Equality Matters - Fact Check http://equalitymatters.org This link is for use by RSS-enabled software to retrieve the latest items from Equality Matters en-US Copyright 2014, Media Matters for America 15 Experts Debunk Right-Wing Transgender Bathroom Myth http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201403200001 Experts in 12 states -- including law enforcement officials, government employees, and advocates for victims of sexual assault -- have debunked the right-wing myth that sexual predators will exploit transgender non-discrimination laws to sneak into women's restrooms, calling the myth baseless and "beyond specious."

Media Outlets Have Promoted Myths About Sexual Assault To Attack Transgender Non-Discrimination Laws

Media Outlets Have Promoted "Urban Myth" About Restroom Sexual Assault In Trans-Inclusive Jurisdictions. According to Gay Star News' Jane Fae, transphobic bathroom myths have been promoted by news outlets that fail to fact-check unsubstantiated stories about alleged sexual assaults:

Have you heard the one about the trans woman who went into a female changing room and exposed herself to all and sundry?

No: that's not joke, so much as persistent urban myth. However, thanks to an unhappy combination of reactionary and transphobic groups in the United States, and newspapers with a less than whole-hearted commitment to fact-checking, this is one trope that looks set to run and run.

[...]

Early opposition, primarily from religious groups in bizarre alliance with some radical feminists, led to the circulation of scary video clips: one depicted the supposed nightmare scenario of a young girl entering a toilet, to be followed moments later by a mustachioed man in a dress. Since, however, this was mostly preaching to the converted, the campaign appears to have gone mainstream, with an increasingly regular drip-feed of stories of the kind highlighted above.

The transphobic tendency is often aided and abetted by journalists who don't check the stories. [Gay Star News, 1/9/14]

DC Trans Coalition: Conservatives Use "Bathroom Panic" To Defeat Transgender Non-Discrimination Laws. According to the DC Trans Coalition:

All over the world, anti-trans bigots try to convince the public that trans people are somehow a "threat" in public bathrooms. We've seen it in New Hampshire, in Gainesville, Fl and close to home in Montgomery County, Md: Our opponents stereotype trans people as sexual predators and try to use "bathroom panic" to defeat legislation that would protect our ability to gain employment and live safe lives. [DC Trans Coalition, accessed 3/18/14]  

Fox News Has Promoted Harassment Fears About Transgender Access To Restrooms. Fox News has repeatedly invoked fears of sexual assault and misbehavior in restrooms to attack equal access to public accommodations for transgender people, including a fake story about a transgender student harassing females in her school's restroom. [Equality Matters6/5/132/27/138/14/1310/15/13]

Conservative Media Outlets Have Promoted Bogus Bathroom Stories. Numerous conservative media outlets, including The Daily Caller, WND, and the Media Research Center, have similarly promoted the myth that sexual predators will exploit trans-inclusive restrooms to prey upon women. [Equality Matters8/19/138/22/132/3/14]

Experts From 12 States Debunk, Condemn Transgender Bathroom Myth

Colorado

State Law Has Prohibited Discrimination In Public Accommodations Since 2008. In 2008, Colorado expanded its Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, to include sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected class. [The Denver Post5/29/08]

Coalition Against Sexual Assault: Opponents Of Protections Are Creating "Unsubstantiated Fear." Alexa M. Priddy, director of training and communications at the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, reported no problems as a result of her state's non-discrimination law. In an email to Equality Matters, she wrote:

Denying equal rights is yet another form of discrimination against transgender individuals, which is pervasive within our society and institutions. Such criticisms of this law and ads [that] invoke what we see as "trans panic," an attempt to create fear of transgender people and a false label of trans individuals as sexual predators.

CCASA would love to see the real focus be on the realities that transgender people are far too often targeted for sexual violence, and if they seek support through victim services or the criminal justice system in the aftermath, they often face continued discrimination from the very people who are there to help. Sexual assault is already an under-reported crime, and we see this increase with marginalized communities. We want to focus on creating safety for transgender survivors and not on creating unsubstantiated fear. [Email exchange, 3/8/14]

Connecticut

State Law Has Prohibited Discrimination In Public Accommodations Since 2011. In 2011, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed into law legislation prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations based on gender identity or expression. [Bay Windows7/6/11]

State Commission On Human Rights: "Unaware Of Any Sexual Assault." In an email to Equality Matters, Jim O'Neill, legislative liaison and spokesman for the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights in Opportunities, reported no problems as a result of the state's non-discrimination law:

I am unaware of any sexual assault as the result of the CT gender identity or expression law.  I'm pretty sure it would have come to our attention. [Email exchange, 3/6/14] 

Hawaii

State Law Has Prohibited Discrimination In Public Accommodations Since 2006. In 2006, Hawaii expanded its non-discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. [Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, accessed 3/12/14]

State Civil Rights Commission: Non-Discrimination Law "Has Not Resulted In Increase[d] Sexual Assault Or Rape."  William Hoshijo, executive director of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, told Equality Matters in an email:

In Hawai`i, the protection against discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sex, including gender identity or expression, has not resulted in increase sexual assault or rape in women's restrooms.  The HCRC is not aware of any incidents of sexual assault or rape causally related or attributed to the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. (In contrast to anecdotal reports of transgender students being harassed and bullied in school restrooms when forced to use an assigned restroom inconsistent with their gender identity.) [Email exchange, 3/6/14] 

Iowa

State Law Has Prohibited Discrimination In Public Accommodations Since 2007. In 2007, the Iowa Civil Rights Act was expanded to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations. [Iowa Civil Rights Commission, accessed 3/14/14]

Des Moines Police Department: "We Have Not Seen That."  In an interview with Equality Matters, Des Moines Police Department spokesman Jason Halifax stated that he hadn't seen cases of sexual assault related to the state's non-discrimination ordinance:

We have not seen that. I doubt that's gonna encourage the behavior. If the behavior's there, [sexual predators are] gonna behave as they're gonna behave no matter what the laws are. [Phone interview, 3/13/14] 

Maine

State Law Has Prohibited Discrimination In Public Accommodations Since 2005. In 2005, Maine adopted legislation prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. [GLAD, 2/25/14

State Human Rights Commission: "No Factual Basis" For Sexual Assault Fears. In an email to Equality Matters, Executive Director Amy Sneirson of the Maine Human Rights Commission said that the state's non-discrimination law hadn't led to increased sexual assault or rape:

I know that this concern persists but I personally have not seen any factual basis for it.

I am not aware of any increased sexual assault or rape in women's restrooms as a result of Maine's 2005 adoption of protections in the Maine Human Rights Act for sexual orientation (which, in Maine, includes "a person's actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality or gender identity or expression"). [Email exchange, 3/7/14] 

Massachusetts

Cambridge Has Prohibited Discrimination In Public Accommodations Since 1997. In 1997, the city of Cambridge expanded its non-discrimination ordinance to prohibit discrimination against transgender people in public accommodations. [National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, July 2008]

Cambridge Police Superintendent: "No Incidents" Of Transgender Protections Being Abused. Police Superintendent Christopher Burke told Equality Matters in an email:

Back in 1984 Cambridge enacted an ordinance that established the Human Rights Commission. The purpose of the ordinance was to protect the human rights of all citizens of the City. In 1997 this ordinance was amended to specifically include gender identity and expression. Much like the Transgender Equal Rights Bill proposal, the City of Cambridge sought to offer protection to transgender individuals from being harassed, fired from a job, denied access to a public place, or denied or evicted from housing. Since this 1997 amendment there have been no incidents or issues regarding persons abusing this ordinance or using them as a defense to commit crimes. Specifically, as was raised as a concern if the bill were to be passed, there have been no incidents of men dressing up as women to commit crimes in female bathrooms and using the city ordinance as a defense. [Email exchange, 3/7/14, emphasis added]

State Victims' Advocacy Group: Fears About Transgender Protections Are "Beyond Specious." Toni Troop, spokeswoman for the statewide sexual assault victims organization Jane Doe Inc., told Equality Matters in an email:

The argument that providing transgender rights will result in an increase of sexual violence against women or men in public bathrooms is beyond specious.  The only people at risk are the transgender men and women whose rights to self-determination, dignity and freedom of violence are too often denied.  We have not heard of any problems since the passage of the law in Massachusetts in 2011, nor do we expect this to be a problem.  While cases of stranger rape and sexual violence occur, sexual violence is most often perpetrated by someone known to the victim and not a stranger in the bush or the bathroom. [Email exchange, 3/7/14, emphasis added]

Minnesota

State Law Has Prohibited Discrimination In Public Accommodations Since 1993. In 1993, Minnesota amended its Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination against transgender people in public accommodations. [OutFront Minnesota, accessed 3/13/14]

Minneapolis Police Department: Fears About Sexual Assault "Not Even Remotely" A Problem. Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder told Equality Matters in an interview that sexual assaults stemming from Minnesota's 1993 transgender non-discrimination law have been "not even remotely" a problem. Based on his experience, the notion of men posing as transgender women to enter women's restrooms to commit sex crimes "sounds a little silly," Elder said. According to Elder, a police department inquiry found "nothing" in the way of such crimes in the city. [Phone interview, 3/11/14]

Nevada

State Law Has Prohibited Discrimination In Public Accommodations Since 2011. In 2011, Nevada enacted three transgender non-discrimination laws, including a law explicitly prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations. [National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 6/2/11]

Las Vegas Police Department: No Problems Since Passage Of Non-Discrimination Law. Asked whether Nevada's 2011 gender identity law had fueled a rise in sex crimes, Las Vegas Police Department spokesman Jesse Roybal told Equality Matters, "the answer would be no." After the department's lieutenant for sexual assault ran a check of crimes since 2011, Roybal told Equality Matters that the department had not "had any incidents involving transgender suspects." [Phone interview, 3/6/14, 3/11/14]

New Mexico

State Law Has Prohibited Discrimination In Public Accommodations Since 2003. In 2003, New Mexico amended its Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations. [The Williams Institute, September 2009]

Albuquerque Police Department: "Unaware Of Any Cases Of Assault" Due To Non-Discrimination Law. Officer Tasia Martinez, Public Information Officer for the Albuquerque Police Department, told Equality Matters in an email:

We are unaware of any cases of assault in our city as a result of transgendered [sic] accommodations. [Email exchange, 3/13/14]

Oregon

State Law Has Prohibited Discrimination In Public Accommodations Since 2007. In 2007, Oregon enacted the Oregon Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. [Lambda Legal, accessed 3/13/14]

Bureau of Labor And Industries: "Zero Allegations" Of Assault Due To 2007 Law. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries spokesman Charlie Burr told Equality Matters in an email:

The Oregon Equality Act protects the rights of LGBT Oregonians in employment, housing and public places and has done so without any incidents of LGBT assaults on women in public restrooms that we're aware of. Our agency has encountered zero allegations of LGBT assault related to this public accommodation protection. [Email exchange, 3/7/14] 

Portland Police Department: "I Have Never Heard Of Any Issues Like This." Portland Police Department spokesman Peter Simpson wrote in an email to Equality Matters:

I have never heard of any issues like this in Portland. We have a very low rate of sexual assault/rape crimes here overall. [Email exchange, 3/7/14] 

Rhode Island

State Law Has Prohibited Discrimination In Public Accommodations Since 2001. In 2001, Rhode Island explicitly prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in public accommodations. [GLAD, 2/25/14]

State Commission for Human Rights: No Increase In Sex Crimes Due To Non-Discrimination Law. Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights Executive Director Michael D. Evora told Equality Matters in an email:

The Commission for Human Rights has not taken in any cases alleging gender identity discrimination in respect to bathroom usage in public facilities since the law was amended to prohibit such discrimination.  In addition, we are not aware of any affect the passage of the law has had on incidents of assault in public restrooms. [Email exchange, 3/7/14] 

Vermont

State Law Has Prohibited Discrimination In Public Accommodations Since 2007. In 2007, Vermont explicitly prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender identity in public accommodations. [GLAD, 3/4/14]

State Human Rights Commission: "We Are Not Aware" Of Any Problems From Non-Discrimination Law. In an email to Equality Matters, the Vermont Human Rights Commission's Karen Richards said:

I have only been here a short time so was checking with my staff to find out if they were aware of any issues. ... We are not aware of any other issues or problems similar to this caused by prohibiting discrimination against those who are transgendered. [Email exchange, 3/7/14] 

Montpelier Police Department: No Complaints. Montpelier Police Chief Tony Facos responded to an email inquiry about whether the state's non-discrimination law had led to incidents of rape or sexual assault in women's restrooms, stating, "We do not have any complaints related to this issue." [Email exchange, 3/10/14]

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Luke Brinker & Carlos Maza http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201403200001 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 10:00:33 EDT
Right-Wing Media Denounce Guinness For Protesting Parade's Homophobia http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201403170002 Guinness announced that it will not participate in the New York City St. Patrick's Day parade due to the parade's exclusion of LGBT groups, prompting outrage and calls for boycott from right-wing media figures.

