Simon Russell signed Censure Commissioner Hurst, make Sevier County policies inclusive 2019-10-28 10:56:06 -0500
The racist and homophobic comments of Sevier County Commissioner Warren Hurst have shocked people across the country. Please, add your name to protest his divisive words and call for policy change in Sevier County, Tennessee. We will deliver your signatures to the Sevier County Government in November at the next county commission meeting.1,741 signatures
To the Honorable Larry Waters, Mayor of Sevier County, and to the honorable members of the Sevier County Commission:
Calls have gone out across the country for Commissioner Warren Hurst to resign over his racist and homophobic comments. While that decision is in his hands, we call on you to censure him by resolution of the Sevier County Commission and to update the employment non-discrimination policy of Sevier County Government to protect county employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. We urge you to make this policy change by executive order immediately, to be followed by a confirming ordinance or resolution of the County Commission.
Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott has made anti-Muslim statements and said that he does not treat LGBTQ people experiencing domestic violence the same as other survivors. He can no longer effectively serve the people of Coffee County or the thousands of people who visit Coffee County each year for Bonnaroo.433 signatures
We call on Craig Northcott to resign the office of District Attorney for Coffee County. His anti-Muslim statements and his admission that he does not treat LGBTQ domestic violence cases with respect are disqualifying for office. He must step down so that the people of Coffee County can be served by a District Attorney who will apply the law according to the principle of equal protection.
SB1297/HB1151, also known as the indecent exposure bill, was amended to remove the portions specifically targeting the transgender community. Legislators noted in committee meetings and during floor debates that it codifies existing law. If that is the case there is no reason to proceed. Given the long history of harassment of transgender people in spaces like restrooms, we believe Governor Bill Lee should veto the bill to prevent any anti-transgender misuse of the legislation.41 signatures
Dear Governor Lee,
We call on you to veto SB1297/HB1151. Even though it has been amended, risks remain for the transgender community in any bill that further enumerates Tennessee's indecent exposure law. Legislators commented during committee and floor debates that the bill merely codifies existing law. If that is the case, there is no reason to allow the bill become law, considering the potential harm to transgender people and the negative reaction of the business community.
Thank you for considering our views.
The people of Tennessee are speaking out against bills that result in discrimination against LGBTQ people in our state. Here is our statement with a summary of the bills.443 signatures
"As residents of Tennessee, we oppose these bills in the Tennessee General Assembly. They promote discrimination rather than justice and demean the worth of LGBTQ people in our state. We call on people of good will to join us in speaking out for basic fairness."
The bills are:
SB848/HB1152 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Ragan and SB1304/HB836 by Sen. Pody and Rep. Rudd. These bills promote state-sanctioned discrimination by private adoption agencies against prospective parents on the basis of religious and moral objection.
SB364/HB563 by Sen. Gardenhire and Rep. Zachary. The Business License to Discriminate bill. The bill casts businesses rather than the LGBTQ community as possible victims of discrimination and opens the door to taxpayer funded discrimination.
SB1297/HB1151 by Sen. Pody and Rep. Ragan. While the bill seems to be about indecent exposure, its original text is a devious attempt to criminalize transgender and gender nonconforming people in restrooms and locker rooms. The bill has been amended in a House subcommittee to remove the portions targeting the transgender community. We want to make sure the amendment remains on the bill.
SB1499/HB1274 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Holt. This bill requires the Attorney General to defend school districts that engage in anti-transgender bathroom discrimination.
SB1282/HB1369 by Sen. Pody and Rep. J. Sexton. The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act is an attack on marriage equality.
Simon Russell signed Urge Gov. Haslam to protect LGBTQ state government employees 2018-12-21 16:28:32 -0600Simon Russell
Outgoing Ohio Governor John Kasich recently signed an executive order barring discrimination against state government employees on the basis of gender identity. Discrimination based on sexual orientation was already banned.
Outgoing Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam could do the same for our state government employees. Sign the petition and urge him to protect LGBTQ state government employees by executive order. If we get 1000+ signatures, we will deliver them to the Governor's office.646 signatures
Dear Governor Haslam,
We urge you to sign an executive order protecting Tennessee state government employees from job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the same protections that Ohio state government employees enjoy thanks to the recent executive order signed by outgoing Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Employees of our public colleges and universities already enjoy these projections as do the public employees in Metro Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis, and Knox County. Everyone deserves the opportunity to work without the fear of discrimination.
Thank you for considering our views.
A foster care and adoption license to discriminate measure was recently put into a health and human services funding bill in the House Appropriations Committee.
The “Aderholt Amendment” allows foster care and adoption service providers across the country to discriminate against children and prospective parents based on sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and marital status.
We need your help to tell Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker: NO ADOPTION DISCRIMINATION in the 2019 Appropriations bill! We will deliver hard copies to their offices.1,052 signatures
Dear Senators Alexander and Corker:
We urge you to act to oppose the Aderholt amendment allowing discrimination in foster care and adoption services in the FY19 House Labor-HHS appropriations bill and ensure that the measure is NOT included in any Senate or final appropriations bill.
