Center Action Newsletter: Friday November 17th, 2017
Tax Reform: On Thursday, House Republicans approved their sweeping tax-cut package. The next step is for the Senate to pass its version, then for both chambers to reconcile their substantial differences. Congress is determined to get this bill onto the President's desk before the holidays. Now is the time to contact your Senators and tell them not to hurt millions of working-class American families by passing a bad tax bill. We've done the work for you - click here to get started.
Federal tax policies affect state and local economies by influencing the amount of income that lower and middle class families can spend. By building a tax code that protects the net income of working families, we can construct greater financial well-being more broadly. In contrast, proposals to reduce the tax rates applied to the highest-earning households would create a disproportionately greater reduction in their taxes than everyone else. Instead, our federal budget and tax system should increase spending through policies that will help working families add to their local economies and help their communities grow.
In reality, both the House and the Senate plans hurt middle-class and low-income Americans. They fail to cover the full cost of the tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, adding to the deficit and putting middle-class priorities such as Medicare, Medicaid, education, and infrastructure at risk. These tax plans are a bad deal for the American people.
Transgender Awareness Week: Typically observed the second week of November, this week-long event leads up to Transgender Day of Remembrance which memorializes victims of transphobic violence. Sadly 2017 has already seen at least 25 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means. As we continue to work toward justice and equality for our trans brothers and sisters, please take a moment on Monday November 20th to remember those we've lost.
Religious Freedom: The Administration is asking for public comment until November 24th on its latest attempt to roll back protections and allow religious organizations to get federal dollars without following nondiscrimination rules and key protections. Opponents of transgender equality are flooding the Department of Health and Human Services with comments demanding they ignore nondiscrimination protections for trans people. We need to make sure they hear from transgender people and their families, health care providers, and allies that key protections like nondiscrimination requirements should not be rolled back. Here are some key points you could include, but we strongly encourage you to use your own words and experiences. All comments will be submitted to HHS and will become public records. You may comment using your real name or anonymously. No one should be able to discriminate with federal funds against LGBT people, women, religious minorities, or anyone else.
Masterpiece Cakeshop Case: This isn't about cake. It’s about whether there is a constitutional right to discriminate. In early December, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop, a case that has the potential to upend the hard-fought principle that no one should ever be denied service from a business open to the public simply because of who he or she is. The case might seem relatively minor: a Colorado bakery refusing to sell a same-sex couple a cake for their wedding reception. But this is not about cake, and it’s about a lot more than marriage. A ruling that says the constitution gives businesses the right to turn customers away based on religious beliefs or artistic creativity would create gaping holes in our nation’s longstanding nondiscrimination protections. It would say there is a constitutional right to discriminate—not only against LGBT people, but religious and racial minorities, unmarried couples, single mothers and many others. To learn more go to OpenToAllLGBT.Org.
Health Care: Since 2013, more LGBTQ people and families have been able to qualify for affordable health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. That means more people in our community have access to medically necessary services they need, from life-saving HIV drugs to gender affirming health care. You can enroll (or re-enroll) in health insurance or switch plans at HealthCare.gov. In most states this year’s open enrollment period ends on December 15, 2017. Thanks to our friends at OUT2Enroll, you can get help from an LGBTQ-friendly expert in your area. Make an appointment today!
LGBTQ Adoption: Family Equality Council, CenterLink, PFLAG and many others are participating in the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign in conjunction with National Adoption Month. The campaign fights to protect LGBTQ children, youth, and potential parents as well as other nontraditional families from discrimination in adoption and foster care services. The core beliefs of the campaign are that all child welfare decisions should be made in the best interest of the child, and that all children and youth deserve permanent, loving, forever families. Seven states have passed “license to discriminate” bills allowing adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ youth and qualified potential parent(s). Three of these bills passed in 2017 alone. Get more information by visiting FamilyEquality.org.
LGBTQ Youth: At this week's Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center(RHYTTAC) conference there was not much LGBTQ programming – and that’s not a coincidence. This national conference is for Runaway and Homeless Youth Act grantees. For some providers, it is the only opportunity for specialized trainings including cultural inclusivity. We want to make sure LGBTQ young people are at the forefront of this issue. CAN invites you prioritize the issue of LGBTQ youth homelessness by tweeting about it using #LGBTQYouth. Some things you can say:
- #LGBTQYouth experience longer periods of homelessness than their straight peers
- Up to 40% of youth experiencing homelessness are #LGBTQYouth
- #LGBTQYouth of color experience homelessness at disproportionate rates
Puerto Rico: When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September, CenterLink family member Centro Comunitario LGBTT de Puerto Rico was affected along with thousands of their clients. Thanks to your generous donations, CenterLink reached their first goal of raising $25k this week!
Just Call Me Dan: While CAN often focuses on bringing you the latest policy news; we also play the role of advocate for your local LGBTQ community centers. They provide social services, health care, cultural programming, recreational activities, computer access, specialized support for all ages...the list goes on and on. We love hearing stories about the role your center plays in your life! This week Dan from the Long Beach LGBTQ Center shares why she is both a client and a donor: Just Call Me Dan.