Today, HRC released the following statement on tonight’s primary election results:
"From North Carolina to Florida to Ohio, fair-minded voters have begun unifying to ensure we are prepared to defeat whichever anti-LGBT candidate emerges as the Republican nominee. Tonight's decisive victories for Hillary Clinton in key states across the nation have put us closer to preserving a pro-equality White House come November. She has proven time and again that she will fight for the LGBT community -- and we are proud to continue to fight alongside her to make sure no opponent of LGBT equality ever sets foot in the Oval Office,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. "John Kasich may have won the state of Ohio tonight, but with an anti-LGBT record, he won’t win the hearts and minds of millions of pro-equality voters should he somehow manage to find a path to his party’s nomination. As Donald Trump, John Kasich and Ted Cruz threaten to overturn, undo, and undermine the progress we have made under President Obama, we are ready to double down and fight like hell to elect Hillary Clinton in November.”
New polling released this year from the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute shows strong support for LGBT equality in the states that voted today. Residents in Florida (70 percent support), Illinois (75 percent support), Missouri (66 percent support), North Carolina (64 percent support), and Ohio (69 percent support) all favor the Equality Act. By similarly large margins, they also oppose religious refusal bills that would allow small businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBT customers, even for religious reasons.
While Rubio, Cruz and Trump have made anti-LGBT rhetoric a common feature of their campaign events, Governor Kasich,the winner in Ohio tonight, has become more vocal recently about his opposition to LGBT equality. In a debate last month, after previously implying that businesses should not be allowed to deny service to a same-sex couple, Kasich backtracked and suggested it was “common sense” for a business to be able to deny services to a same-sex couple for religious reasons. During his career Kasich has also broken a promise to protect transgender state workers from discrimination and broke a promise to support a statewide LGBT non-discrimination law as governor.
GOP frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz sank to new lows earlier this year when they doubled down on their support for bills that would allow business to deny service to LGBT people for religious reasons. Cruz even suggested that a state should be allowed to ban adoption by same-sex couples -- a position that is at odds with the nation’s leading child welfare organization. They both, along with Rubio and Kasich, remain opposed to nationwide marriage equality, with Trump even telling Christian Broadcasting News that voters can “trust him” to reverse the Obergefell decision.
HRC endorsed Hillary Clinton in January, and has made thousands of voter contacts ahead of today’s elections. Prior to that, HRC opened offices and sent staff to South Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire and Iowa where it made thousands of voter contacts in the states on behalf of Hillary Clinton. Earlier this month, HRC also released a new video, highlighting just how much is at stake for LGBT Americans in this year’s presidential election.
With 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide, HRC is planning an unprecedented organizational effort to register and mobilize the nation’s pro-equality majority, and elect pro-LGBT candidates up and down the ballot. In 2016, experts predict that the pro-equality vote will be larger, stronger, and more energized than at any point in history.
Exit polls show that in 2012 at least six million LGB Americans voted in an election decided by less than five million votes. Today, in key states like Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida, the population of LGBT adults is greater than the average margin of victory in the last three presidential elections.
Polling done by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for HRC shows that a 55 percent majority of voters are less likely to support a candidate for president who opposes allowing same-sex couples to marry. This majority includes Independents, married women and white millennials. All of these groups voted Republican in the last congressional election.