Guinness Withdraws From St. Patty's Parade In Support Of LGBT Groups

Guinness Will Not Participate In St. Patrick's Day Parade Because LGBT Groups Are Excluded. Guinness announced on March 16 that it would not participate in New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade, citing the event's exclusion of gay and lesbian groups. From Reuters:

Irish brewer Guinness said on Sunday that it would not participate in New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade this year because gay and lesbian groups had been excluded, costing organizers a key sponsor of the annual event.

The move came on the same day that Boston's Irish-American mayor skipped that city's St. Patrick's Day parade after failing to hammer out a deal with organizers to allow a group of gay and lesbian activists to march openly.

"Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all. We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year's parade," the brewer said in a written statement issued by a spokesman for its parent company, Diageo.

"As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation. We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy," Guinness said. [Reuters, 3/16/14]

Right-Wing Media Denounce Guinness' Pro-Equality Stance, Call For Boycott

Laura Ingraham: Guinness' Pro-Equality Stance Is "Totalitarian," "Petty." On the March 16 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, conservative radio host and Fox News contributor Ingraham called Guinness' decision to withdraw from the parade "totalitarian":

INGRAHAM: But Guinness, OK Guinness Beer is the latest beer giant to withdraw its support because lesbian and gay groups are not allowed to march openly in the oriented parade with gay signs. pulls out?! Now, this -- I've just got to say. I find this to be totalitarian in its feel to me. This idea that, if we can't be a part of your event, we are going to shut you down.

Now think about that. Do they really want a situation where groups that totally disagree with them, or have just a different focus than they have, try to shut down aspects of the gay parades in New York? And there's a big, you know, gay parade in New York. And people have a lot of fun at it, it's very colorful, very interesting. But I don't think people are trying to damage their parades, or are they? I must have missed those stories. By saying oh we -- I'm trying to think of an example -- well we, evangelical, Bible-believing Christians, want to hold up anti-gay signs at the gay parade. And if we're not allowed to do that, then we are going to haunt and pester all of your sponsors until they give in. You know what I'm saying? To me it just seems so petty and such a waste of time that you have to be front and center, proselytizing at every non-gay event.

[...]

Well I think Guinness ought to be careful. Because Guinness is going to start getting boycotted by other groups of people, that are probably a lot more people would think of boycotting Guinness now than the gay-groups who are going to boycott Guinness at the Stonewall Inn. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show3/17/14]

Ingraham: "This Is Thuggish Behavior." On the same radio program, Ingraham went on to claim that Guinness was exhibiting "thuggish" behavior by withdrawing from the parade over LGBT exclusion:

INGRAHAM: Guinness is boycotting the New York St. Patty's Day parade.. welcome to the new totalitarianism. This is thuggish behavior though. The idea that if you don't wear t-shirts or hold placards expressing you're sexuality you're discriminated against. No one is saying you can't have a protest, no one is saying you can't have your parades, no one is excluding you from a coffee shop or university or a company or anything, they're just saying that they'd like to have their parade without sexuality being shoved in the faces of families and children and the organizers who put it on, big deal.  [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show3/17/14]

Rupert Murdoch Calls For A Boycott Of Guinness. Chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, Fox News' parent company, Rupert Murdoch denounced Guinness' pro-equality stance on Twitter, writing that he hoped "all Irish boycott the stuff":

[Twitter.com, 3/17/14, via Media Matters]

Todd Starnes: "Apparently Parading Is Now A Civil Right." Fox contributor Todd Starnes criticized Guinness' move on Twitter, accusing Guinness of pulling out of the parade because "the Irish refuse to turn it into a Gay Pride parade": 

[Twitter.com, 3/17/14]

[Twitter.com, 3/17/14]

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Emily Arrowood & Olivia Kittel http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201403170002 Mon, 17 Mar 2014 13:31:40 EDT
Conservative Media Are Outraged That Arizona's Anti-Gay Bill Was Vetoed http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201402270005 Several right-wing media figures reacted with outrage on Twitter after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have permitted businesses and individuals to refuse to serve gay couples and individuals.

AZ Gov. Brewer Vetoes Bill To Legalize Homophobic Discrimination

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Announces Veto Of Anti-Gay Bill. On February 26, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced she has vetoed Senate Bill 1062, which would have allowed businesses and individuals to deny services to gay people on religious grounds. The Washington Post reported:

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) announced Wednesday night that she has vetoed a controversial bill that would allow businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians if they feel it violates their religious rights.

Gay rights advocates have denounced the legislation, labeling it a form of legalized discrimination, and Arizona's two GOP senators and leading Republican candidates for governor urged Brewer to veto the bill. Even a few GOP state legislators who voted for the measure now say it is not the right thing to do.

Brewer said the bill "does not address a specific or pressing concern" and that it is not part of her agenda.

"I have not heard of one example in Arizona where business owners' religious liberty has been violated," Brewer said. "The bill is broadly worded, and could result in unintended and negative consequences." [The Washington Post2/26/14]

Cue Outrage From Conservative Media Figures 

Fox's Todd Starnes: Veto Means Christians Are Now Second Class Citizens. Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes raged against Brewer's veto on Twitter, claiming that now "homosexual rights trump religious rights" and businesses must comply with orders from "militant groups":

[Twitter, 2/26/14]

Breitbart's Ben Shapiro: Brewer Is "Gutless" For Veto. In the moments leading up to Brewer's remarks, Breitbart.com editor-at-large Ben Shapiro tweeted that the governor was "gutless" if she vetoed the bill:

[Twitter, 2/26/14]

National Review's Lowry: "Veto Shows That Poorly Informed Hysteria Works." National Review editor Rich Lowry suggested that Brewer caved to "poorly informed hysteria" by vetoing the bill:

[Twitter, 2/26/14]

MRC's Dan Gainor Vows To Donate To Brewer's Political Opponents. After Brewer announced the veto, Dan Gainor of the conservative Media Research Center tweeted:

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E.A. & O.K. http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201402270005 Thu, 27 Feb 2014 14:34:42 EDT
Right-Wing Media Freak Out Over Same-Sex Marriages At The Grammys http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201401270001

Right-wing media figures condemned the weddings of 33 same-sex and opposite-sex couples at the 56th annual Grammy Awards, describing the ceremony as an attack on Christianity.

Grammys Featured Weddings Of 33 Couples

Queen Latifah Officiated The Weddings Of 33 Couples During 56th Annual Grammy Awards. According to The New York Times:

In what Grammy organizers hoped would be a heartwarming showstopper, 33 gay and straight couples were officially married — by Queen Latifah, deputized by Los Angeles County — during a performance of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s marriage-equality anthem “Same Love,” which also featured Madonna. [The New York Times1/27/14]

Right-Wing Media Criticized The Ceremony As An Attack On Christians

Fox News’ Todd Starnes: “Sick.” Fox News Radio reporter Todd Starnes posted a series of tweets condemning the ceremony, saying that the weddings were “sick,” “bashing God,” “mocking marriage,” and “cramming a social agenda down our throats”:

 [Twitter.com, 1/26/14

Breitbart.com: “A Culture War Missile Aimed At Those Who Believe In A Traditional Definition Of Marriage.” In an article titled “Gay Marriages Interrupt Grammys’ Universal Reach,” Breitbart’s Christian Toto wrote:

For one night, an awards show understood what it meant to appeal to the masses. And then the 2014 Grammy Awards fired off a culture war missile aimed at those who believe in a traditional definition of marriage. [Breitbart.com, 1/26/14]

Media Research Center’s Tim Graham: Ceremony Was “Musical Agitprop To Mock … Traditional Values.” Graham took to the MRC’s blog to denounce the ceremony before it even occurred, writing:

They can say this is not a stunt, but that's exactly what it is, a piece of musical agitprop to mock the traditional values of conservative American Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others. Entertainers never want to have a debate, just a series of arrogant "statements" with no opportunity for a conversation as they flush the Bible on national TV. [Media Research Center, 1/26/14]

Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft: Ceremony “Bashed Conservative Christians.” In a post for his Gateway Pundit blog, Hoft wrote:

Madonna, Queen Latifah and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis held a mass wedding at the Grammys tonight in L.A.
But not before they bashed conservative Christians.

In “Same Love” the rapper Macklemore attacked conservatives:

A pre-conceived idea of what it all meant
For those that like the same sex had the characteristics
The right-wing conservatives think it’s a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made, rewiring of a pre-disposition, playing God
Ahh, nah, here we go
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And “God loves all his children” is somehow forgotten

Then Madonna appeared with a cane(?) and Queen Latifah married 33 couples, gay and straight.

It was all about true love – as long as you agree with them. If you don’t agree, you get ridiculed and attacked. [TheGatewayPundit.com, 1/26/14]

American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer: “Grammy Telecast To Feature Sodomy-Based Wedding Ceremonies.” Prior to the ceremony, AFA spokesman Fischer tweeted:

 [Twitter.com, 1/26/14]

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Luke Brinker http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201401270001 Mon, 27 Jan 2014 11:12:49 EDT
REPORT: Fox News Silent On Anti-Gay Human Rights Crises http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201401220001 Fox News has been all but silent in reporting on major human rights crises facing gays and lesbians in Uganda, Nigeria, and India over the past few weeks, continuing the network’s pattern of turning a blind eye to significant international stories about the LGBT community.

ANALYSIS: Fox News Underreports Passage Of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Law

Uganda’s Parliament Passed Law Criminalizing Homosexuality. On December 20, the Ugandan Parliament passed its Anti-Homosexuality Bill, criminalizing sexual intercourse between same-sex partners with a life sentence in prison. According to Uganda’s Daily Monitor:

You engage in homosexuality, you rot in jail, according to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by Parliament on Friday. 

An excited Parliament debated and overwhelmingly passed the Bill which criminalises sexual intercourse between same-sex partners. 

The legislation provides for a sentence of life imprisonment for anyone convicted of homosexuality, which covers gays and lesbians. A proposal to put the punishment to 14 years in jail was rejected by the House. [Daily Monitor12/20/13

Fox News Spent 15 Seconds Mentioning The Passage Of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Law. According to an Equality Matters analysis*, Fox News spent just 15 seconds covering Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law between December 16 and December 27 compared to more than seven minutes of coverage on CNN and two minutes of coverage on MSNBC:

  • Fox’s Only Mention Of Uganda Was During A Segment On Justice with Judge Jeanine Criticizing Pro-Equality Activists For Focusing On Duck Dynasty.

