HILLARY CLINTON PREVAILS IN IOWA WITH RAZOR-THIN VICTORY: Iowa Democrats declared Hillary Clinton the winner of the Democratic Iowa Caucus overnight by a very slim margin over Senator Bernie Sanders. The Human Rights Campaign, which endorsed Clinton last month, sent staff to organize members and supporters in Iowa, and is continuing to organize in New Hampshire and South Carolina ahead of the upcoming primary elections in both states. Here’s HRC President Chad Griffin on Clinton’s night: “For millions of LGBT people across our nation, everything is at stake in November. Hillary Clinton has proven she has the record, the vision, and the strategy to win and lead from her first day in office. Tonight we are proud of our members and supporters in Iowa and across the country who have stepped up to fight alongside Hillary Clinton and to ensure no opponent of LGBT equality ever sets foot in the Oval Office.” More here: bit.ly/1JVvQZ5
EXTREMELY ANTI-LGBT TED CRUZ WINS REPUBLICAN CAUCUS IN IOWA: Ted Cruz won an upset victory over Donald Trump last night in Iowa. Cruz had banked on Iowa evangelical voters powering him to an early victory, and his strategy worked. Along the way, he’s made anti-LGBT rhetoric and attacks a staple of his campaign. HRC’s Chad Griffin on Cruz and the rest of the GOP field: “From threatening to overturn nationwide marriage equality, to campaigning with a notorious ‘kill the gays’ pastor in Iowa, to using transgender Americans as a punchline on the trail, Ted Cruz has spared no opportunity to attack the dignity and rights of LGBT Americans. Meanwhile, with his promise to appoint judges to overturn nationwide marriage equality and overturn President Obama’s executive orders banning LGBT discrimination among federal contractors, Marco Rubio’s ‘New American Century’ looks a lot like the last one. While Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump campaign to take us back, Hillary Clinton is fighting to advance LGBT equality across our country.” More here: bit.ly/1VGY4Yc
LOVE CONQUERS HATE: LOCAL NYC LGBT ORG PLANS TO TAKE OVER HOMOPHOBIC CHURCH: The Ali Forney Center (AFC), the nation's largest and most comprehensive organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youth, is raising funds to purchase the Atlah Church in Harlem. Over the past few years, the church, which is being put up for auction due to unpaid bills and tax liens, became infamous for its hateful messages targeting the LGBT community. Think signs saying, “Harlem is a Sodomy-Free Zone.” AFC houses 107 youths throughout NYC, provides 50,000 meals for homeless LGBT youth a year and offers health care, case management and education and career services. They’ve already raised more than half of their $200,000 goal. Here’s to love conquering hate. Donate NOW!: bit.ly/1m8U0nk
INDIANA TO CONSIDER CHANGES TO DEEPLY FLAWED NON-DISCRIMINATION BILL: The Indiana State Senate is gearing up today to debate a deeply flawed non-discrimination bill, Senate Bill 344. The bill has a laundry list of problems: it completely leaves out protections for transgender Hoosiers, has broad exemptions for religious organizations, faith-based groups, and service providers, as well as an unacceptable municipal pre-emption provision that prevents new LGBT -inclusive local non-discrimination ordinances from passing in the future, plus provisions that undermine existing state civil rights law. So, what exactly does this bill do for LGBT Hoosiers? Not much. Honestly, the legislation in its current form is a thinly-veiled attempt to allow discrimination to go forward but try to mitigate the economic and reputational damage still looming from Gov. Mike Pence’s discriminatory RFRA fight last year. Hopefully, today’s debate will add changes to create the much-needed protections LGBT Hoosiers deserve. More here: indy.st/1UGnV2d and bit.ly/1X0apbj
DEBATE ON LGBT-INCLUSIVE ORDINANCE BEGINS IN CHARLOTTE: Last night, as momentum grows for an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance in Charlotte, public officials hosted a two hour community forum in an effort to bring all sides together for a discussion on last year’s failed ordinance and a path forward. More than 250 people attended the forum, which included a play where actors read statements from the perspectives of the LGBT and business communities. At a press conference yesterday, the TurnOUT Charlotte coalition, which successfully helped elect a pro-equality city council, announced its relaunch. A partnership between Equality North Carolina, MeckPAC and HRC, the TurnOUT! Charlotte coalition was formed after an effort to pass a non-discrimination ordinance in Charlotte failed in March of last year. Charlotte is currently one of the largest cities in the country that does not explicitly protect the LGBT community from discrimination. The City Council is expected to discuss the ordinance at a meeting on February 22. More here: bit.ly/1QEFSNJ
