Friday, July 4, 2014

EJAF Supports NY Gov Cuomo, Denounce MS 'Religious Freedom' Law

Earlier this year, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” into law. The law took effect on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, and provides legal cover for private businesses to actively discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.


EJAF’s Founder Sir Elton John and Chairman David Furnish released this statement concerning this anti-gay law:

At the heart of the escalating HIV/AIDS crisis in the US South is stigma and discrimination. Yet in that context, Mississippi lawmakers have decided to enact this hurtful, discriminatory law. This so-called ‘religious freedom’ law is nothing more than an attack on the dignity and rights of LGBT people in Mississippi and serves only to discriminate against us for being who we are. Laws like this further the stigma that prevents LGBT people from living safely and openly, and, ultimately, contribute to the HIV/AIDS crisis by driving people into the shadows and away from the treatment and care they need.

EJAF will continue to work with organizations like My Brother’s Keeper to advocate for the repeal of this unjust law, as well as for policies across the country that protect the dignity and human rights of LGBT people.

- EJAF

Gov. Cuomo’s plan to end the HIV/AIDS crisis by in New York by 2020 is receiving praise before it even gets running.

The Elton John AIDS Research Foundation applauded the governor’s announcement earlier this week to get rid of the disease by the end of this decade.

Scott Campbell, the foundation’s executive director, said in an email his group has been working on the issue for some time and it’s proud to see a state plan based on some of its suggestions.

“In New York state, EJAF funding has helped support a coalition of community groups to meet throughout 2013 to develop an advocacy document that described key elements of a possible state plan to end AIDS, and to advocate for the governor and legislature to take action on creating and implementing such a plan,” he said. “The foundation is proud that its investments helped contribute to this historic policy development.”

Campbell also put the pressure on state lawmakers to make sure any AIDS relief policy gets the proper funding to end the epidemic.

“EJAF commends Gov. Cuomo for his bold leadership, and we urge New York State legislators and activists to continue advocating for the appropriation of state funding and additional state policy and programmatic changes to make the goal of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York State a reality,” he said.

Cuomo, who is friends with Elton John’s one-time touring buddy Billy Joel, announced his plan Sunday to end the 33-year HIV/AIDS problem in New York, mainly through initiatives that suppress HIV early on and provide the proper health care for those already infected.

- NY Daily News

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