Ugandan President Refused To Sign The Anti-Gay Law On Procedural Grounds. In a letter to Parliament dated December 28, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni declined to sign the anti-gay measure into law, stating that it was invalid because it was passed without a parliamentary quorum. [Daily Monitor1/17/14]

ANALYSIS: Fox News Ignores Passage Of Nigeria’s Extreme Anti-Gay Law

Nigeria Passed Law Criminalizing Gay Marriage, Public Displays Of Affection. On January 13, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which criminalizes same-sex marriage and civil unions, public displays of affection between same-sex couples, and pro-LGBT clubs, societies, and organizations. [UPI, 1/13/14]

Law Has Already Led To Reports Of Arrests, Torture. According to the Associated Press:

First the police targeted the gay men, then tortured them into naming dozens of others who now are being hunted down, human rights activists said Tuesday, warning that such persecution will rise under a new Nigerian law. 

The men's alleged crime? Belonging to a gay organization. [Associated Press, 1/14/14

U.S. Is “Deeply Concerned” Over Nigeria’s Anti-Gay Law. According to a statement issued by Secretary of State John Kerry:

The United States is deeply concerned by Nigeria’s enactment of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act.

Beyond even prohibiting same sex marriage, this law dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association, and expression for all Nigerians.

Moreover, it is inconsistent with Nigeria’s international legal obligations and undermines the democratic reforms and human rights protections enshrined in its 1999 Constitution. [State Department, 1/13/14

Fox News Ignored The Passage Of Nigeria’s Anti-Gay Law. According to an Equality Matters analysis**, Fox News ignored the passage of Nigeria’s harsh anti-gay law and the subsequent reports of arrests and torture of gay men in Nigeria during the period between January 6 and January 17:

ANALYSIS: Fox News Ignored India’s Anti-Gay Supreme Court Decision

India’s Supreme Court Reversed Lower Court Decision Decriminalizing Homosexuality. On December 11, India’s Supreme Court overturned a lower-court decision that struck down the country’s prohibition against “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” According to The Washington Post:

India’s Supreme Court overturned a historic lower-court decision on homosexuality Wednesday, making gay sex a crime in the world’s most populous democracy, with violators facing up to 10 years in prison.

The court ruled that a British colonial-era statute outlawing “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” was constitutional. Changing it should be left to Parliament, not the courts, the judges ruled. [The Washington Post12/11/13

Fox News Ignored Supreme Court Decision To Uphold India’s Ban On Homosexuality. According to an Equality Matters analysis***, between December 9 and December 20, Fox News failed to mention the Indian Supreme Court’s decision declaring the country’s ban on homosexuality to be constitutional:

Fox News Has Ignored Other Human Rights Crises Affecting LGBT People 

Fox Ignored The Controversy Surrounding Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws, Winter Olympics. In July and August of 2013, Fox News largely ignored the controversy surrounding Russia’s strict new anti-gay laws, which could have an impact on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in February:

[Equality Matters8/7/13]

Fox News Ignored The Reemergence Of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Legislation. Between October and December of 2012, Fox News ignored the reemergence of Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law, devoting significantly more time to discussing the Korean pop song “Gangnam Style”:

[Equality Matters12/12/12]

METHODOLOGY

*Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by TV Eyes for the word “Uganda” between December 16 and December 27. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded. 

**Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by TV Eyes for the word “Nigeria” between January 6 and January 17. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded. 

***Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by TV Eyes for the word “India” between December 9 and December 20. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded.

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Luke Brinker & Carlos Maza http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201401220001 Wed, 22 Jan 2014 10:21:35 EDT
Fox News Employees Rush To Defend <em>Duck Dynasty</em> Star&rsquo;s Anti-Gay Comments http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201312190005 Fox News employees are rushing to defend Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson after A&E placed him on indefinite hiatus for making anti-gay remarks in which he called homosexuality a sin, illogical, and akin to bestiality.

Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson Placed On Hiatus After Anti-Gay Remarks

GQ Publishes Interview Containing Robertson's Anti-Gay Remarks. In an interview with GQ Magazine, Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson decried homosexuality, calling it illogical and sinful and comparing it to bestiality:

Out here in these woods, without any cameras around, Phil is free to say what he wants. Maybe a little too free. He's got lots of thoughts on modern immorality, and there's no stopping them from rushing out. Like this one:

"It seems like, to me, a vagina--as a man--would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me.I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."

[...]

"Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong," he says. "Sin becomes fine."

What, in your mind, is sinful?

"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men," he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers--they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right." [GQJanuary 2014, emphasis added]

Robertson Also Defended "Pre-Civil-Rights-Era-Louisiana." During the interview, Robertson claimed black farmers were "singing and happy" before the "pre-entitlement, pre-welfare" Civil Rights era:

Phil On Growing Up in Pre-Civil-Rights-Era Louisiana

"I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I'm with the blacks, because we're white trash. We're going across the field.... They're singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, 'I tell you what: These doggone white people'--not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues." [GQJanuary 2014, emphasis original]

GLAAD Condemned Robertson's "Vile" Anti-Gay Comments. GLAAD condemned Robertson's comments, calling them "vile" and urging A&E to "reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families." [GLAAD, 12/18/13

A&E Placed Robertson On Indefinite Hiatus Following His Remarks. On December 18, A&E announced that Robertson would be under "hiatus from filming indefinitely" and reiterated its support for the LGBT community:

In a statement, A+E Networks said, "We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series 'Duck Dynasty.' His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The networks has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely." [Los Angeles Times12/18/13]

Robertson Released His Own Statement Explaining His Anti-Gay Remarks. Robertson released his own statement on December 18, stating that he would "never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from" him. [The Hollywood Reporter12/18/13]

Fox News Employees Rushed To Condemn A&E, Defend Robertson's Remarks

Katie Pavlich: "Robertson's Statement Wasn't Anti-Gay." Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich criticized A&E's suspension on twitter, writing that "in America now the only opinion you're allowed to have on homosexuality is one that GLAAD supports," and "Robertson's statement wasn't anti-gay":

[Twitter,12/18/13]

Erick Erickson: A&E Is "Destined For Hell Fire." Fox News contributor Erick Erickson defended Robertson's comments in a December 18 blog post on RedState.com, writing:

Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant and then it seeks to silence good. Phil Robertson, patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan, honestly answered questions during an GQ interview. He spoke openly of his Christian faith. Because he offended a secular left at war with orthodox Christianity, he must be punished.

A&E and Phil Robertson both chose to put their respective faiths ahead of profits.

What we should not shy away from is that Phil Robertson articulated very Biblical doctrine. He referenced scripture. Homosexual acts are, in fact, sinful according to the Bible. And as society begins to openly tolerate as normal things that really are not normal behaviors, society tends to start loosening up across the board as it descends down a slippery slope.

[...]

Actually, Robertson said precisely what true Christians believe and anyone, including A & E, letting GLAAD be an arbiter of true Christian thought is pretty quickly destined for hell fire.

A & E has now joined much of mass market culture in the Western World in picking sides in a fight -- tolerance for gay rights, but not for Christians expressing honest answers to questions asked of their faith. The only surprise is that the Christians of Duck Dynasty could last there as long as they did. A&E has as much right to do this as you have to turn the channel. But they have clearly aligned themselves against us in the culture wars. [RedState.com, 12/18/13, emphasis added]

Todd Starnes: "Intolerant, Anti-Straight Groups Are Targeting Duck Dynasty." Fox News Radio reporter Todd Starnes criticized GLAAD's condemnation of Robertson's comments, writing that "Intolerant, Anti-Straight groups are targeting Duck Dynasty":

[Twitter, 12/18/13]

Sean Hannity: Robertson's Comments Reflected "Old Fashioned Traditional Christian Sentiment And Values." During the December 18 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, Fox's Hannity claimed that Robertson's comments were "old fashioned traditional Christian sentiment and values.":

[Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show12/18/13]

Sarah Palin: "Free Speech Is An Endangered Species." Fox News contributor Sarah Palin voiced her support for Robertson on Facebook, writing:

Free speech is an endangered species. Those "intolerants" hatin' and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us. [Facebook, 12/18/13]

Geraldo Rivera: "It's Political Correctness That's Gotten Malignant." During the December 19 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox host Geraldo Rivera criticized A&E's "political correctness" in deciding to punish Robertson for his comments:

[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/19/13]

Jim Pinkerton: We're Seeing "A Purge Of Southern White Christian Patriotic Culture Out Of TV." During the December 19 edition of Happening Now, Fox News contributor Jim Pinkerton stated that A&E's decision was part of an effort to "purge" "Southern white Christian patriotic culture out of TV":

[Fox News, Happening Now, 12/19/13]

Alisyn Camerota: "Are People On Reality Shows Not Allowed To Have Real Opinions?” During the December 19 edition of Fox News' America's News Headquarters, host Alisyn Camerota asked if Robertson's anti-gay remarks were "free speech":

[Fox News, America's News Headquarters, 12/19/13]

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Carlos Maza http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201312190005 Thu, 19 Dec 2013 14:24:25 EDT
REPORT: World AIDS Day Gets 15 Seconds On Fox News http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201312030003 Both CNN and MSNBC devoted significant coverage to the Obama administration’s commemoration of World AIDS Day on December 2. Fox News, on the other hand, spent less than 20 seconds acknowledging President Obama’s speech outlining significant new efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.

On World AIDS Day, Obama Administration Reveals Significant Efforts To Combat Spread Of HIV/AIDS

World AIDS Day Was Observed On December 1, 2013. December 1 is World AIDS Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the AIDS pandemic. The 2013 theme for World AIDS Day was “Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation.” [AIDS.gov, accessed 12/2/13]

President Obama Delivered A Speech To Commemorate World AIDS Day. On December 2, President Obama delivered a 10-minute speech commemorating World AIDS Day and outlining his administration’s support for AIDS prevention efforts. He was joined by Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who also reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to combating the spread of HIV/AIDS. [C-SPAN, 12/2/13]

Obama Announced $100 Million Initiative To Research New Therapies To Combat HIV. According to the Associated Press:

President Barack Obama announced a new initiative at the National Institutes of Health in pursuit of a cure for HIV, saying his administration is redirecting $100 million into the project to find a new generation of therapies.

"The United States should be at the forefront of new discoveries into how to put HIV into long-term remission without requiring lifelong therapies, or better yet, eliminate it completely," Obama said. [AP, 12/2/13]

Obama Pledged Up To $5 Billion To Fight AIDS Globally. President Obama pledged to give up to $5 billion to the Global Funds to Fight AIDS, representing a $1 billion increase from the previous round of funding. According to The Washington Post:

President Obama pledged Monday to give up to $5 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria over the next three years, saying that an “AIDS-free generation” may be within reach.

The pledge represents $1 billion more than the United States committed during the previous round of funding in 2010, when Obama faced criticism for not doing enough and setting a bad example that gave other countries an excuse to limit their donations. The $5 billion contribution — which is the amount activists requested — will be delivered if other countries commit to giving $10 billion under a funding ratio set by Congress.

