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HRC SLAMS TURING PHARMACEUTICALS’ RIDICULOUS PRICE ‘ROLL BACK’ ANNOUNCEMENT: HRC has slammed Turing Pharmaceuticals for announcing they will continue their outrageous price hike on Daraprim – a crucial and often lifesaving treatment for people living with HIV. According to news reports, Shkreli's Turing Pharmaceuticals now plans to potentially drop the cost of the lifesaving drug by "as much as 50 percent" - which would still be more than $375 – far above the drug's original $13.50 price. Last month, HRC joined 151 other organizations from across the nation in an open letter to Turing Pharmaceuticals urging company CEO Martin Shkreli to act. Prior to that, at HRC’s urging, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman began investigating whether Turing Pharmaceuticals may have violated antitrust laws by limiting distribution of a drug that is essential to the lives of medically vulnerable people. HRC has also sent letters to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chair of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce; and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, seeking an investigation into the actions of Turing Pharmaceuticals. More here:

NCAA TO RECONSIDER USING CITIES THAT ARE NOT LGBT FRIENDLY AS HOSTS: Last week, a letter from NCAA senior vice president for communications Bob Williams went public in which he said that current sites of NCAA championship events will be reconsidered based on legislation, including anti-LGBT bills or votes. “We’ll continue to review current events in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites, such as Indianapolis,” he said. Following a huge battle last March over a discriminatory RFRA in Indiana, where the NCAA is based, the organization released a statement expressing their concern about how the law would affect student athletes and employers. This news also comes after voters rejected an equal rights ordinance in Houston that would have protected Houston residents and visitors from discrimination in housing, employment and business services on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion and 11 other characteristics. Houston is still hosting the men’s Final Four next year, and Indianapolis remains the site of the women’s Final Four.  More here:


INDIANA GOP’S NEW BILL WILL UNDERMINE LOCAL ORDINANCES THAT HAVE STRONGER PROTECTIONS: Last week, Indiana Republicans introduced an extremely flawed bill that leaders claim will expand the existing civil rights law to include protections for LGBT people. If the measure passed, it would prohibit local governments from enacting stricter ordinances. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said, “This bill has just been unveiled and we are still studying how it would affect South Bend. We were not consulted, and I am concerned about provisions that seem designed to weaken our local nondiscrimination rules.” South Bend added gender identity and sexual orientation to its Human Rights Ordinance in 2012. Almost 20 cities in Indiana, including Indianapolis, Bloomington, Carmel, and Zionsville, have ordinances in place to protect LGBT residents.  The flawed measure also has huge religious carve-outs that would allow certain businesses to refuse LGBT people and give schools the freedom to make their own rules regarding transgender students, despite prevailing federal guidance on the matter. More here:

STRETCH OF 1-71 HIGHWAY DEDICATED TO LEELAH ALCORN: Last week, the Ohio Department of Transportation erected signs on Interstate 71 South in the memory of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn. Leelah’s passing sparked a national conversation surrounding the dangers of the discredited and harmful practice of conversion therapy, even prompting the White House to respond to a petition with over 120,000 signers by denouncing the practice for the first time. Last month, HRC and the National Center for Lesbian Rights released first-of-its-kind sample legislation for state legislators and equality advocates who want to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy. It draws from best practices in the jurisdictions that have passed successful laws, the more-than-20 states that have introduced similar legislation, the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act (a federal bill that takes a fraud-based approach to regulate conversion therapy), and the experience of legal experts working on this vitally important issue. More here:

LAWSUIT AGAINST JINDAL’S “MARRIAGE AND CONSCIENCE” EXECUTIVE ORDER HEADED TO TRIAL: Last week, State District Judge Todd Hernandez refused to throw out a lawsuit by the ACLU of Louisiana and several other LGBT rights groups challenging the Bobby Jindal’s “Marriage and Conscience” order. Challengers claim that the May 19th order clearly violates the Louisiana Constitution. According to the Associated Press: “The “Marriage and Conscience” order prohibits state agencies under Jindal’s control from denying licenses, benefits, contracts or tax deductions in response to actions taken because of someone’s “religious belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.”” The judge has not yet set a date for trial. Governor-elect John Bel Edwards could rescind or expand the executive order which automatically expires 60 days after the 2016 legislative session. More here: and

LEWISBURG, WV EXPLORING LGBT NONDISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE: According to WVNS, the Lewisburg, WV City Council has voted to start drafting a non-discrimination ordinance that will protect its LGBT residents.  West Virginia is one of many states without explicit, fully inclusive non-discrimination laws protecting LGBT people.  More here:


PORTUGAL GRANTS ADOPTION RIGHTS TO SAME-SEX COUPLES: On Friday, Portugal’s newly-elected Parliament endorsed legislation that grants same-sex couples the right to adopt. When marriage equality was legalized in 2010, the law specifically banned same-sex adoption, but in 2013, the Parliament approved allowing one same-sex partner to adopt their partner’s child if they were married - however, adoption by a childless same-sex couple remained illegal. According to reports, these changes will also allow lesbians to seek assisted conception methods. More here: and

LGBT UGANDANS SHARE MESSAGE FOR POPE FRANCIS AHEAD OF HIS FIRST VISIT: Ahead of Pope Francis’s first visit to both Uganda and continent of Africa as Pope, LGBT advocates in Uganda are speaking out about their hope that he will address the need for tolerance of LGBT people and denounce violence against their community. Openly LGBT Ugandans face stigma, violence, harassment and death threats in their communities. Following the nullification of the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) in February of last year, the Ugandan Parliament introduced the Prohibition of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill of 2014 – a harsher and even more extensive bill than the original AHA. The AHA focused on prosecuting individuals for practicing or abetting homosexuality. The new bill is much broader, prohibiting any attempt to promote LGBT rights and sentencing anyone found guilty of promoting LGBT rights to up to seven years in prison. This past September, HRC Global released LGBT Uganda Today: Continuing Danger Despite Nullification of Anti-Homosexuality Act, which gives an in-depth analysis of the situation for LGBT individuals in Uganda. Pope Francis is also set to visit Kenya, which also has anti-LGBT legislation pending, and the Central African Republic. More here: and


NBC News showcases the work of transgender artists who shared their stories through their art for Transgender Day of Remembrance...  The Christian Science Monitor explores the growing acceptance of LGBT people in East Asia…. BuzzFeed takes a look at the role Chief Justice Roberts played in setting the stage for nationwide marriage equality.

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Filed under: A.M. Equality, Community

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