BREAKING: FEDERAL JUDGE BLOCKS IMMEDIATE IMPLEMENTATION OF HB1523 IN MISS.: Last night, minutes before it was set to go into effect, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves blocked the implementation of Mississippi’s discriminatory and harmful H.B. 1523, calling it “a vehicle for state sanctioned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” The case was litigated by Roberta Kaplan, the civil rights lawyer who argued in front of the Supreme Court of the United States in the landmark case United States v. Windsor. This legal victory will block the immediate implementation of the unconstitutional law, as HRC and other advocates continue to push for the full repeal. More from Mississippi Today.
- On Wednesday, HRC Mississippi held a press conference outside the Governor's mansion in Jackson to call for full repeal of the law before it went into effect. Watch video here. This morning at 10:30 CST, HRC Mississippi will join plaintiffs from the case in front of the Mississippi Capitol to speak with reporters about this historic ruling.
HISTORY MADE: DOD ENDS DISCRIMINATORY BAN ON TRANSGENDER PEOPLE SERVING OPENLY IN THE U.S. MILITARY: Yesterday, HRC hailed the Department of Defense (DOD) for finally ending the discriminatory ban on transgender Americans serving openly in our military. The historic decision means that the U.S. will join 18 other nations, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Israel, already allowing transgender people to serve openly in their militaries. HRC President Chad Griffin on the announcement: “Ending this discriminatory policy not only brings long-overdue recognition to transgender service members, it also strengthens our military and our nation. Our military will now be able to recruit the very best candidates, and retain highly-trained, talented transgender service members once facing discharge for no other reason than who they are.” More from NBC News.
HRC, NCTE AND NC ADVOCATES DEMAND FULL REPEAL OF STATE’S ANTI-LGBTQ HB2, URGE NO NEW DISCRIMINATORY PROPOSAL: Yesterday, HRC President Chad Griffin and Mara Keisling, head of the National Center for Transgender Equality, joined local LGBTQ advocates and allies in Raleigh to continue their push for full repeal of North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ HB2 law, and reject an outrageous new proposal that would sustain some of the most vile aspects of the law -- including barring transgender people from accessing restrooms and other facilities consistent with gender identity and blocking localities from passing non-discrimination protections for their own residents. Said Griffin: “This phony decoy is nothing more than a hateful HB 2.0. It’s a desperate attempt at political spin and merely doubles down on the discrimination caused by HB2 and makes it even worse for transgender people. At its core, this proposal is a political ploy -- a means for politicians and yes, some businesses, to do what is easy instead of what is right. We all know HB2 must be repealed, and the people deserve no less.” More from The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer.
- The NBA and Charlotte Hornets “do not endorse” HB 2.0: In a joint statement yesterday, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets came out against the proposed bill and reinforced their commitment to “inclusion, mutual respect and equal protection for all.” More from Buzzfeed.
- The Charlotte Observer not fooled by HB 2.0: In a lashing editorial, the newspaper asserts that the specious proposal “leaves in place the two most egregious aspects of HB2” -- stripping cities of the ability to pass their own non-discrimination measures, and barring transgender people from using restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. The wound of HB2, the Observer writes, would “continue to infect the state and its national reputation.”
- The founding director of Wake Forest University’s LGBTQ center writes eloquently about how the discriminatory HB 2.0 proposal demonstrates lawmakers’ complete lack of understanding of the transgender community. More at The Charlotte Observer.
- Speaking of the impact on transgender people… According to a new estimate released this week by the Williams Institute, there are nearly 45,000 transgender adults in North Carolina and 1.4 million transgender adults in the United States alone.
- Joe Walsh of the Eagles calls for repeal of HB2 saying, “I believe that music is a language that connects people -- without bias -- and that my shows are a place where all are welcome and all can feel safe.” More from WRAL.
ICYMI: IN MOVING VIDEO TRIBUTE, 49 CELEBRITIES HONOR LIVES OF 49 LIVES LOST IN ORLANDO: This week, HRC released a special tribute to the 49 lives lost in the Orlando shooting at Pulse nightclub on Latin night. The 18-minute tribute -- directed by Emmy Award-winning Ryan Murphy and Ned Martel, with the support of their colleagues at Ryan Murphy Television -- features a diverse cast of 49 actors, directors and other entertainment leaders recounting individual stories of the people killed in our nation’s deadliest mass shooting. Watch the full video here. Viewers are asked to visit http://stopthehate.hrc.org/ and take action by supporting victims’ families and survivors through healorlando.org, as well as contacting legislators to demand passage of LGBTQ protections and common-sense gun violence prevention measures. Some of the coverage: The Hollywood Reporter… Orlando Sentinel... E! News…The Washington Post... Entertainment Weekly…The Los Angeles Times... Variety… USA Today.