[…] 

The announcements represent a redoubling of global efforts to fight AIDS. Despite billions spent on research in the 34 years since the disease was recognized, a vaccine has eluded scientists, and efforts to stop the spread of the illness through preventive measures — such as microbial gels — have been unexpectedly challenging. One million Americans are living with AIDS today. [The Washington Post12/2/13

Fox News Largely Ignored Commemoration Of World AIDS Day

Fox News Spent 15 Seconds Acknowledging World AIDS Day. According to an Equality Matters analysis, between December 1 and 2, Fox News spent 15 seconds acknowledging World AIDS Day – one mention on America’s News HQ informing viewers that they could watch the president’s remarks on FoxNews.com. CNN and MSNBC spent 10 and 20 minutes discussing World AIDS Day, respectively, with both networks airing significant portions of Obama’s commemoration speech:

Fox Spent Nearly 5 Minutes Discussing Mall Of America Money Thrower. By contrast, Fox News spent more than four minutes between December 1 and 2 discussing Serge Vorobyov, a man who threw $1,000 in dollar bills off an escalator in the Mall of America on Friday, November 29:

METHODOLOGY

Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by TV Eyes for the terms "AIDS" and “HIV” between December 1 and December 2. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded. 

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Luke Brinker & Carlos Maza http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201312030003 Tue, 03 Dec 2013 14:25:11 EDT
Fox News Spent Less Than 5 Minutes Covering Former Employee Liz Cheney's Anti-Gay Controversy http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201311260001 Fox News spent under five minutes covering the controversy between Republican Wyoming Senate candidate and former Fox News contributor Liz Cheney and her openly gay sister Mary Cheney over Liz's opposition to marriage equality - significantly less than CNN and MSNBC, who both devoted more than one hour.

Senate Candidate Liz Cheney Was Publicly Criticized By Her Gay Sister For Opposing Marriage Equality

On Fox News, Liz Cheney Reiterated Her Opposition To Marriage Equality. During the November 17 edition of Fox News Sunday, Liz Cheney was asked about her opposition to marriage equality given her sister Mary's same-sex marriage to her wife, Heather Poe. Liz reiterated her opposition to same-sex marriage, saying "Listen, I love Mary very much. I love her family very much. This is just an issue in which we disagree." [Fox News Sunday, via FoxNews.com, 11/17/13]

Cheney's Comments Were Publicly Criticized By Mary And Her Wife. According to The New York Times' The Caucus blog:

Things erupted on Sunday when Mary Cheney, a lesbian, and her wife were at home watching "Fox News Sunday" — their usual weekend ritual. Liz Cheney appeared on the show and said that she opposed same-sex marriage, describing it as "just an area where we disagree," referring to her sister. Taken aback and hurt, Mary Cheney took to her Facebook page to blast back: "Liz — this isn't just an issue on which we disagree you're just wrong — and on the wrong side of history."

But then Mary Cheney's wife, Heather Poe, went further, touching on Liz Cheney's relocation from Northern Virginia to Wyoming to seek office. (Liz Cheney is already battling accusations of carpetbagging in the race.)

"I can't help but wonder how Liz would feel if as she moved from state to state, she discovered that her family was protected in one but not the other," Ms. Poe wrote on her Facebook page. "Yes, Liz," she added, "in fifteen states and the District of Columbia you are my sister-in-law."

The feud reveals tensions not just within the family but in the Republican Party more broadly as it seeks to respond to both a changing America and an energized, fervently conservative base. [The New York Times11/17/13, emphasis added]

Dick Cheney Issued A Statement Defending Liz's Position. According to ABC News:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney waded into a spat between his daughters, Liz Cheney and Mary Cheney, who is openly gay, saying that Liz's kindness to her sister shouldn't be used to "distort" her position supporting "traditional marriage."

One day after the two sisters appeared to take their disagreement public, Cheney and his wife, Lynne, issued a statement defending their daughter Liz, who is running for Senate in Wyoming.

"Liz has always believed in the traditional definition of marriage," the Cheneys said in a statement today. "She has also always treated her sister and her sister's family with love and respect, exactly as she should have done.

"Compassion is called for, even when there is disagreement about such a fundamental matter and Liz's many kindnesses shouldn't be used to distort her position," they added.

The statement made no mention of Mary Cheney, 44, or her wife, Heather Poe. [ABC News, 11/18/13]

Fox News Underreported The Cheney-Marriage Controversy

Fox News Spent Under 5 Minutes Reporting On The Controversy Following Cheney's Interview. According to an Equality Matters analysis, Fox News mentioned the Cheney marriage disagreement just once, for less than five minutes, compared to CNN and MSNBC, which both devoted more than an hour of coverage to the story:

  • Fox News' Red Eye, A Satirical Talk Show Airing At 3 AM, Also Discussed The Story For Four And A Half Minutes.

Fox News' Howard Kurtz: "Is All This Media Attention Warranted?" During the November 24 edition of Fox News' Media Buzz, Howard Kurtz asked whether the media's attention to the Cheney controversy was justified:

Liz Cheney Is A Former Fox News Employee. Cheney was hired at Fox News in January of 2012 and worked as a network political analyst until announcing her Senate campaign in July. [Huffington Post, 7/16/13]

Fox News Has Championed Cheney's Senate Campaign. Several Fox News employees, including Sean Hannity, Charles Krauthammer, and Erick Erickson have praised Cheney's campaign since she left the network to run for office. [Media Matters7/20/13]

METHODOLOGY

Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by TV Eyes for the word "Cheney" between November 18 and November 22 between the hours of 5 am and 12 am. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded. 

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Carlos Maza http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201311260001 Tue, 26 Nov 2013 13:23:24 EDT
REPORT: Fox News Spends 19 Seconds Covering Senate Passage Of ENDA http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201311080002 In its latest effort to downplay the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), Fox News spent a mere 19 seconds covering its historic passage by the Senate on November 7.

ENDA Would Prohibit Employment Discrimination Against LGBT Workers

ENDA Would Ban Employment Discrimination On The Basis Of Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity. According to the Huffington Post:

ENDA would bar companies from factoring sexual orientation or gender identity into employment decisions. Employers are already prohibited by federal law from discriminating over race, religion, age, gender or disability. The proposal exempts businesses with fewer than 15 employees as well as religious organizations. [Huffington Post, 4/25/13

In A Historic Vote, The Senate Passed ENDA With Bipartisan Support

Senate Voted 64-32 To Pass ENDA. ThinkProgress reported (emphasis added):

For the first time in the legislation's two-decade history, the Senate has passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would make it illegal to discriminate in employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The final vote was 64-32, adding the votes of Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to the many Republicans who helped the bill pass cloture earlier in the week. Earlier on Thursday, the Senate defeated an amendment by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), which would have drastically expanded religious exemptions in a way that would have allowed private businesses to continue discriminating against LGBT workers. It required 60 votes, but did not even receive a simple majority (43-55). [ThinkProgress, 11/7/13]

Fox News Devoted 19 Seconds Of Coverage To Senate Vote

Fox News Mostly Ignored Senate Passage Of ENDA. According to an Equality Matters analysis, Fox News spent 19 seconds reporting the bill's passage, compared to CNN's four minutes of coverage and MSNBC's nearly 10 minutes:

 

Fox News Also Underreported Senate Cloture Vote On ENDA. According to an Equality Matters analysis, Fox devoted a scant four minutes of coverage of the Senate's cloture vote on ENDA on November 4. Fox spent half of those four minutes questioning whether ENDA was merely a "distraction" from Obamacare. [Equality Matters,11/7/13]

Methodology

Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by TV Eyes for the terms "ENDA," "employment nondiscrimination," "employment non discrimination," "gay," "lesbian," "transgender," "sexual orientation," "gender identity," and "Senate vote" for November 7, including only results after the Senate held its vote. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded.

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Luke Brinker http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201311080002 Fri, 08 Nov 2013 13:10:52 EDT
REPORT: Fox News Ignores Historic ENDA Senate Vote http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201311070001 Fox News largely ignored a historic vote on November 4 when the U.S. Senate voted to take up the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that bans workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. While CNN and MSNBC covered the vote, Fox devoted half of its already-scant coverage to dismissing ENDA as a "distraction."

ENDA Would Prohibit Employment Discrimination Against LGBT Workers

ENDA Would Ban Emoloyment Discrimination On The Basis Of Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity. According to the Huffington Post:

ENDA would bar companies from factoring sexual orientation or gender identity into employment decisions. Employers are already prohibited by federal law from discriminating over race, religion, age, gender or disability. The proposal exempts businesses with fewer than 15 employees as well as religious organizations. [Huffington Post, 4/25/13]

In A Historic Vote, The Senate Voted To Advance ENDA For A Full Debate

Senate Voted 61-30 To Advance ENDA For A Full Debate. On November 4, the Senate voted to move ENDA forward for a full debate. According to CBS News:

With the support of every member of the Democratic caucus and some Republicans, the Senate on Mondayvoted to move forward with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would prohibit discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill is now all but sure to pass in the Senate, where a handful of Republicans voted Monday to proceed with the bill -- including one stalwart conservative, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Still, its fate in the Republican-led House is unclear. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Monday that the speaker opposes the legislation. [CBS News, 11/4/13]

Cloture Vote Means Senate Will Consider ENDA For First Time Since 1996. As The Washington Blade reported, the Senate has not taken up ENDA since 1996, when the measure failed by one vote:

It's also the first time the Senate has considered ENDA since 1996, when the bill came to the floor as part of a deal to consider the Defense of Marriage Act and failed by one vote.

The cloture vote is also significant because the 60-vote threshold necessary to overcome a filibuster is higher than the simple majority needed for final passage. It means the legislation is almost certain win final approval in the Senate. [The Washington Blade11/4/13]

ENDA Proposed In Every Congressional Session Since 1994. The Congressional Research Service notes that ENDA has been introduced in every congressional session since the 103rd Congress (1993-95). [Congressional Research Service, 7/15/13]

ENDA Has Only Passed A House Of Congress Once Before. In its two-decade history, ENDA has only been approved by a house of Congress once. Under then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House of Representatives passed ENDA on a 235-184 vote in 2007. [U.S. House of Representatives, accessed 11/6/13]

Transgender-Inclusive ENDA Has Never Passed A Chamber Of Congress Before. The current Senate version of ENDA prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. As the Center for American Progress notes, gender identity protections were not included in the 2007 House-passed version of ENDA:

In 2007 members of Congress introduced the first version of ENDA that included discrimination prohibitions on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. Unfortunately, this inclusive version of ENDA died in committee. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) made a second attempt at moving the bill through, this time without the provisions protecting transgender workers from discrimination. 

That year the House passed ENDA by a vote of 235 to 184. In the Senate, however, the bill was not referred to a committee or brought to the floor for a vote. ENDA likely failed to come to a vote in the Senate due to the exclusion of gender identity from Rep. Frank's bill. [Center for American Progress, 7/19/11]

Fox News Largely Ignored ENDA's Advancement

Fox News Underreported The Senate's Historic ENDA Vote. According to an Equality Matters analysis, Fox News spent just over four minutes covering ENDA's advancement in the Senate on November 4 and 5 compared to CNN's 10 minutes and MSNBC's 47 minutes:

  • Half Of Fox's Coverage Was Devoted To Asking If The ENDA Vote Was A Distraction From Obamacare. Of Fox's four minutes of ENDA coverage, more than two minutes came from the November 4 edition of The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, during which host Carlson asked if the debate over ENDA was a "distraction" meant to draw attention away from Obamacare. [The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, 11/4/13]

Fox News Has Previously Ignored ENDA's Advancement In Its News Coverage. Fox News similarly ignored ENDA's passage through the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in July 2013. [Equality Matters7/17/13]

METHODOLOGY

Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by TV Eyes for the terms "ENDA," "employment nondiscrimination," "employment non discrimination," "gay," "lesbian," "transgender," "sexual orientation," "gender identity," and "Senate vote" between November 4 and November 5. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were included.

