North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, went against his party on Thursday in a powerful rebuke against an anti-LGBTQ resolution that was passed by hundreds of Republican legislators.

Burgum denounced the controversial resolution, which states that "LGBT practices are unhealthy and dangerous, sometimes endangering or shortening life and sometimes infecting society at large," in a lengthy speech, calling it homophobic and divisive.

"As I've long said, all North Dakotans deserve to be treated equally and live free of discrimination," Burgum said in statement. "There's no place for the hurtful and divisive rhetoric in the NDGOP resolutions."

The GOP-led legislature voted in favor of several dozen resolutions -- statements of policy for the state's Republican Party -- that claim to reinforce the state's conservative morals and values on marriage, which it defines as a union between one man and one woman, state documents show. The resolutions also reject laws that protect groups based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the documents.

"The resolutions were presented for an up or down vote, and no one resolution was voted on individually," Corby Kemmer, executive director for North Dakota's Republican Party, said in a statement Wednesday. "The intent of the delegates was to stand up for individual and religious liberties, and, unfortunately, this language falls woefully short of that goal."

"We regret any offense this may have caused, and we will be reconsidering this resolution at a future meeting to bring it more in line with what delegates were attempting to communicate," he added.

Opponents of the resolution package have characterized it as a list explaining why LGBTQ protections would harm the general society.

Among other controversial statements, the documents state that: "SOGI [Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity] bills grant protection to voyeurs who wish to prey on members of the opposite sex."

It's unclear if the resolution will be reconsidered. The GOP-led state has defeated several high-profile measures over the years that aimed to ban gender-based discrimination in addition to fighting against protections for members of the LGBTQ community.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that existing civil rights laws should protect all Americans, including LGBTQ people, from employment discrimination, overriding state legislation.

State Rep. Josh Boschee, a Democrat and the first openly gay member of the North Dakota legislature, said the resolutions are made up of bold lies.

"The @NDGOP thinks NoDakotans like me are only interested in recruiting young people to a lifestyle, protecting bathroom voyeurs & infecting society. Is this how my legislative colleagues feel? Is this how Gov. @DougBurgum feels?" he tweeted.

"Thank you to the @NDGOP lawmakers who have started to speak out against this disgusting language within your party's platform," Boschee said. "I hope you'll do so earlier in the process next time & work harder to reach out to LGBT NoDakotans to hear the issues important to us & our families," he added later.

The package of resolutions was approved 621-139 after a tally of April's mail-in vote.

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans could soon be home to the nation’s first refuge for homeless transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

The House of Tulip has put in a bid on some properties that they hope to renovate for their sanctuary, founders Mariah Moore and Milan Nicole Sherry told The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate.

As of Sunday afternoon, an online fundraiser showed that 5,100 people had given over $280,000 of the $400,000 organizers say is needed to buy and begin restoring the property.

Moore, now an organizer for the Transgender Law Center, said a place like House of Tulip could have changed her life when she was a young transgender woman and became a sex worker without a permanent home.

“Imagine if you had your own small safe place, surrounded by people who are there to protect you,” she said.

Organizers say it would be more than a shelter. Ideally, said Moore, occupants would eventually be able to rent, and then to buy, the houses. Ultimately, they say, the House of Tulip — for “Trans United Leading Intersection-al Progress” — could build new small homes to expand its work.

The project grew out of one to raise money for gender nonconforming hospitality and service workers whose employers had closed or scaled back because of stay-home orders. It raised $20,000.

Sherry, 28, said she envisions the House of Tulip in 10 years as a place that the transgender community can “take care of ourselves.”

She is is a co-founder of BreakOUT!, an activist organization for LGBT youths in New Orleans.

With the House of Tulip, “we’re fighting for a space in a world that doesn’t see us as valuable, that doesn’t see our humanity,” she said.'

The late Rep. John Lewis, who died Friday at 80, was best known for his work in the civil rights movement, quite literally placing his life on the line to protect and advance the rights of Black Americans. But Lewis was also a staunch and early defender of LGBTQ rights, having cosponsored more than a dozen bills throughout his career as a lawmaker to protect and advance the rights of LGBTQ people.

Among those bills were the Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity, and of which Lewis was a lead sponsor, as well as the Respect for Marriage Act, which aimed to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and legalize same-sex marriage.

In 1996, Lewis delivered an impassioned speech against DOMA on the floor of the House, a rare showing of public support for same-sex marriage at a time when about two-thirds of Americans opposed letting gay couples marry, according to a Pew poll.

"This bill is a slap in the face of the Declaration of Independence," Lewis said at the time. "It denies gay men and women the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Marriage is a basic human right."

Following a Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, Lewis issued a statement celebrating the decision.

“As a nation, we cannot say we are committed to equality, if we do not mandate equality for every citizen. You cannot have equality for some in America and not equality for all," he said. "This is another major step down a very long road toward the realization of a fair and just society. We should embrace the decision of the United States Supreme Court. It is now the law of the land.”

Lewis linked the struggle for LGBTQ rights to those faced by Black Americans in the civil rights movement in a 2003 editorial for the Boston Globe.

"I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation," Lewis wrote. "I've heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry."

He also chastised those who called for same-sex couples to be joined in unions, but not in marriage.

"We have been down that road before in this country. Separate is not equal," he wrote. "[O]ur rights as Americans do not depend on the approval of others. Our rights depend on us being Americans."

