT people on religious grounds.

“The evidence of the disastrous consequences from Gov. Pence’s discriminatory RFRA flight last year is undeniable,” JoDee Winterhof, the senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “Despite the profound economic damage they inflicted on the state last year, anti-LGBT lawmakers are so vehemently opposed to eequality that they are pushing for an even more catastrophic ‘Super RFRA’ this year.”

The “Super RFRA” will be debated tomorrow in the Senate Judiciary Committee along with five other pieces of anti-gay legislation. While Gov. Mike Pence tried to fix the state law after a national outcry and clarified the legislation couldn’t be used to opt out of nondiscrimination protections, the new bill would allow anti-LGBT businesses to turn away LGBT customers.

Law & Order

+ David Fowler, head of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, filed a lawsuit to challenge how Tennessee is affected by the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage. He, along with several other ministers, asked Williamson County Clerk Elaine Anderson to stop issuing all marriage licenses until their lawsuit is settled. And to make matters embarrassingly worse, State Rep. Susan Lynn, along with 16 other Republican cosponsers, filed a resolution in the House to support the lawsuit. “I have dozens of sponsors, and the message of my resolution is clear,” she said. “We as a state have been violated, and we expect the doctrine of separation of powers and the principles of federalism reflected in our Constitution to be upheld.”

+ In super great news, a grand jury in Texas indicted two anti-abortion activists who shot undercover videos of Planned Parenthood that ignited a firestorm of anti-choice legislation and propaganda against the organization for allegedly making a profit off of selling fetus tissue. The grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing. David Daleiden, president of The Center for Medical Progress, and Sandra Merritt, the founder and CEO of BioMax were indicted for “tampering with a governmental record,” a second degree felony. Daleiden was also indicted for “prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs,” a Class A misdemeanor.

Police & Prison

+ President Obama announced a series of executive actions banning solitary confinement for juveniles in the federal prison system and as punishment for prisoners who commit “low-level infractions.” The new rules also state that the longest a prisoner can be punished with solitary confinement for their first offense is up to 60 days and not a whole year like it is currently.

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Protestors carrying a photo of Anthony Hill CREDIT: AP PHOTO/DAVID GOLDMAN

+ Air Force veteran Anthony Hill was naked and unarmed when DeKalb County police officer Robert Olsen shot and killed him near his apartment outside of Atlanta. A grand jury indicted Olsen on six counts including murder. 27-year-old Hill was experiencing a breakdown after he stopped taking his medication to treat bipolar disorder and PTSD. Think Progress reports:

According to a Washington Post investigation, Hill was one of more than 120 people with mental illness killed by police in 2015, making up a quarter of all people shot and killed by law enforcement last year. As with Hill, officers in most cases were not responding to someone reporting a crime, but rather a relative, neighbor, or bystanders calling for help dealing with a mentally fragile person behaving erratically.
One of the many banners supporters held outside the courthouse on Thursday read, “Mental illness is not a crime.”

Undocumented Immigrants

+ As many as 1,000 undocumented immigrants living in Flint aren’t getting the help they need during this water crisis because they’re too scared to go to water distribution centers because they don’t have proper identification.

+ Musicians/singers Juanes and John Legend performed outside an Arizona detention center for activists and detainee’s families after touring the jail, in an effort to draw attention to immigration and mass incarceration.

+ Latino Rebels launched their #MIGRAMAP to help track ICE raids across the country. “The collaborative project aims to gather data from and for our community’s needs and will capture the official and unofficial national story of these ICE raids. This will give everyone the opportunity to fight for undocumented people in their local community.”

International News

+ As one of his last acts in office, Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva vetoed legislation allowing same-sex couples to adopt children. He said the issue should be subjected to a public debate since it’s a “sensitive social topic.” Cavaco Silva’s term is up on March 9 and will be turned over to Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

+ Four people were killed in a school shooting in a small town in Canada on Friday. An unidentified male was taken into police custody. The shooting happened at La Lonche Community School in northern Saskatchewan, which has about 900 students ranging in age from kindergarteners to high school seniors.