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Luke Brinker http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201311070001 Thu, 07 Nov 2013 11:03:27 EDT
Debunking Conservative Lies About The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201311020002 As the Senate prepares to take its first vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in over a decade, prominent social conservatives and right-wing media outlets have begun peddling long-debunked myths about the measure, which would protect employees from mistreatment on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

ENDA WOULD PROHIBIT EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBT WORKERS

ENDA Would Ban Employment Discrimination On The Basis Of Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity. According to the Huffington Post:

ENDA would bar companies from factoring sexual orientation or gender identity into employment decisions. Employers are already prohibited by federal law from discriminating over race, religion, age, gender or disability. The proposal exempts businesses with fewer than 15 employees as well as religious organizations. [Huffington Post, 4/25/13]

Most States Still Allow Employment Discrimination On The Basis Of Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity. According to the Center for American Progress:

[Center for American Progress, 10/18/12]

MYTH: ENDA RESTRICTS RELIGIOUS FREE SPEECH

Traditional Values Coalition: Enacting ENDA Will Cause “A Chilling Effect On Free Speech.” In a July 2013 report titled “ENDA Hurts Kids,” the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) wrote:

ENDA will have a chilling effect on free speech as well as religious liberty, as those with conscience objections or religious reservations will be under the threat of lawsuits in order to accommodate this new “protected class” of transgenders. [TraditionalValues.Org, 7/7/13]

Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson: ENDA Would View Traditional Marriage Supporters As Bigoted. According to Heritage Foundation William E. Simon Fellow Ryan T. Anderson:

ENDA would further weaken the marriage culture and the ability of civil society to affirm that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and that maleness and femaleness are not arbitrary constructs but objective ways of being human. The proposed law would treat these convictions as if they were bigotry. [NationalReview.com, 10/31/13]

Family Research Council’s (FRC) Peter Sprigg: ENDA Is A "Direct Attack Against The Moral Convictions Of Social Conservatives." FRC Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg told The Washington Post:

“Regardless of how much money [GOP donor Paul Singer and his allies, who support LGBT rights] bring to the table, it is not to the advantage of Republican officeholders politically to support his agenda,” said Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, one of the major evangelical groups opposing the ENDA. “Particularly in Republican primaries, the Republican Party is still strongly socially conservative. These are core convictions that people have.”

Sprigg described the ENDA as a “legislative way to declare that it’s morally wrong to disapprove of homosexual conduct.” The bill, he said, is a “direct attack against the moral convictions of social conservatives.” [The Washington Post10/21/13]

FRC: ENDA Will Be Used To “Marginalize Christians.” According an FRC Washington Update:

Obviously, FRC isn't in favor of discrimination against anyone for any reason. But a law like this wouldn't stop discrimination -- it would encourage it against anyone with a traditional view of morality. We all know how the activist community works. Homosexuals and transgenders will use this law to marginalize Christians and take over the marketplace -- until only their "lifestyle" is promoted. ENDA isn't about tolerance -- it's about a nationwide celebration of unlimited sexual expression. [FRC Washington Update, 11/1/13]

FACT: ENDA DOESN'T REGULATE PRIVATE, PERSONAL RELIGIOUS BELIEFS

Gender Identity Expert: There Is A "Clear Line" Between Religious Belief And Anti-LGBT Harassment. According to Dr. Jillian T. Weiss, professor of law and society at Ramapo College of New Jersey specializing in gender identity issues:

It is true that employers will be required to take action against harassers, regardless of whether their motivation is religious or not. There is, however, a clear line between belief and harassment. No one is going to take away your Bible. But you can't hit me over the head with it, either.

ENDA cannot tell anyone what to believe, nor can employers. At the same time, gay employees have the right to live free from harassment on the job. In fact, it is now the law and has been since 1964 that people of all religions and walks of life have the right to be free from harassment on the job based on religion.

Co-workers who want to march up to you and say "You are going to hell to burn in the eternal lake of fire!" are not be free to do so. Will this prohibit a private employer from having a Christmas tree, because some Christian sects condemn homosexuals? No. Will it prohibit a co-worker from saying "I'm a Christian."? No. But it will prohibit an attack on someone whether that attack is religiously motivated or not.

Anti-gay harassment is not an issue of freedom of religion. [Bilerico Project, 10/4/09]

MYTH: ENDA PUNISHES RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS

Fox News’ Shannon Bream: Religious Institutions Might Be Forced To Hire LGBT People. During the October 30 edition of Fox News’ Special Report, correspondent Shannon Bream stated:

BREAM: Critics of the measure have long cautioned that, while the bill might be well-intentioned, the results could wind up putting religious employers in a tough spot. For example, a Christian school that worries about being forced to hire a transgender teacher. [Fox News, 10/30/13]

FACT: ENDA INCLUDES BROAD EXEMPTIONS FOR RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS

CAP: ENDA's Religious Exemption Is Broader Than Religious Exemptions From Other Title VII Protections. According to a report from the Center for American Progress (CAP):

[J]ust as religious organizations may take into account an individual's religion with respect to employment decisions, ENDA's religious exemption allows religious organizations to also take into account an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity. In other words ENDA gives religious organizations a legal right to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

By contrast, Title VII does not permit religious organizations to discriminate on the basis of an individual's race, color, sex, or national origin. Going back to our earlier example, under Title VII a Lutheran school can hire or fire a teacher for being a Mormon, but not for being a woman or for being Asian American. If ENDA passed, a Lutheran school would also be able to fire or not hire a teacher for being gay or transgender, but would still not be able to do so for being a woman or for being Asian American. In this way ENDA's religious exemption is broader than that found in Title VII. [Center for American Progress, 6/11/12, emphasis added]

ENDA Includes An Explicit Exemption For Religious Organizations. According to Section 6 of ENDA:

SEC. 6. EXEMPTION FOR RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS.

This Act shall not apply to a corporation, association, educational institution or institution of learning, or society that is exempt from the religious discrimination provisions of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 pursuant (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.) to section 702(a) or 703(e)(2) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000e-1(a), 2000e-2(e)(2)). [S.815, Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013, accessed 7/2/13]

MYTH: ENDA REQUIRES EMPLOYERS TO GIVE PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT TO LGBT PEOPLE

TVC: ENDA Requires Employers To Affirm “The LGBT Lifestyle.” According to the Traditional Values Coalition:

In fact, not affirming the LGBT lifestyle by remaining silent could be construed as negative bias against LGBT individuals.

On May 20, 2013, a Department of Justice document titled, “LGBT Inclusion at Work: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Managers,” was leaked to the public. Specifically, the document tells DOJ managers, “DON’T judge or remain silent. Silence will be interpreted as disapproval.” If the Department of Justice is already identifying silence as disapproval, then it stands to reason that silence will be argued as disapproval in the courts, and thereby used as evidence by LGBT individuals as a form of discrimination in the workplace. The document also commands DOJ managers to attend LGBT events and display LGBT-affirming stickers and literature in order to identify the workplace as “safe.” What this means is that employers and co-workers will have their religious liberties completely trampled and destroyed because they could be required, under law, to affirm the lifestyle activities of LGBT individuals. [TraditionalValues.Org, 7/7/13]

FACT: ENDA PROHIBITS PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT FOR LGBT EMPLOYEES 

ENDA Prohibits Preferential Treatment, Quotas For LGBT Individuals. According to Section 4 (f) of ENDA:

(f) No Preferential Treatment or Quotas.--Nothing in this Act shall be construed or interpreted to require or permit--

(1) any covered entity to grant preferential treatment to any individual or to any group because of the actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of such individual or group on account of an imbalance which may exist with respect to the total number or percentage of persons of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity employed by any employer, referred or classified for employment by any employment agency or labor organization, admitted to or classified by any labor organization, or admitted to, or employed in, any apprenticeship or other training program, in comparison with the total number or percentage of persons of such actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in any community, State, section, or other area, or in the available work force in any community, State, section, or other area; or

 (2) the adoption or implementation by a covered entity of a quota on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. [S.815, Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013, accessed 7/2/13]

MYTH: ENDA WILL TRIGGER A WAVE OF NEW LAWSUITS

Cornerstone Policy Research’s Ashley Pratte: ENDA Will  “Create Thousands More Lawsuits” That Will Harm Businesses. Pratte told the New Hampshire Union Leader:

Opposition locally has been less active than the proponents, but Cornerstone Policy Research (and its political arm, Cornerstone Action) has made its position known.

The groups' executive director Ashley Pratte, could not be reached for an interview Friday, but said in an email:

"If our country accepts ENDA as federal law not only would it be unenforceable, it will spur litigation that in turn could be used to intimidate people of faith in companies that can't afford lawsuits. This legislation would create thousands more lawsuits and as a result would have a negative impact on small businesses across the country if passed. [New Hampshire Union Leader10/28/13]

Hot Air: ENDA Would Force Businesses Into Costly Litigation. According to a June 15 Hot Air blog post:

But since the laws in question have massive political appeal, they are passed into law anyway and the real winners emerge: the lawyers. Because with the law in place, everyone who doesn’t get hired or is removed for cause of any sort finds themselves with the opportunity to sue the employer under the new rules. Dollars spent in such lawsuits and settlements are dollars not available to expand the payroll and get more workers off the unemployment lines. [Hot Air, 6/15/13]

FACT: LOCAL NON-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCES HAVE NOT PROMPTED MASS LAWSUITS

Williams Institute: Local Non-Discrimination Ordinances Have Not Caused A Spike In Litigation. According to a study from UCLA’s Williams Institute that evaluated the impact of local laws requiring government contractors to adopt non-discrimination policies:

Almost all of the localities surveyed reported almost uniform compliance with the contractor ordinances, with little to noresistance by contractors. Twenty-five of the 29 localities that provided information about their non-discrimination and affirmative action ordinances reported that contractors complied with the sexual orientation and gender identity requirements without resistance. Three of the 29 localities reported just minimal resistance initially but then the contractors agreed to comply when the requirements were explained to them.

Of all the localities that responded to the survey, none affirmatively reported that there had been individual enforcement investigations or actions for violations of these contractor requirements. Twenty-eight of the 29 localities reported that no complaints of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination had been filed under their non-discrimination ordinances. The remaining locality was unaware if any complaints had been made because discrimination complaints were handled by a state agency, rather than the local agency implementing the contractor requirements. In addition, none of these localities reported that contractors had been barred from bidding on future contracts because they did not comply with these ordinances.

The contractor requirements have been adopted, implemented, and enforced with little disruption to government operations or work, administrative burden, cost or litigation. No locality reported that these ordinances made it difficult to find qualified contractors to carry out government work or operations. None of the localities that added sexual orientation and gender identity to non-discrimination or affirmative action ordinances reported that doing so was administratively burdensome or resulted in additional administrative or contractor costs. [Williams Institute, February 2012, emphasis original]

Center For American Progress: ENDA Would Help Employers Avoid Costly Lawsuits, Reduce Legal Penalties. According to a November 2010 report from the Center for American Progress, employers “would benefit most directly” from ENDA, as it creates “unambiguous employment guidelines” to “greatly reduce the risk of a discrimination lawsuit”:

It is the employers, however, who would benefit most directly from a federal law that clarifies the boundaries of Title VII and establishes explicit protections for LGBT workers. National legislation would allow employers to adapt to unambiguous employment guidelines and greatly reduce the risk of a discrimination lawsuit facing many businesses.

Studies show that employers that institute formal mechanisms for avoiding and dealing with workplace discrimination are significantly less likely to see the initial filing of a lawsuit by an employee. Employer-initiated efforts to deal with discrimination can work to preempt legal action, quickly reducing a business’s legal expenses.

