Israfel Mark C. Pafford

  • 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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  • posted about LGBTQ open letter to our fellow Tennesseans on Facebook 2016-12-17 12:58:49 -0600
    Sign the petition: LGBTQ open letter to our fellow Tennesseans

    LGBTQ open letter to our fellow Tennesseans

    663 signatures

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    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.

    Add signature

  • No Discrimination in Federal Contracts!

    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.

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  • endorsed 2016-04-26 13:05:02 -0500

    Stop using religion to discriminate in Tennessee

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    On April 18, 2016 about 30 pastors shamefully stood in Legislative Plaza and spoke in favor of the anti-transgender student bathroom bill.  And religion was used to advance the counseling discrimination bill.  Many more clergy across Tennessee publicly opposed both bills.

    Whether you're religious or not, aren't you tired of religion being used to support discrimination in our laws?  If so, endorse this statement:

    We oppose the use of religion to justify discrimination in Tennessee law.  To use religion to divide us in our public life violates the spirit of the U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions, does harm to the people of Tennessee, and brings scandal to religion.

    Endorse

  • posted about Defend Diversity at UT-Knoxville: Veto SB1912 on Facebook 2016-04-22 08:42:37 -0500
    Sign the petition: Defend Diversity at UT-Knoxville: Veto SB1912

    Defend Diversity at UT-Knoxville: Veto SB1912

    The Legislature passed SB1912/HB2248 that removes funding from the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.  Sign this petition that we will deliver to Governor Haslam asking him to veto the bill.

    2,096 signatures

    Governor Haslam, we call on you to veto SB1912/HB2248 and protect the University of Tennessee-Knoxville's Office for Diversity and Inclusion.  The office plays a vital role in making the university competitive for the best students, faculty, and staff and it makes campus life welcoming for all.  Thank you for considering our views.

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  • posted about Governor Haslam, Fight for trans students and against SB2387/HB2414 on Facebook 2016-04-02 12:27:23 -0500
    Sign the petition: Governor Haslam, Fight for trans students and against SB2387/HB2414

    Governor Haslam, Fight for trans students and against SB2387/HB2414

    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.

    Add signature

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