+ J-FLAG, a Jamaican LGBT organization, surveyed a few hundred queer people from the island and found that 75 percent of respondents have considered emigrating from Jamaica, a country with strict laws against LGBT people. Many of the respondents also experienced widespread harassment and discrimination but didn’t report it to the police because they thought the police would take no action, the incident was minor, or they feared a homophobic or transphobic response from authorities. They found 71 percent of gay men, 59 percent of lesbians, 35 percent of bisexuals, and 29 of trans people said they were harassed or faced discrimination.

+Orashia Edwards, a bisexual man from Jamaica was finally granted refugee status and can stay in the UK after fighting for three years. 

Sports!

+ Trans athletes don’t have to get bottom surgery to compete in sports in accordance with their gender under new guidelines that will be adopted by the International Olympic Committee, according to OutSports. The IOC hasn’t officially announced the guidelines but OutSports reports the IOC met in November and will most likely adopt the new rules before this summer’s Olympics. “To require surgical anatomical changes as a pre-condition to participation is not necessary to preserve fair competition and may be inconsistent with developing legislation and notions of human rights,” the guidelines state. According to the new guidelines, a trans woman would be able to participate in women’s events one year after hormone therapy instead of having to get bottom surgery and be on hormone therapy for two years as the rules are now.

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+ The Edmonton Oilers of the Canadian National Hockey League wrapped their sticks in Pride Tape to show their support LGBT inclusivity and diversity.

Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.

9 Comments

  1. I’m sorry, but why do you need to have proper identification to get bottled water and water filters? The Snyder’s government is worried that the people of Flint will sell the free bottled water and filters? Is there some kind of black market for that?

    • Our president is an idiot, I don’t know how he got re-elected back in 2011…
      When he passed the same-sex marriage bill he said he wouldn’t veto it, even though it was what he wanted to do, because “the country had better things to think about” and basically he knew if he did do it, it would come back to him and he’d have to approve anyway. So it wasn’t out of his belief that it should be legalized, he just didn’t want to think about it anymore.

      But no one likes him, at least in the younger age groups!
      And don’t worry, we will get this bill passed

    • Unclear. There was a previous court ruling that allowed intersex athletes (afab) to continue to compete as woman, but from what I’ve read on this new IOC decision they are looking to overturn that for any intersex athlete who don’t meet the new testosterone level requirements, but they would be allowed to compete in the men’s events if ineligible for the woman’s.

  2. In good news regarding the Portugal news: The president has actually very little power. After he vetoes a law, it goes back into parliament for adjustments, BUT, if the parliament decides there needs to be no adjustment and approves it again with at least 2/3 votes, it goes back to the president and he is obliged to accept it.

    So, the parliament knows that Cavaco Silva is actually just a bigotred homophobic idiot and is therefore going to approve the bill again asap (so that it still goes to Cavaco Silva and not his successor) just to make him sign it! (His successor has already said he has no problems with this bill, so if they don’t make it, it will end up being approved anyway!)

    Adoption is coming to Portugal!!

  3. More exciting news about trans people in sports: “Winning a spot on Team USA in the men’s sprint duathlon Saturday, Chris Mosier has become the first known out trans athlete to join a U.S. national team that matches his gender identity, rather than the gender assigned him at birth.”

    Usually the (so-called) debate is framed as trans women coming in and beating all the cis women. No one really talks about trans men, and if they do, it’s to assume they won’t do well. But here’s a trans man who was top-ranked in the women’s field, gave that all up with no certainty about what would happen when he transitioned, and then beat everyone anyways. I’m so impressed!

    Link: http://www.advocate.com/sports/2015/06/08/triathlete-chris-mosier-joins-men-team-usa-making-transgender-sports-history

    • This is so awesome; can’t wait to see him compete at the Olympics WOO!

      It’s great that the IOC is finally on board with the NCAA regulations that surgery is not a requirement to compete as a trans athlete. I’m really glad the regulations are going with the info from the science and the trans communities to update these policies.

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