If an employee does decide to sue an employer for employment discrimination and wins, good-faith efforts to deal with bias in the workplace can help to reduce the amount of damages a business is required to pay. The Supreme Court held in Kolstad that an employer’s efforts to enforce antidiscrimination policies in the workplace functionally shield the employer from punitive damages. Even modest efforts to deal with workplace discrimination, then, can allow employers to avoid tremendous penalties in court. [Center for American Progress, 11/10/10]

Click here to learn more about the myths and facts about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)

]]>
Luke Brinker & Carlos Maza http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201311020002 Sat, 02 Nov 2013 15:43:36 EDT
"The Biggest Con In The World": Fox News Reacts To California Student Gender&nbsp;Identity&nbsp;Bill http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201308140005 Fox News launched a smear campaign against a historic California law that would allow transgender public school students to have access to school facilities and athletic teams that match their gender identity. The network peddled a number of myths about the measure, adding to Fox's long history of promoting damaging transphobic misinformation.

California Passed "Landmark Law" Protecting Transgender Students

California Governor Signed "Landmark Law" Prohibiting Discrimination Against Transgender Students. From an August 12 USA Today article:

California passed a landmark law Monday that allows transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms designated for either gender, as well as play on either girls' or boys' sports teams.

[...]

California on Monday became the first state to enshrine certain rights for transgender K-12 students in state law, requiring public schools to allow those students access to whichever restroom and locker room they want.

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he had signed AB1266, which also will allow transgender students to choose whether they want to play boys' or girls' sports. The new law gives students the right "to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities" based on their self-perception and regardless of their birth gender. [USA Today8/12/13

Law Is Intended To Reduce Transphobic Bullying, Harassment In Schools. From an August 12 Los Angeles Times report:

The measure, which takes effect Jan. 1, is intended to reduce bullying in schools and help transgender students feel more comfortable on campuses, said its author, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco).

[...]

[S]upporters of the measure said four school districts, including those in Los Angeles and San Francisco, with similar policies have had no major problems.

The law says a student transitioning from a girl to a boy can try out for the boy's football team, but coaches could still decide whether they make the team on merit, including athletic ability, said Carlos Alcala, a spokesman for Ammiano. [Los Angeles Times8/12/13

Fox News Figures Attacked The Bill As "The Biggest Con In The World"

Fox Peddled "Bathroom Bill" Misinformation About The Law. In an August 9 Happening Now segment, Fox's chyron inaccurately referred to the measure as a "bathroom bill," with Fox News reporter Adam Housley furthering myths about students taking "advantage" of the new law, stating:

HOUSLEY: Those opposed say we're going too far with students and actually hurts the general population as a whole. They say that kids potentially could take advantage of this and parents will have to start worrying about boys showering with girls and vice versa. [Fox News, Happening Now8/09/13]

Greg Gutfeld Mocked "Confused" Students Covered Under The Law. From the August 9 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld misrepresented how teenage students could abuse "the so-called school bathroom bill":

GUTFELD: The legislation requires school to allow gender-confused students to use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their perceived gender identity, not their biological sex.

[...]

GUTFELD: As a devious teen growing up, I would tell girls that I'm a girl trapped in a boy's body, just so I could sneak into the girls' bathroom. In fact, I do that now at Fox News. ... Gretchen Carlson threw me out of the bathroom just last week. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 8/9/13]

Martha MacCallum: Transphobic Bullying, Harassment Is "Not A Big Problem."During the August 13 edition of America's Newsroom, host Martha MacCallum downplayed the real problem of transgender students being bullied in schools, stating:

MACCALLUM: So you're going to have a boy or a girl who maybe says "I feel more like a boy today" and then what if two months down the road he feels more like a girl the next two - there's a lot of confusing things that come into this. I know that people have very deep seated conflict with these issues that can be very painful for them. It does affect a certain number of people. It is not a big problem. And I would suggest that in a state where you have barely fifty percent, just over fifty percent proficiency in reading and in math that perhaps we need to put our focus on those issues before we kind of start opening up something that may be problematic for those children and for everybody else. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 8/13/13]

Bill O'Reilly: Allowing Transgender Students To Use Appropriate Facilities Is "The Biggest Con In The World." On the August 13 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly joked, "I'm sorry if I'm being politically incorrect,"  before declaring that the California law "is the biggest con in the world":

                        [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 8/13/13]

Sean Hannity: Schools Are Accommodating The ".00001 Percent" While Forgetting About Other Students. From the August 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity suggested the California law would affect an insignificant portion of the student body:

HANNITY: What do we do with the 7-year-old girl who goes into the locker room and there's a 14-year-old boy naked in the girls' locker room because that's where he chooses to be?

[...]

HANNITY: So forget about the 99 percent. The accommodation goes to the .00001 percent. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/13/13]

 "Bathroom Bill" Horror Stories Haven't Come True

California Law Only Affirms Existing Protections For Transgender Students. According to the Associated Press, California law already prohibits discrimination based on gender identity:

California lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday that would require public K-12 schools to let transgender students choose which restrooms they use and which school teams they join based on their gender identity instead of their chromosomes.

Some school districts around the country have implemented similar policies, but the bill's author says AB1266 would mark the first time a state has mandated such treatment by statute.

Existing state law already prohibits California schools from discriminating against students based on their gender identity, but the legislation that passed the state Senate on Wednesday spells that out in more detail, said Carlos Alcala, a spokesman for the bill's author, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco. [Associated Press, 7/3/13, emphasis added]

Los Angeles Unified School District Enacted A Similar Policy With "Nothing But Positive Results." According to an August 12 op-ed in the Huffington post by Judy Chiasson, program coordinator for human relations, diversity and equity for the Los Angeles Unified School District, which enacted a similar nondiscrimination policy:

Since the LAUSD implemented its policy, there has been a transformation in the district's schools. Now numerous transgender students are succeeding, with the help and support of their families and schools.

Opponents of A.B. 1266 have expressed concerns that students will abuse the policy, imperiling the safety of others. But our experience stands in stark contrast to such fears: In all the years since the LAUSD implemented its policy, we have encountered nothing but positive results. We are committed to providing safe schools for all children. Our equal access policy enhances, rather than diminishes, school safety.

In fact, both parents and students have welcomed the news that transgender students in our school district have access to bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. [Huffington Post, 8/12/13]

CA Lawmaker: "No Single Reported Incident Of Any Misconduct" In School Districts With Similar Policies. According to the Huffington Post:

Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, said several major California school districts have had similar policies for years covering thousands of students.

"To date there's been no single reported incident of any misconduct," Lara said. "Let's not confuse silly behavior issues with sensitive gender identity issues." [Huffington Post, 7/3/13]

Access To Appropriate School Facilities Reduces Bullying, Improves Academic Performance

Colorado Rights Division: Denying Access To Appropriate School Facilities "Creates An Environment That Is Objectively And Subjectively Hostile, Intimidating, Or Offensive." According to a June 24 CNN article discussing the case of Coy Mathis, a transgender first-grader in Colorado who won the right to use the girls' bathroom :

A transgender first-grader who was born a boy but identifies as a girl has won the right to use the girls' restroom at her Colorado school.

The Colorado Rights Division ruled in favor of Coy Mathis in her fight against the Fountain-Fort Carson School District.

Coy's parents had taken her case to the commission after the district said she could no longer use the girls' bathroom at Eagleside Elementary. In issuing its decision, the state's rights division said keeping the ban in place "creates an environment that is objectively and subjectively hostile, intimidating or offensive." [CNN, 7/24/13]

American Psychological Association: Transgender Youth Should Be Free From Discrimination In School Environments. According to the APA's statement on Transgender, Gender Identity, & Gender Expression Non-Discrimination:

Whereas gender variant and transgender people may be denied basic civil rights and protections (Minter, 2003; Spade, 2003) including: the right to civil marriage which confers a social status and important legal benefits, rights, and privileges (Paige, 2005); the right to obtain appropriate identity documents that are consistent with a post-transition identity; and the right to fair and safe and harassment-free institutional environments such as care facilities, treatment centers, shelters, housing, schools, prisons and juvenile justice programs;

[...]

Whereas many gender variant and transgender children and youth face harassment and violence in school environments, foster care, residential treatment centers, homeless centers and juvenile justice programs (D'Augelli, Grossman, & Starks, 2006; Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, 2003; Grossman, D'Augelli, & Slater, 2006);

[...]

Therefore be it further resolved that APA supports efforts to provide safe and secure educational environments, at all levels of education, as well as foster care environments and juvenile justice programs, that promote an understanding and acceptance of self and in which all youths, including youth of all gender identities and expressions, may be free from discrimination, harassment, violence, and abuse; [APA Policy Statement on Transgender, Gender Identity, & Gender Expression Non-Discrimination, August 2008]

Transgender Students Face High Levels Of Bullying, Harassment. According to a May 2011 report for the National Center for Transgender Equality, transgender students typically face "a hostile school climate with regular harassment from peers":

Mounting research demonstrates that bullying and peer violence based on gender identity and gender stereotypes represent a serious, national problem, touching the lives of nearly every transgender and gender nonconforming young person in our nation. Of transgender 6th through 12th graders around the country (n=295) who responded to the National School Climate Survey, most experienced a hostile school climate with regular harassment from peers. (Greytak, Kosciw & Diaz 2009). Results included the following:

  • More than four of five transgender youth (82%) reported that they felt unsafe at school because of who they were.
  • Nearly nine out of ten reported experiencing transphobic or homophobic harassment from peers, and most reported that it happened "often" or "frequently."
  • A majority of transgender students said they had been shoved, pushed, or otherwise physically harassed at school in the last year.
  • Nearly half (44%) of transgender students said they've been punched, kicked, or injured with a weapon on at least one occasion in the last year.
  • Three out of four (76%) reported that they had experienced unwanted sexual remarks or touching from peers.
  • Large majorities reported both cyberbullying (62%) and the theft or destruction of their property (67%) by peers. [National Center for Transgender Equality, May 2011]

Anti-LGBT Harassment Has Long-Term Health Effects On Students. According to the Tuscon Sentinel, students who experience bullying due to their sexual orientation or gender identity are "more likely to report physical and mental health problems" later in life:

A new study shows that LGBT students who experienced high levels of school victimization are more likely to report physical and mental health problems in early adulthood.

San Francisco State University's Family Acceptance Project, the only community research, intervention, education and policy initiative that works to decrease rejection of LGBT children, conducted the study with 245 California LGBT adults between the ages 21-25.

Out of the participants, 90 percent reported hearing the word 'gay' in a derogatory way, 85 percent had been verbally harassed due to their sexual orientation, and 44 percent reported physical harassment.

LGBT students who reported high levels of victimization, compared to those who reported low levels of victimization, were 2.6 times more likely to report depression above the clinical cut off, and 5.6 times more likely to report having attempted suicide at least once, and having a suicide attempt that required medical attention, the study showed.

Also, students who reported high levels of victimization were more than twice as likely to having reported a STD diagnosis, and having been at risk for HIV infection.

In comparison, LGBT young adults who reported low levels of victimization reported higher levels of self-esteem, life satisfaction and social integration compared to those who experienced higher levels of victimization. [Tuscon Sentinel, 5/19/11]

Experts: Fox's Misleading, Transphobic Coverage Leads To Violence, Discrimination. Experts on transgender equality have condemned Fox News' misleading coverage of transgender issues, warning that the network "further stigmatizes" the transgender community and contributes to transphobic violence and discrimination. [Media Matters, 7/18/13]

]]>
Tyler Hansen & Carlos Maza http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201308140005 Wed, 14 Aug 2013 15:06:19 EDT
REPORT: NBC News&rsquo; Olympic Coverage Ignores Controversy Over Russia&rsquo;s Anti-Gay Law http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201308090002 NBC Sports has pledged to expose Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” law during its exclusive coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Since the law’s passage on June 10, however, NBC’s news programming has almost completely ignored the controversy surrounding the measure, raising concerns about their willingness to report on the law during the event next February.