It would allow taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption service providers to discriminate against children in care and against prospective parents, based on sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and marital status.
The measure breaks the cardinal rule of child welfare services: to act in the best interest of the child. This amendment would actually HARM CHILDREN.
This amendment would greatly harm the 440,000 children in foster care, particularly the 117,000 who are waiting to be adopted into loving, forever homes. There is a crisis in foster care due to the huge shortage of available families for children. Each year, over half the children waiting to be adopted do not find a loving home, and most devastatingly, over 17,000 foster youth age out of care without a forever family. Those youth are at greater risk of involvement with the criminal justice system, homelessness, unemployment, and being trafficked.
Speak out against this poison pill amendment,; let your leadership know you will not support a funding bill with the measure included, and vote against any appropriations measure that includes such discriminatory provisions. Thank you for considering our views.
Simon Russell signed Urge Senators Alexander and Corker to speak up for LGBTQ people when the next Supreme Court justice is appointed 2018-06-28 10:07:20 -0500
Urge Senators Alexander and Corker to speak up for LGBTQ people when the next Supreme Court justice is appointed
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring so the President will name a successor who must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Sign to urge Senator Alexander and Senator Corker to speak up for the LGBTQ community during the confirmation process. TEP will deliver a hard copy of the signatures to their offices.1,070 signatures
Senator Alexander and Senator Corker:
When the President announces his choice to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, we urge you to speak up for the rights of LGBTQ people. It is vitally important that members of the Supreme Court support the principle of "equal protection" and that Justice Kennedy's successor uphold the existing rights of LGBTQ people and oppose discrimination against LGBTQ people. We respectfully ask you to raise these concerns publicly and not to vote for any nominee who supports discrimination.
Add your name and urge Governor Haslam to veto SB1085/HB1111, the Sneaky LGBT Erasure Bill. After you sign the petition, share it with your friends. We will deliver a hard copy of the signatures to the Governor's Office. Your voice can help determine whether he uses the VETO pen or the BECOMES LAW pen!5,723 signatures
Dear Governor Haslam,
We ask you to veto SB1085/HB1111. This bill, as the Attorney General has noted, is broadly written. Its vagueness could result in conflicts with existing laws about judicial interpretation. These conflicts are likely to cause discrimination against LGBTQ people, particularly with respect to marriage, adoption, and legal documents. This bill risks subjecting Tennessee to the same scrutiny that North Carolina has received. We cannot afford hundreds of millions of dollars in economic boycotts and sanctions. Please, veto this bill so we can avoid judicial chaos and costly discrimination. Thank you for considering our views.
On January 27, Slate reported that the EEOC may withdraw from a case involving job discrimination against Amiee Stephens, a transgender woman. New Commission chair Victoria Lipnic said "Administration-related changes" were the reason.
1. Send your own email to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at [email protected] and urge the Commission to continue pursuing cases of LGBT job discrimination.
2. Sign the petition. If we reach or exceed 1000 signatures, we will deliver them to the Nashville EEOC office.388 signatures
We urge you to continue viewing job discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people as sex discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In particular, you must continue to pursue the case of Amiee Stephens and other cases like it.
Your own report indicates there were 1768 charges of anti-LGBT job discrimination in 2016. In many states, there are no explicit protections for LGBT workers. Without your efforts, LGBT people are often defenseless against job discrimination. You must continue to pursue these cases.
Thank you for considering our views.
Simon Russell signed LGBTQ open letter to our fellow Tennesseans 2016-12-17 03:55:16 -0600Simon Russell665 signatures
An open letter from Tennessee's LGBTQ community to our fellow Tennesseans
As members of the LGBTQ community, we write to our fellow Tennesseans a month after the election and a month before the upcoming state legislative session.
In recent weeks members of our community have experienced grave assaults on our safety and dignity. A gay, gender nonconforming man was murdered. A transgender woman’s car was burned. The signs and doors of a church that affirms our community have been vandalized. A gay couple received a package with a knife sticking out and a message attached urging them to leave the state.
These attacks upon individuals and institutions have put our lives and safety at even greater risk than usual. They contravene the welcoming traditions of hospitality for which Tennessee is known.
The time we have entered is critical. Many are calling for healing in the wake of a divisive election. Healing is difficult while fresh wounds are being inflicted such as discriminatory state legislation.
So we are speaking out for our safety, dignity, and equal rights under the law.
Our struggle is not against your values, unless you value discrimination. LGBTQ Tennesseans are your neighbors, your family members, your health care providers, firefighters, grocery clerks, teachers, elected officials, and we fill many other roles vital to the life of small towns and large cities. Many of us grew up and continue to be active in the same faith communities as you.
In the long story of our community’s struggles, we have relied on our own strength to sustain us. We have also experienced the joy of working with countless allies. Now is a time for allies to speak out with us and we invite people of good will throughout the state to build a stronger, inclusive, welcoming Tennessee to meet our state’s common challenges together.
If you share these values and priorities, we invite you to add your name to this letter.
