Patrick Russell

  • Censure Commissioner Hurst, make Sevier County policies inclusive

    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.

    1,739 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. 

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  • signed Call on the Coffee County DA to Resign 2019-06-14 09:35:13 -0500

    Call on the Coffee County DA to Resign

    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.

    432 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.

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  • signed Veto SB1297/HB1151 2019-05-02 22:54:09 -0500

    Veto SB1297/HB1151

    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.

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  • The People's Petition Against the Slate of Hate

    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.

    385 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.

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  • NO to Adoption Discrimination in Congress

    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.

    1,050 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.

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  • 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.

    1,069 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.

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  • VETO Hate Bill 1840, the Counseling Discrimination bill

     

    Please, add your voice and urge Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to veto this discriminatory bill.

    4,239 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.

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