Russia’s Anti-Gay “Propaganda” Law Could Threaten Gay Olympians, Visitors During 2014 Winter Games

Russia’s Parliament Unanimously Adopted “Deeply Conservative” Law Banning Gay “Propaganda.” According to The Guardian, the passage of the law, which effectively “makes it illegal to equate straight and gay relationships,” has led to a spike in anti-gay violence:

Russia's parliament has unanimously passed a federal law banning gay "propaganda" amid a Kremlin push to enshrine deeply conservative values that critics say has already led to a sharp increase in anti-gay violence.

The law passed 436-0 on Tuesday, with just one deputy abstaining from voting on the bill, which bans the spreading of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" among minors.

The law in effect makes it illegal to equate straight and gay relationships, as well as the distribution of material on gay rights. It introduces fines for individuals and media groups found guilty of breaking the law, as well as special fines for foreigners.

[…]

International rights groups have called the current situation in Russia the worst human rights climate in the post-Soviet era. [The Guardian6/11/13]

Despite Assurances, Propaganda Law Could Threaten Openly Gay Olympic Athletes, Visitors During 2014 Winter Games. According to Gay Star News, the law will be enforced during the 2014 Winter Olympics:

A Russian lawmaker has said the ‘gay propaganda’ law will remain enforced during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in 2014.

Vitaly Milonov, co-sponsor of the ‘non-traditional relationships’ bill, said the government cannot decide when to selectively enforce the law.

It comes as the International Olympic Committee said the Russian government had ‘assured’ them all athletes and spectators will be safe from arrest.

Speaking to Interfax and as translated by GSN, Milonov said: ‘I have not heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation but I know it is acting in accordance with Russian law.

‘If a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.’ [Gay Star News, 7/30/13]

NBC Sports Has Pledged To Report On Russia’s Anti-Gay Policies “As They Are Relevant” To The Games

NBCUniversal Will Have Exclusive Coverage Of 2014 Winter Olympics. According to the International Olympic Committee:

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today awarded NBCUniversal (NBCU) the broadcast rights in the US for the XXII Olympic Winter Games (2014) in Sochi, Russia, and the Games of the XXXI Olympiad (2016) in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, as well as the 2018 and 2020 Olympic Games, which have yet to be awarded to a host city.

NBCU has acquired the broadcast rights across all media platforms, including free-to-air television, subscription television, internet and mobile. The total agreement is valued at USD 4.38 billion. [Olympic.org, 7/6/11]

Human Rights Campaign: NBC Has “Responsibility” To Expose Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws During Olympic Coverage. In a letter to NBCUniversal, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin urged the network to discuss Russia’s anti-gay policies during its Olympic coverage:

NBCUniversal, which has the exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics in the United States, has a unique opportunity – and a responsibility – to expose this inhumane and unjust law to the millions of American viewers who will tune in to watch the Games. You no doubt agree that it wouldn’t be right to air the opening ceremonies, which is an hours-long advertisement for the host country, without acknowledging that a whole segment of the Russian population – not to mention foreign athletes and visitors – can be jailed for an immutable aspect of their identity. [Letter via Buzzfeed, 6/24/13]

NBC Sports: We Will Cover Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws “As They Are Relevant At The Time Of The Games.” According to Variety, NBC Sports will cover the controversy as part of its Olympics coverage in February 2014:

NBC Sports chief Mark Lazarus on Saturday acknowledged that the network will address the controversy stirred by Russia’s new anti-gay laws in the Peacock’s coverage of February’s winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Lazarus sought to head off a questioning frenzy on the issue that has made headlines during the past week after Russian legislators enacted laws that could potentially lead to the arrest of gay athletes who travel to Sochi for the competition. Lazarus noted that the Olympics has long been affected by social and cultural issues of the day.

“We will address those issues as they are relevant at the time of the Games, as has always been done by NBC’s coverage,” Lazarus said at the start of the TCA sesh on the winter Games.

[…]

“Governments across the world have different laws” that many find distasteful but are not a source of friction “as long as it doesn’t affect us.”

Lazarus added: “If it is still their law and impacting any part of the Olympic games we will acknowledge it.” And he quickly sought to distance NBC and Comcast from any suggestion that they condone discrimination.

“We don’t believe in the spirit of the law that they have passed and are hopeful that the Olympic spirit will win out,” he said.[Variety7/27/13]

Analysis: NBC News Has Largely Ignored Controversy Over Russia’s Anti-Gay Law

NBC News Has Made Almost No Mention Of Controversy Over Russia’s Anti-Gay Law. According to an Equality Matters analysis of NBC News’ coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics, NBC News mentioned the controversy surrounding Russia’s anti-gay law only once between June 10 – when the law passed – and August 5, despite devoting several segments to the upcoming event:

Methodology

Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by Nexis and our internal archives for the words “Russia,” “gay,” “Sochi,” and “Olympic!” between June 10 and August 5. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded. NBC News programs include TodayNBC Nightly News, and Meet the Press with David Gregory

Segments were considered Olympic coverage if they focused on some aspect of the Olympic Games, including former and future Winter Olympians.

]]>
Luke Brinker & Carlos Maza http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201308090002 Fri, 09 Aug 2013 11:58:47 EDT
REPORT: Fox News Ignores Russia's Anti-Gay Crackdown, Winter Olympics Controversy http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201308070001 In June, Russia's parliament passed a draconian law that would prohibit the spreading of pro-gay "propaganda" to minors, raising concerns from human rights activists who fear the measure will be used as a tool of political repression against LGBT. The law poses a special threat to openly gay Olympians and visitors who will be traveling to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Despite the law's domestic and international significance, which received coverage on both CNN and MSNBC, Fox News failed to mention the controversy surrounding the measure.

Russia Passed A Draconian Measure Cracking Down On Pro-Gay "Propaganda"

Russia's Parliament Unanimously Adopted "Deeply Conservative" Law Banning Gay "Propaganda." According to The Guardian:

Russia's parliament has unanimously passed a federal law banning gay "propaganda" amid a Kremlin push to enshrine deeply conservative values that critics say has already led to a sharp increase in anti-gay violence.

The law passed 436-0 on Tuesday, with just one deputy abstaining from voting on the bill, which bans the spreading of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" among minors.

The law in effect makes it illegal to equate straight and gay relationships, as well as the distribution of material on gay rights. It introduces fines for individuals and media groups found guilty of breaking the law, as well as special fines for foreigners.

[...]

International rights groups have called the current situation in Russia the worst human rights climate in the post-Soviet era. [The Guardian6/11/13]

Anti-Propaganda Laws Have Been Used As "Tools Of Political Repression" Against LGBT Russians. According to The Nation:

[M]any in Russia's LGBT community fear the legislation will tacitly condone discrimination and violence against sexual minorities. LGBT activists are already regularly beaten here, and two men were gruesomely murdered in separate incidents in May, allegedly for being gay.

"These social consequences are a lot more dangerous than any fines for 5,000 rubles or a ban on public events or something like that, because they are connected with people's individual fates," said the well-known lawyer and gay-rights activist Nikolai Alekseyev.

[...]

Alekseyev said that regional gay propaganda laws have been used as tools of political repression, not as safeguards against corrupting children. The activist was himself fined in 2012 under St. Petersburg's law against gay propaganda among minors after he stood in front of city hall holding a sign with a quote from Soviet actress Faina Ranevskaya, "Homosexuality is not perversion. Perversion is hockey on the grass and ballet on the ice."

The federal gay propaganda law will hit LGBT activists with stiffer fines, lead to even more arrests at street rallies and possibly exacerbate the beatings they already face at the hands of counter-protesters. [The Nation6/28/13]

Human Rights Watch: Russian Policy Violates International Human Rights Law. According to a report by Human Rights Watch:

Russia is a party to the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and so has undertaken legal obligations to guarantee the rights to freedom of assembly and expression and to ensure the enjoyment of those rights without discrimination. The European Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Committee have both issued several decisions that make it abundantly clear to any state party that the type of legislation banning "homosexual propaganda," which already exists in five regions of Russia and is proposed on federal level, would violate those rights and be a breach of international human rights law. [Human Rights Watch, 6/29/12]

Analysis: Cable News Outlets Initially Ignored Passage Of Russia's Anti-Gay Law

Only MSNBC Mentioned Passage Of Russian Anti-Gay Law In June. According to an Equality Matters analysis of cable news coverage of Russia's anti-gay law, only MSNBC mentioned the June 10 passage of Russia's anti-gay law during the period between June 3 and June 22: 

Russia's Anti-Propaganda Law Could Threaten Gay Olympians, Visitors During 2014 Olympics

International Olympic Committee: Russia's Anti-Gay Law Won't Apply To Olympic Games. According to The Baltimore Sun:

After mounting concern about how Russia's anti-gay law would affect athletes headed to next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, the International Olympic Committee has finally released a statement saying it will "work to ensure" no discrimination against LGBT participants.

"The International Olympic Committee is clear that sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation," the statement reads. The organization also says it will make sure "the Games can take place without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators and the media."

Several LGBT advocacy groups called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics following last month's passage of a Russian law that bans "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations." Activists have raised concerns that the law's vague language gives Russian authorities plenty of leeway in determining just what "propaganda" means, with some worried that public declarations of same-sex love could result in fines or jail times. [The Baltimore Sun7/18/2013]

Despite Assurances, Propaganda Law Could Threaten Openly Gay Olympic Athletes, Visitors During 2014 Winter Games In Sochi. According to Gay Star News:

A Russian lawmaker has said the 'gay propaganda' law will remain enforced during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in 2014.

Vitaly Milonov, co-sponsor of the 'non-traditional relationships' bill, said the government cannot decide when to selectively enforce the law.

It comes as the International Olympic Committee said the Russian government had 'assured' them all athletes and spectators will be safe from arrest.

Speaking to Interfax and as translated by GSN, Milonov said: 'I have not heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation but I know it is acting in accordance with Russian law.

'If a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn't have the authority.' [Gay Star News, 7/30/13]

Russian Sports Minister: "No One Is Forbidding" Gay Athletes From Attending, But They Will Be "Held Accountable" If They Start "Propagandizing." According to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti Sports:

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko warned Thursday that athletes and visitors to the Sochi Olympics will be subject to the country's laws against promoting homosexuality, contradicting a statement from the International Olympic Committee that the government had promised they would be exempt.

The IOC told R-Sport Friday it "has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games," which start February 7.

But in the first reaction from the government since the IOC made that claim, Mutko appeared to set the record straight.

"No one is forbidding an athlete with non-traditional sexual orientation from coming to Sochi, but if he goes onto the street and starts propagandizing it, then of course he will be held accountable," Mutko told R-Sport. [RIA Novosti Sport, 8/1/13]

Russian Official: Gay Athletes Who "Engage In Propaganda ... Will Be Punished In Line With Russian Legislation." According to Interfax:

Russia's new law banning gay propaganda must not be violated even during the Olympic Games on Sochi but representatives of the LGBT community should not be punished for their sexual orientation alone, Igor Ananskikh, deputy chairman of the State Duma's Physical Culture, Sport and Youth Policy Committee, told Interfax on Friday. 

"The Olympic Games is a major international event. We need to be as polite and tolerant as possible," he said.

"The law came into force and cannot be neutralized, however, individuals with unconventional sexual orientation can also be participants of the Olympiad. But under the law they will be unable to engage in propaganda, otherwise they will be punished in line with Russian legislation," he said.

