‘License for Discrimination’: Texas Senate Advances Anti-LGBTQ Bill

Doctors, child care providers, counselors and other state-licensed workers who refuse to provide services based on “a sincerely held religious belief” would be protected under Senate Bill 17.

Texas gay marriage

The Texas Senate on Tuesday gave its initial OK to a bill that civil rights advocates say would give state-licensed workers — including doctors, child care providers and counselors — a free pass to discriminate, especially against people in the LGBTQ community.

Senate Bill 17, filed by state Senator Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, would bar state agencies that issue occupational licenses from penalizing workers who refuse to provide services based on “a sincerely held religious belief.” A worker could still be sued or fired, but the legislation would provide a legal defense in court, Perry said. The state licenses more than 150 types of workers, from cosmetologists to engineers. The bill would not apply in situations with a risk of death or serious bodily injury.

The bill, which has the support of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, has prompted a vocal backlash. Dozens of people testified against the proposal in a committee hearing last week, while only a handful spoke in favor. Echoing the response to the 2017 “bathroom bill,” businesses including Apple, Google and Dell signed a letter opposing the bill, as well as another measure that would endanger local nondiscrimination policies. During debate Tuesday, Perry said he didn’t read the letter and views his proposal as a moral issue rather than an economic one.

SB 17 tentatively passed the upper chamber on a vote of 19-12, with Democrat Eddie Lucio of Brownsville and Republican Kel Seliger of Amarillo bucking party lines. Because the Senate requires a three-fifths majority, the bill would have died without Lucio’s blessing. Two companion House bills have been referred to committees in the lower chamber, but neither has received a hearing.

During floor debate, Seliger questioned whether a state-licensed worker should be able to deny service to a gay couple or a Muslim person. “When do you tell the difference between firmly held religious belief and bias?” he asked. Perry responded that there is “no real definition” of a sincerely held religious belief: “It’s what you practice and what you believe.”

TExasObserver.org, By Vicki Camerillo, April 4, 2019

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Americans Show Broad Support for LGBT Nondiscrimination Protections

Across Lines of Party, Demographics, and Geography, Americans Broadly Support Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBT People

gay america

Americans remain supportive of broad nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Nearly seven in ten (69%) Americans favor laws that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in the job market, public accommodations, and housing.

Support by Age Group

Younger Americans are 17 percentage points more likely than older Americans to say they support laws protecting LGBT people from various forms of discrimination. More than three-quarters (76%) of younger Americans (ages 18-29) favor such laws, compared to (59%) of seniors (ages 65 and older).

Support by Political Party and Ideology

Support for nondiscrimination protections enjoys broad support across the political spectrum. Majorities of Democrats (79%), independents (70%), and Republicans (56%) say they favor laws that would shield LGBT people from various kinds of discrimination. While support among Democrats and independents has remained relatively constant, Republican support for these provisions has fallen five percentage points over the past few years, down from (61%)  in 2015.

Majorities of liberals (81%), moderates (76%), and conservatives (55%) all favor nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people.

Ideological differences are more pronounced among Democrats and independents than among Republicans. The biggest intra-party divide is among Democrats: Liberal Democrats (87%) are likelier than moderate (76%) and conservative (61%) Democrats to favor nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBT people. Liberal (79%) and moderate (78%) independents are also likelier than conservative independents (58%) to support nondiscrimination protections.

Notably, self-identified moderate Republicans (69%) are likelier than self-identified liberal Republicans (59%) or conservative Republicans (53%) to favor laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination. Conservative Democrats (61%) are about as likely as liberal Republicans (59%) to favor nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people.

PRRI.org, March 12, 2019 by
Daniel GreenbergEmma BeyerMaxine Najle, PhDOyindamola BolaRobert P. Jones, PhD

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What’s covered under New York’s new IVF law?

The New York Law will cover fertility treatment, including IVF, for up to 2.4 million

frozen eggs

With more young women and men delaying parenthood, the demand for fertility treatments such as egg freezing and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) has grown across the country.

Legislation and science have lagged behind the trend, and the cost of the treatments can be prohibitively expensive.

A new law, enacted in the 2020 state budget, mandates that certain large-group insurance plans cover IVF, and requires all private insurance companies to cover medically necessary egg freezing.

It is projected to benefit to up to 2.4 million New Yorkers, according to figures from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration, but there are kinks to iron out before it guarantees coverage to the other half of insured New Yorkers, including gay men, Medicaid-recipients, and the self-employed.

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, the first woman to hold that position, pushed for IVF legislation in the spending plan, citing it as a top priority for the two-year-old Council for Women and Girls.

DeRosa, 36, said that she understands the anxiety of women in her age group who are pressured to decide between advancing their careers and starting a family.

There is nothing more personal or life altering than the ability to conceive and making the choice about when to conceive,” DeRosa said. “As someone who is currently facing these life-altering decisions, I know firsthand the toll they take — emotionally and financially.”

TimesUnion.com by Rachel Silberstein, April 1, 2019

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New Report Shows International Adoption Edging Closer To Extinction

The industry’s overregulation is making it increasingly difficult for willing families to take the plunge and attempt international adoption.

Rachel Garber always knew she wanted to adopt a child. Besides having grown up with five adopted siblings, in 2007 she made a memorable trip to the Chinese city of Xi’an, where she spent a month volunteering at a home for abandoned babies. “During this trip my feelings on adoption were solidified,” she says. “I met my husband Ryan in 2010, and he knew right away that if we got married, we would end up going to China for a child.”

While those plans were temporarily put on hold after their son Nixon was born with special needs, in 2017 the Garbers were finally matched with a little boy in China. After committing to his file, they learned that he was from the very city where Rachel had previously volunteered: Xi’an. “It was meant to be,” she says.

Rachel and Ryan brought their second son, Nolan, home from China to Wyoming last year. Today he is 3 1/2 years old and thriving. His mom describes him as “very loving and yet very strong-willed!” A nearby doctor happens to be the foremost authority in Nolan’s area of medical need. “From the moment we met our son, he has been a joy,” Rachel says. “We have had many hard days, or days where I question my ability, but I can’t imagine our life without him.”

In a nation where tens of thousands of families have adopted children from overseas, the Garbers’ story may sound familiar. But it is a story that is growing increasingly rare. International adoptions to America have been falling dramatically for the past 15 years, and a recent report shows that the decline hasn’t slowed.

The U.S. Department of State’s annual intercountry adoption report to Congress, released in March, shows that Nolan Garber was one of just 4,059 children adopted from overseas in FY 2018. This represents a 13 percent decline since the prior year, an 82 percent decline since intercountry adoption’s peak in 2004, and a new historic low.

Why Is International Adoption Disappearing?

In its report, the Department of State (DOS)—which functions as the U.S. authority over international adoption—offers a few explanations for the latest decline. It notes that the largest decrease last year occurred in China, where the communist government has been suppressing the activities of all foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

TheFederalist.com, By Wendy Metzgar, April 2, 2019

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