Simon Russell signed No special legislative session for bathroom discrimination! 2016-05-18 02:39:16 -0500Simon Russell
On the evening of May 17, The Tennessean and The Commercial Appeal reported that legislators are considering a special legislative session to take up a new effort to pass a statewide anti-transgender bathroom discrimination law. Sign YOUR name to the statement below and we'll deliver your signatures to legislative leaders:1,073 signatures
Dear Speaker Ramsey and Speaker Harwell:
We oppose a special legislative session to consider an anti-transgender bathroom discrimination law. It is never justified to spend the state's time and money to advance discrimination. Thank you for considering our views.
Simon Russell signed No Discrimination in Federal Contracts! 2016-05-08 17:28:46 -0500Simon Russell
In late April the U.S. House Armed Services Committee voted to undo President Obama's non-discrimination executive orders for federal contracts via the Russell amendment. This amendment is part of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Removal of the President's executive orders on non-discrimination would be a disaster for LGBT people in states like Tennessee that lack employment protections covering sexual orientation and gender identity.
Please, sign this petition to Tennessee's two U.S. Senators and nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives and we will make sure copies are sent to their offices.554 signatures
Dear Senators Alexander and Corker and Representatives Roe, Duncan, Fleischmann, Desjarlais, Cooper, Black, Blackburn, Fincher, and Cohen:
We oppose the Russell amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act and similar efforts to reverse President Obama's executive orders on employment non-discrimination for federal contractors. Protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is important to Tennesseans. Thank you for considering our views.
Target's trans-inclusive policies are under attack in Tennessee. A Mt Juliet pastor's rant went viral and this week at a Hendersonville Target, protesters shouted religious wrath at employees and customers. But we know that Tennessee loves Target and it's time to show it!
As former TEP Board member Ellyahnna Hall (pictured) notes:
"I support Target for trying to provide a safe space for all people. I'm a trans woman and I've faced the dangers of not having access to restrooms that corespond to my gender identity. If opponents are really concerned with safety then let's focus on tougher rape laws and enforcing those, not creating a fake danger that doesn't exist."
Sign the petition statement and show Target some love. We'll deliver hard copies of the petition to select Target locations in Tennessee.
Tennessee loves Target. I support the company's transgender-inclusive policies and I will continue to shop at their stores.
Sign this NEW petition urging Governor Bill Haslam to keep listening to the voices opposed to the anti-transgender student bathroom bill!1,534 signatures
Governor Haslam, please continue to oppose HB2414 and listen to the voices of transgender students and the business community speaking out against the bill. Thank you for considering our views.
Simon Russell signed VETO Hate Bill 1840, the Counseling Discrimination bill 2016-04-08 15:12:00 -0500
Please, add your voice and urge Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to veto this discriminatory bill.4,241 signatures
Dear Governor Haslam,
We urge you to veto HB1840, which allows counselors to turn away clients based on the counselor's biases and values. This bill puts the focus on the desires of counselors rather than on the needs of clients, damaging the counseling profession and putting clients at risk.
An anti-bullying amendment was stripped from the bill in the House Health Committee leaving youth vulnerable in areas where mental health services are not widely available.
Thank you for considering our views.
Simon Russell signed Governor Haslam, Fight for trans students and against SB2387/HB2414 2016-04-02 04:50:50 -0500
Please, join us in encouraging Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to fight against this attack on transgender students.985 signatures
Dear Governor Haslam,
We call on you to do everything in your power to lobby against passage of SB2387/HB2414, the anti-transgender student bathroom bill. We also ask that you VETO the bill if it reaches your desk.
The bill endangers vulnerable students and it risks significant U.S. Department of Education funds to Tennessee. If this bill became law, the enforcement would be a nightmare for school districts across the state.
Show the world that Tennessee is a welcoming state. Thank you for considering our views.
Simon Russell endorsed 2015-08-17 23:38:43 -0500
Updated with response: Stand against the hate of Minister Ben Bailey of the Central Church of Christ in McMinnville
UPDATE: Minister Ben Bailey of the Central Church of Christ called us this morning and talked about his views. He is not pro-equality, but he wants to make absolutely clear that he does NOT support the stoning of LGBT people. You can read his response at the link.
The New Civil Rights Movement has reported on the teachings of Minister Ben Bailey of the Central Church of Christ in McMinnville in which the pastor tries to justify the stoning of LGBT people as biblical.
People of faith and people of no particular faith alike reject the dangerous extremism of Pastor Bailey. At a time when hate crimes are up against LGBT people in Tennessee and at a time when the nationwide murders of transgender people in particular have reached crisis levels, such hate has no rightful place in religion or in civil society.
Despite the pastor's notoriety, hate will NOT define McMinnville or the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee. We were in McMinnville recently for the Summer of Love tour with a strong showing of equality advocates. Read the report if you doubt there are many great people in the area living their hopes for full equality. Upper Cumberland Pride, which serves the region, is an organization that is growing again and now reunited to TEP. We know they will continue to raise awareness for the safety and equality of LGBT people in the area.
We urge people of good will across the state and nation to stand with those in McMinnville and the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee and against the hateful rhetoric of Pastor Bailey. Add your name as a show of solidarity!Endorse