"Russia plans to host large international competitions in the future. The atmosphere at them must be as safe and polite as possible," Ananskikh said. 

For his part, Nikolay Alexeyev, a leader of the Russian LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, told Interfax that several athletes have already announced their readiness to show up for the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi holding flags and symbols of the LGBT community. [Interfax, 8/2/13, emphasis added]

Analysis: Fox News Has Ignored Olympic Controversy Over Russia's Anti-LGBT Law

Fox News Has Failed To Cover Controversy Over Russian Law. According to an Equality Matters analysis of cable news coverage on the Russian law, Fox News has spent zero seconds reporting the controversy surrounding Russia's anti-propaganda law and the 2014 Winter Games between July 18 and August 5. CNN and MSNBC devoted more than 67 and 20 minutes to the controversy, respectively:

Methodology

Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by TV Eyes for the words "Russia," "gay," "homosexuality," and "LGBT" between June 3 and 21. The same search was conducted between July 18 - the day after the IOC claimed Olympic visitors would be exempt from the law - and August 5. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded. Passing references to the controversy during discussions of other topics were also excluded.  

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Luke Brinker & Carlos Maza http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201308070001 Wed, 07 Aug 2013 08:58:26 EDT
Debunking The Lies About San Antonio's Proposed LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201308020001 Right-wing media outlets have smeared a proposed measure in San Antonio to expand the city's non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity, falsely claiming that the revised measure would limit free speech and religious liberty.

San Antonio City Council Is Considering Ordinance To Expand Its Non-Discrimination Policy

Proposed Ordinance Would Expand Existing Non-Discrimination Policy To Include Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity. According to Current:

The long-awaited vote to determine whether or not the city will allow LGBT residents to be discriminated against is slated for August. The non-discrimination ordinance, proposed by District 1 Councilmember Diego Bernal, prevents gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents from discrimination in hiring and firing, public accommodations, fair housing, city employment, contracts and board appointments by adding sexual orientation and gender identity (and veteran status, regardless of sexual orientation) to the city code. If passed, the measure would put San Antonio on par with other major metro cities in the state like Houston, Dallas and Austin. [Current, 7/31/13]

Ordinance Originally Included Language That Would Allow City Council Members To Consider Prior Anti-LGBT Bias When Making Appointments. According to KTBC Fox 7:

The ordinance, being pushed by San Antonio Councilman Diego Bernal and Mayor Julian Castro, reads "no person shall be appointed to a position if the city council finds such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or disability." [KTBC Fox 7, 7/31/13]

Ordinance Would Add Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity To Current Non-Discrimination Law. San Antonio’s current non-discrimination policy already allows city council members to consider prior bias when making appointments. According to Article 1, Section 2-8 of San Antonio’s Code of Ordinances:

Sec. 2-9. Policy governing appointment of persons demonstrating bias on basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, age or handicap.

No person shall be appointed to a position if the council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, age, or handicap. No appointed official or member of a board or commission, shall engage in discrimination or demonstrate a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group of persons, or organization on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, age, or handicap, while serving in such public position. Violation of this standard shall be considered malfeasance in office, and the council shall be authorized to take action as provided by law to remove the offending person from office. [San Antonio City Code, accessed 8/2/13]

Myth: Ordinance Threatens Free Speech, Would Ban Christians From Public Office

Fox News' Shannon Bream: Ordinance Is A "First Amendment Rights Issue." On the July 31 edition of Fox News' America Live, guest host Shannon Bream stated:

Major debate over a First Amendment rights issue heating up in San Antonio as the city considers a controversial measure that critics say challenges freedom of speech and religion. A rule could block the hiring of anyone who speaks out against homosexuality because of their moral or religious beliefs, and that includes Christian business owners. [Fox News, America Live, 7/31/13]

Sirius XM's David Webb: Ordinance Disregards The "Right To Believe The Way You Believe." On the July 31 edition of America Live, Webb argued:

The fact is, we have First Amendment rights in this country, and nowhere in this ordinance is there equal protection of First Amendment rights. You have a right to believe the way you believe in America under the Constitution. You also do under the Texas Religious Freedom Act. So you have a state constitution, and [a] United States constitutional issue.

This is not about - this is a broader anti-religion effort done by many groups who want to paint religion as abject enemy of everything that's fair. [...] This is an effort to restrict one person's freedom under the guise of equal treatment. [Fox News, America Live, 7/31/13]

The Washington Times: Ordinance Imperils Freedom Of Speech.  According to The Washington Times' editorial board:

The First Amendment took a hit in San Antonio last week, but the Constitution is still breathing. The San Antonio City Council voted to consider a city ordinance disqualifying anyone who believes homosexual conduct is wrong from serving, ever, on a municipal board. The ban is to be applied "if the City Council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed" against various protected classes, and for the first time to include sexual orientation and "gender identity." [The Washington Times7/30/13]

The Washington Times: Ordinance "Could Effectively Ban Christians ... From Serving On The City Council." According to the Times' report on the ordinance:

According to Pastor Charles Flowers of Faith Outreach International, the amended ordinance includes two new categories to the policy: sexual orientation and gender identity. Judging by the vague language of the draft, the ordinance could effectively ban Christians, many of whom believe homosexuality is a sin, from serving on the city council if they have expressed that belief publicly. [The Washington Times7/24/13]

WND: Measure Would "Discriminate Against All Who Take The Bible At Its Word And Follow It." A WND article claimed:

Think it's hot in Texas these days? Just wait a few weeks, until the San Antonio City Council ends its summer hiatus and resumes work on a proposed change to its nondiscrimination ordinances that apparently will discriminate against all who take the Bible at its word and follow it.

That's because the change creates a penalty for those who ever exhibit a "bias," which clearly could include adopting the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality, with a permanent ban on participation in city government, business or employment. [WND.com, 7/23/13]

Fact: Ordinance Is Consistent With City Council's Longstanding Discretionary Appointment Power

Councilman Diego Bernal: Ordinance Consistent With Council's Longstanding Discretionary Appointment Power. In an interview with Equality Matters, San Antionio City Councilman Diego Bernal, the ordinance's sponsor, stated:

The most important line in that is "no person shall be appointed to a position if the city council finds..." That's not automatic. That's not strict liability. The way that works is, if I'm going to appoint you to a board or a commission, the whole council still has to vote in you as a nominee, right? And my colleagues can vote for or against you for whatever reason they want. All that provision meant was, of the things you can consider are past deeds or words. But I can do that without that provision. I can not vote for you because I don't like your shoes... That's sort of the discretion authority that the council already has. And it's the current law. [Statement to Equality Matters, 7/31/13]

Ordinance Also Prohibits Religion-Based Discrimination. According to Section 2-550 of the proposed ordinance:

Sec. 2-550. - Non-Discrimination Policy.

(a)    It shall be the general policy of the City of San Antonio to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or disability, as set forth in the Divisions following, unless exempted by state or federal law or as otherwise indicated. [Proposed Ordinance, via OneNewsNow, 7/23/13]

Fact: Ordinance Has Been Revised To Be Consistent With The First Amendment

Language Pertaining To Prior Biased Speech Has Been Struck From The Ordinance. According to the most recent version of Section 2-552 of the ordinance:

Sec. 2-552. - Appointed Officials, Boards and Commissions.

(a)     Appointments to Boards and Commissions.

         When making appointments to boards and commissions, the City shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or handicapdisability.  

(b)     Prior Discriminatory Acts.

         No person shall be appointed to a position if the City Council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age, or handicapdisability.

(c) Discrimination by Appointed Officials - Malfeasance.

         (1)  No appointed official or member of a board or commission shall engage in discrimination or demonstrate a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group of persons, or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or handicapdisability, while servingacting in such public position.

(2)  Violation of this standard shall be considered malfeasance in office, and the City Council shall be authorized to take action as provided by law to remove the offending person from office. [Updated Ordinance Proposal, 7/31/13]

Language Change Is Aimed At Allaying Free Speech Concerns. According to local news outlet KENS 5 San Antonio:

The original idea was met with much protest because people felt it went against their First Amendment rights, now the councilman is taking what he calls a proactive approach.

"I decided to look if I can still maintain the strength of the ordinance and provide some [peace] of mind to people who are concerned about the section, then we'll take the section out," Bernal said.

Bernal made the revisions to the original ordinance, and said it tightens language to be all-inclusive, in a document that hasn't been revised in decades. He also said the intention was to protect the citizens of this community, not discriminate against anyone for religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity. [KENS5.com, 7/26/13]

Myth: Religious Businesses, Organizations Will Be Shut Down

Pastor Charles Flowers: Under The Ordinance, Christians And Conservatives "Can't Operate Their Businesses ... Anymore." Flowers stated on The Janet Mefferd Show:

Both churches, nonprofit organizations, individuals, businesses that are not necessarily a part of the faith community but have adhered to a traditional moral value set in relationship to this subject of homosexuality and transgender identity - they can't operate their businesses that way anymore.

Janet, this is 2013. And we're talking about the encroachment of a government into the practice of peoples' lives seeking even to define how religion operates and how they operate as individuals or businessmen and women. This is unheard of. [The Janet Mefferd Show7/30/13]

Fox News Radio's Todd Starnes:"Businesses Run By People Of Faith Would Be Subject To Criminal Penalties" Due To Ordinance. According to an article Starnes wrote for Fox News Radio:

Churches across San Antonio are expressing outrage over a proposed anti-discrimination law that would protect LGBT workers but would not provide a religious exemption and would effectively prohibit anyone who opposes homosexuality from holding public office or getting a city contract.

[...]

[Critics] also believe the ordinance would also ban the city from doing business with anyone who fails to espouse politically correct views and businesses run by people of faith would be subject to criminal penalties if they refused to provide services that conflict with their religious beliefs related to homosexuality.[Fox News Radio, 7/30/13]

Fact: Ordinance Includes Exemptions For Religious Businesses And Institutions

Religious Organizations Are Exempt From The Ordinance's Employment Discrimination Provisions. According to Section 2-550 (b) of the ordinance:

Sec. 2-550. - Non-Discrimination Policy.

[...]

(b)     A religious corporation, association, society or educational institution or an educational organization operated, supervised or controlled in whole or in substantial part by a religious corporation, association or society does not violate the non-discrimination policy by limiting employment or giving a preference in employment to members of the same religion. [Proposed Ordinance, via OneNewsNow, 7/23/13]

Religious Organizations Are Exempt From The Ordinance's Public Accommodation Discrimination Provisions. According to Section 2-594 of the ordinance:

Sec. 2-594. -Exemptions.

This Division shall not, however, apply to any hotel, motel, restaurant or theater operated by a bona fide private club not conducted for the purpose of evading this Division when the accommodations, advantages, facilities and services are restricted to the members of such club and their guests; nor to any bona fide social, fraternal, educational, civic, political or religious organization, when the profits of such accommodations, advantages, facilities and services, above reasonable and necessary expenses, are solely for the benefit of such organization. [Proposed Ordinance, via OneNewsNow, 7/23/13]

Religious Organizations Are Exempt From The Ordinance's Housing Discrimination Provisions.  According to Section 2-635 of the ordinance:

Sec. 2-635. - Religious Organizations and Private Clubs Exempted

(a) This Division does not prohibit a religious organization, association, or society, or a nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, from:

(1) Limiting the sale, rental, or occupy dwellings that it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose to persons of the same religion; or

(2) Giving preference for such dwellings to persons of the same religion, unless membership in the religion is restricted because of race, color or national origin. [Proposed Ordinance, via OneNewsNow, 7/23/13]

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Luke Brinker & Carlos Maza http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201308020001 Fri, 02 Aug 2013 09:33:07 EDT