NH GOV. HASSAN TAKES HISTORIC STEP TO PROTECT TRANS COMMUNITY: In a historic move yesterday, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan announced that her administration will be issuing regulations clarifying that gender identity is included in state anti-discrimination provisions -- including government employment, contracts and programs. New Hampshire is among the majority of states that lack fully inclusive gender identity non-discrimination laws. HRC’s survey of LGBTQ people last year found that nearly two-thirds have experienced discrimination. More from The Concord Monitor.
UN CREATES NEW LGBTQ RIGHTS ENVOY TO PROMOTE SAFETY AND EQUALITY WORLDWIDE: The UN Human Rights Council voted to establish a new Independent Expert on LGBTQ rights in a significant advancement for the global effort for LGBTQ equality. The effort to create the independent expert post was led by the council’s Latin American member countries, and supported by more than 620 non-governmental organizations from 151 countries around the world. Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global hailed the creation of the new role, “All LGBTQ people, regardless of where they live, will soon have a dedicated watchdog at the United Nations looking out for their rights, interests, and lives.” More from HRC.
- HRC’s Jean Freedberg and Ryan Kaminski of the U.N. Foundation break down how this historic vote will make the world safer in an op-ed in The Advocate.
HISTORIC SETTLEMENT IN EEOC CASE: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commision (EEOC) has reached its first-ever settlement in a lawsuit involving discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The landmark case involved a former employee of Pallet Companies who alleged she was fired from the company after complaining that her manager was harassing her because is a lesbian. More from The Washington Blade.
HILL DEMS FILE BRIEF SUPPORTING GAY MAN SUING EMPLOYER FOR DISCRIMINATION: Earlier this week, 128 Democrats in Congress filed an amicus brief supporting an openly-gay man’s legal claim that his employer’s discrimination based on his sexual orientation is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The effort was led by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and marks the first time members of Congress have weighed in on the issue in federal court, according to CNN.
- Meanwhile Republicans in Congress double down on discrimination. Earlier this week, the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus blasted efforts by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to hold a hearing on the discriminatory First Amendment Defense Act. The hearing is set for July 12. More from LGBT Weekly.
LIFT THE BAN: More than 130 Members of Congress are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to lift the one-year celibacy requirement for gay and bisexual men to donate blood. Attention has focused on the discriminatory ban after the call for blood donations in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando. An estimated 4.2 million potential donors are affected by the ban. More from The Baltimore Sun.
ANTI-LGBTQ HATE CRIME PROSECUTIONS RARE: The Huffington Post reports that the lack of both a comprehensive nationwide system for tracking bias-motivated crime and a training system to help police and prosecutors properly investigate hate crimes conspire to make it extremely difficult to prosecute perpetrators who target LGBTQ people. A first-person piece in CityPulse drives home the reality of hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people.
- SCHUMER HIGHLIGHTS NEED TO PREVENT HATE CRIMES: In a call for more funding to prevent hate crimes, Senator Chuck Schumer is highlighting hate crimes in New York, and how such crimes are traditionally under-reported. More here.
INDIA’S TOP COURT REFUSES TO HEAR CHALLENGE TO ANTI-LGBTQ LAW: This week, India’s Supreme Court declined to hear a petition challenging Section 377 of India’s penal code, which criminalizes same-sex relationships with punishments of up to 10 years in prison. The colonial-era law was reinstated in late 2013. More from Reuters.
TOP FIVE: According to a new report from UCLA and the WORLD Policy Analysis Center, only five countries in the world -- Britain, Bolivia, Ecuador, Fiji, and Malta -- have granted full constitutional rights to their LGBTQ citizens. Study author Jody Heymann says, "While marriage equality is an important start, it is not enough to prevent discrimination at work, in housing or many other spheres of life." More from the Reuters.
The New York Times breaks down the challenges still facing the LGBTQ community after marriage equality...INC looks at how startups can help their LGBTQ employees… The Belfast Telegraph reports that 70 percent of people in Northern Ireland support marriage equality… Just in time for summer beach reads, The Washington Post highlights the best LGBTQ romance novels… Huffington Post looks at the push by fans for an LGBTQ character in the upcoming Star Wars movies… Fusion takes a look at bisexual invisibility -- both a social problem and a public health issue… The Advocate spotlights Equality California efforts to curb the LGBTQ smoking epidemic… and The Wall Street Journal reports on a new initiative in NYC that will bring affordable housing to LGBTQ seniors.