NEW NONPARTISAN POLL SHOWS LGBTQ EQUALITY IS A WINNING MESSAGE IN NOVEMBER: This morning, national survey results released by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute underscored what Donald Trump, Mike Pence and NC Governor Pat McCrory are struggling to grasp: A clear majority of Americans support LGBTQ equality. The survey found that when it comes to laws like North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2, only 35 percent support such laws, while 64 percent of Americans oppose them. What’s more, only 30 percent support laws that allow businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBTQ people because of who they are or whom they love. A majority -- 63 percent -- are opposed to such laws. “Targeting LGBTQ people for discrimination isn’t just wrong, it’s a recipe for electoral disaster,” said HRC Communications Director Jay Brown. “From Pat McCrory to Donald Trump, those who somehow still believe it’s acceptable to target LGBTQ people with discriminatory laws that deny us equal treatment under the law are in for a rude awakening in November.” U.S. News & World Report has the full story here.

  • Meanwhile, two new NC polls find McCrory losing. Less than an hour after McCrory’s team attacked a Monmouth University poll that found him trailing in his re-election race by nine points, CNN released a poll that also showed McCrory behind. Noted: Monmouth specifically cited HB2 as a reason for McCrory’s struggles. HRC has endorsed McCrory’s opponent, NC Attorney General Roy Cooper.

“PAYING KINDNESS FORWARD” AFTER PULSE TRAGEDY: The Orlando Health and Florida Hospital won’t bill survivors of the deadly Pulse nightclub tragedy -- about $5.5 million in care, The Orlando Sentinel reports. "The Pulse shooting was a horrendous tragedy for the victims, their families and our entire community," Orlando Health President and CEO David Strong said. "During this very trying time, many organizations, individuals and charities have reached out to Orlando Health to show their support. This is simply our way of paying that kindness forward." Forty-nine LGBTQ people and allies were killed in the June shooting and more than 50 injured. Read more here, and check out efforts to #StopTheHate.

LABOR DEPT. SAYS FED CONTRACTORS MUST COMPLY WITH LGBTQ WORKER PROTECTIONS: The U.S. Department of Labor issued final regulations yesterday that will help to ensure companies contracting with the federal government comply with non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy said, “These regulations will level the playing field for companies that play by the rules and know that equal opportunity and non-discrimination protections are good for business. They will also help ensure taxpayer funds are not used to unlawfully discriminate against LGBTQ people.” More from HRC.

LAWYER SAYS VICIOUS ATTACK ON GAY COUPLE JUST “OLD-SCHOOL CULTURE”: In March, Anthony Gooden Jr. and Marquez Tolbert were severely burned when the boyfriend of Tolbert’s mother poured scalding water on the couple while they were sleeping. At Martin Blackwell’s trial yesterday on aggravated battery and assault charges, his lawyer appallingly defended the horrific attack, telling the jury: “It’s not about hate. It’s about old-school culture, old-school thinking.” The jury didn’t buy the grotesque argument. Blackwell was found guilty Wednesday on eight counts and sentenced to 40 years in prison. More from The Associated Press.

#TBT: If we could turn back time, we wish we could have gone to Hillary Clinton’s Provincetown, Mass., fundraiser last weekend to see Cher excoriate Donald Trump on his anti-LGBTQ agenda. When it comes to the LGBTQ community, @Cher is always singing “I’ve got you babe.” More from The New York Times; hear Cher on MSNBC’s The Last Word.

BELLA THORNE COMES OUT AS BISEXUAL: Disney star Bella Thorne came out this week on Twitter, simply replying “yes” when asked by a fan if she was bisexual. After receiving an outpouring of support, she tweeted, “Aww thank you for all the accepting tweets from everyone. I love you guys #pride” More from People.

WILTON MANORS TO BAN SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY” FOR LGBTQ YOUTH: Wilton Manors, Fla., this week tentatively approved a ban on licensed professionals from using dangerous and debunked conversion therapy on minors that seeks to change their sexual or gender identities. Miami Beach has a similar ban, and Palm Beach County is considering one. More from Sun Sentinel.

RUSH LIMBAUGH’S NEWEST CONSPIRACY -- “MASS LESBIAN FARM INFILTRATION SCHEME”: You read that correctly. Limbaugh is bizarrely suggesting that the Obama Administration is conspiring to move lesbian farmers into conservative parts of the country to… take over? Rushbo’s theory: “They are trying to bust up one of the last geographically conservative regions in the country; that’s rural America.” More fun from New York Magazine.

FIRST PUBLIC LGBTQ PRIDE EVENTS IN JAMAICA: Earlier this month, HRC Global partnered with this year’s successful Pride JA in Jamaica, a week of LGBTQ Pride. The Pride events were a successful outcome of the tremendous efforts of J-FLAG, the foremost human rights and social justice advocacy organization for LGBTQ people in Jamaica. Dane Lewis, Executive Director of J-FLAG, said, “PRIDE JA is a local product. Conceptualized, owned and driven by young activists who know why it is necessary to celebrate who we are.” More from HRC and The Guardian.


NPR reports that the NBA’s decision to move the 2017 All-Star game out of NC because of HB2 isn’t the first time a major sports league has acted to support civil rights… Radio Milwaukee reviews a new book chronicling the city’s LGBTQ history… OkayAfrica explores Nigeria’s transgender community… Michigan Live profiles a new program to offer health care to LGBTQ youths at a Detroit-area shelter… and Recode reports on the White House’s LGBT Tech and Innovation Briefing.


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