YORK DISPATCH CALLS FOR PASSAGE OF THE PENNSYLVANIA FAIRNESS ACT: The editorial board of the York Dispatch has made a bold plea asking lawmakers to pass the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, legislation that would update the state's non-discrimination laws to explicitly protect LGBT people at the state level from discrimination at work, in housing, and in public accommodations. Pennsylvania’s economy is the sixth largest in the country and the 18th largest in the world – with nearly 6 million Pennsylvanians going to work every day to support themselves and their families. The board writes, “We encourage everyone to support the law that champions community, equal rights and human rights – and makes good business and economic sense, too.” Equality Pennsylvania, American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, American Unity Fund, HRC and Freedom for All Americans are part of Pennsylvania Competes, a coalition of large and small businesses, universities, and grassroots supporters focused on making sure all Pennsylvanians are explicitly protected from discrimination. Pennsylvania is one of 33 states lacking explicit, fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections in employment, housing and public accommodations.
RAISING UP LGBT VOICES IN TEXAS: A new radio station giving voice to the LGBT community has debuted in Austin, Texas, becoming just the second such outlet devoted to LGBT listeners. The other is a sister station in Minneapolis. Austin’s new Pride Radio, a member of the iHeartRadio family, features news and contests, presented by DJs who are members of the LGBT community, according to Time Warner Cable News in Austin. “Austin is a trend-setter city. Everybody follows Austin. So it only makes sense that we launch this here,” Travis Hill of iHeartMedia told the news outlet. Listeners can tune into Pride Radio on 97.5 FM, online at www.975prideaustin.com and via the iHeartRadio app, where the Minneapolis station, 96.7 FM, can also be accessed. Listen here: 967prideradio.com/
AROUND THE WORLD
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: India’s Supreme Court has decided to reconsider its decision in 2013 to criminalize same-sex relationships. After agreeing to re-think their ruling, the Supreme Court has yet to set a hearing date. Advocates and supporters of LGBT equality are hopeful that this new hearing will close the book on the damaging years of criminalization, and help pave the way towards a more equal India. More here: bzfd.it/1SqfMS1
GET IT DONE, AUSTRALIA!: A new poll shows that Australians “ain’t got no time” for a costly plebiscite. National party voters want Prime Minister Turnbull to stop with this plebiscite (which is basically a referendum) nonsense and let parliament vote on the issue of marriage equality for once and for all. Though the poll did not ask for opinions on marriage equality, other studies have shown that support for equality is through the roof. Earlier this week some parliamentarians made waves by claiming that they won’t even listen to the results of the plebiscite. Which is fine, since voters love it when their elected officials ignore their expressed wishes. This, combined with the enormous plebiscite price tag, is leaving many Australians shaking their heads and waiting for Turnbull to scrap the idea and let parliament vote. More here: bit.ly/1SqfP0o
Pink News highlights how the Pakistani edition of the New York Times censored a gay kiss… BBC News shared the story of young Jamaican man coming out as transgender to his family… WLWT looks at how the Covington Police Department in Kentucky is working to strengthen relationships with the LGBT community… The Guardian takes a deep dive into the fight for LGBT equality in Myanmar… The OU Daily checks out a new scholarship for LGBT students at Oklahoma University… Associated Press explains how two Emerson College students protested Cruz’s anti-LGBT views with a fake proposal… and Yahoo News visits Germany’s first shelter for LGBT refugees.