As a member of Congress, Lewis sponsored the Every Child Deserves A Family Act, which prohibited agencies from discriminating against potential adoptive parents based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Too many children dream of a stable, loving family,” Lewis said in 2019. “Many adults want to open their homes and their hearts, but they also are facing more and more barriers, because some officials can say they practice the wrong religion, love the wrong person, or are not married."

In 2016, Lewis led a congressional sit-in against gun violence following the mass shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub in which a gunman killed 49 people, many of whom belonged to the LGBTQ community.

"John Lewis exemplified commitment to change both from outside and within," Kevin Jennings, the CEO of Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ civil rights organization, said in a statement.

In recent years, Lewis opposed the Trump administration's proposal to dismantle non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, particularly for transgender individuals. In June, he strongly criticized the administration for revising the Affordable Care Act to allow healthcare providers to deny service to transgender people amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Our nation is in the midst of a public health crisis. Never before has respecting the dignity and worth of every human being been more important," Lewis said in May. "At a moment when health care access for vulnerable communities is critical, the decision of the administration to issue this rule is a shame, a disgrace, and a blatant desertion of responsibility and duty."

In the wake of his death, LGBTQ advocates and organizations on Twitter recounted Lewis's contributions to the fight for equality, particularly in regards to LGBTQ rights.

“Future generations will learn how he faced down discrimination with courage and defiance, boldly challenging the United States to envision a future where every person, no matter their race, sexual orientation or gender identity, has an equal chance at the American Dream,” Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David said in a statement. “His legacy will live on in the work we do every day to further his mission and continue to get into ‘good trouble’ in the name of equality and justice

The state of Washington is suing the Trump administration to block the rollback of an Affordable Care Act regulation that has prohibited discrimination in health care against patients who are transgender.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal district court, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson argued that the Department of Health and Human Services’ final rule, which takes effect next month, violates patients’ constitutional rights and the purpose of the ACA to increase access to health care and insurance, by “allowing broad discrimination to interfere with important medical care.”

The lawsuit cites the US Supreme Court’s June 15 ruling, saying that the court held that “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status is unlawful discrimination because of sex,” and accuses HHS of defying the high court’s decision by publishing its rule.

The landmark Supreme Court ruling related to discrimination in the workplace and extended protection for LGBTQ workers but opened the door to other challenges to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status.

Washington state’s lawsuit asserts that the HHS rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act, a federal law that governs the way agencies can propose and establish regulations.

The lawsuit also calls the Trump administration’s rule “arbitrary and capricious, and an abuse of discretion.”

The state is seeking an injunction that would stop HHS from enforcing the rule and for the rule to be voided.

CNN has reached out to HHS for comment.

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act “prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities.” A rule enacted in 2016 interpreted the ban on sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

HHS’s final rule repeals the 2016 rule’s definition of “on the basis of sex,” but the agency has declined to replace it with a new regulatory definition.

The agency said in June that it would eliminate “certain provisions of the 2016 Rule that exceeded the scope of the authority delegated by Congress in Section 1557” and would enforce Section 1557 “by returning to the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology.”

In its lawsuit, Washington argues that the harm to residents would be “substantial and far-reaching” if the rule takes effect.

The Washington State Department of Health estimates more than 82,000 LGBTQ patients will lose protection from discrimination in healthcare and as many as 16,000 transgender patients will lose healthcare coverage for gender affirming healthcare services, the lawsuit says.

The state warned that patients’ loss in healthcare coverage for these services would result in “destructive mental health consequences including depression, substance abuse, and suicide.”

“We should be working to eliminate discrimination in our health care system, not allowing it,” Ferguson said in a press release Friday. “President (Donald) Trump’s unlawful attempt to roll back anti-discrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act directly threatens the health and lives of Washingtonians. We’re in the middle of a pandemic — broad health care coverage has rarely been more critical.”

The Washington lawsuit is not the only legal challenge against the rule. A coalition of LGBTQ health care providers and advocacy groups filed a lawsuit in June, shortly after HHS published the final rule.

HHS announced the final rule during June, which is Pride Month, an annual celebration of the LGBTQ community, and on the four-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, in which 49 people were killed at a popular LGBTQ venue in Orlando.

A Westbrook resident who identifies as a transgender man his filed a federal lawsuit against his former employer, Cafua Management, a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee, saying he was  harassed and fired in retaliation from his job at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Scarborough. According to Kye Hubbard’s attorney, it’s the first case in Maine to cite new Civil Rights protections since a June 15, 2020 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hubbard has filed a claim in U.S. District Court in Portland against Cafua Management and its subsidiary, Exit 42 Donuts, which owns the franchise at 284 Payne Road. According to the complaint, Cafua Management is the largest Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owner in the United States, owning “hundreds” of the popular doughnut shops in seven different states, including Maine.

Hubbard worked as a shift leader at the Scarborough location from February 2018 until he was let go Jan. 25, 2019. The complaint alleges the harassment began when Hubbard’s manager, Brandon Avery, revealed Hubbard’s transgender status to co-workers in May 2018, despite Hubbard’s wish to keep his status confidential. Following that, the complaint said co-workers began harassing Hubbard.

“They called him names like ‘it,’ ‘he/she,’ and ‘thing’ on multiple occasions,” the complaint said.

 

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