Human Rights Campaign Weekly Message - January 9
January 12, 2009
Since 2009 began 9 days ago, Washington just feels different. It’s not the gridlock brought on by new people arriving every day. It’s an aura of hope and anticipation. It’s the relief that will soon come after eight years of dead ends and Federal Marriage Amendment fights. In short, it’s the start of a new day dawning for this nation and the world.
I was even more heartened this week when I learned that Fred Hochberg, former chair of the Human Rights Campaign Board of Directors, was appointed chairman of the Export-Import Bank by the Obama transition team. The chair of the Export-Import Bank of the United States is a critical position in President-elect Obama’s economic team, especially in these times of economic hardship. Fred is one of the most highly qualified and experienced public servants in the nation—as well as a leader in the LGBT community. That President-elect Obama has tapped him for such an important economic position speaks well for the LGBT community and is a wise choice for all Americans.
I also want to share with you an article that Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) wrote and had published in The Advocate. It is a very moving piece in response to President-elect Barack Obama’s selection of pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration – I hope you all take the time to read it. As many of you know, Senator Boxer is one of HRC’s most powerful advocates in Congress and as so many of you know she stood at our side as a steadfast ally during the fight against Proposition 8 in California. Please check out the article at www.advocate.com/exclusive_detail_ektid69059.asp.
This week, as the nation prepares to inaugurate a new president, the changes continued when the 111th Congress, of which 228 were endorsed by HRC, were sworn into office. With increased ranks of pro-equality lawmakers in both the House and the Senate, many new possibilities are open to us: the opportunities to pass hate crimes legislation covering our entire community, fully inclusive workplace protection legislation, and benefits for LGBT families.
With these opportunities before us, we can’t stop now. We helped elect our allies, and now we must continue the work of holding them to the promises of supporting key legislation that the LGBT community needs and deserves. It’s the job of HRC—with our partners, our supporters and our members—to educate, inform and challenge them to support equality for our community.
We can’t do it without you. We must demonstrate our strength, our voice and our humanity. How can you help? By contacting your Members of Congress and urging them to support HRC's pro-equality legislation.
HRC has an ambitious but achievable legislative agenda for the 111th Congress. Here is just a sketch of what we’re aiming for:
• Fully inclusive hate crimes legislation;
• Fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act;
• Family Matters: Protections and Benefits for Lesbian and Gay Couples and their Children: For over six years, HRC has been working closely with Congress to develop, draft, and promote legislation that alleviates the burdens that marriage inequality and DOMA impose on same-sex couples and their children. Some legislation already enjoys broad support in Congress, and President-elect Obama has co-sponsored these important bills. Other legislation is in development, and will be a part of HRC’s strategy throughout the president’s term. Some of the legislative items included in the Family Matters agenda include:
o Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act
o Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act
o The Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act
o Equal Immigration Rights for Bi-national Lesbian and Gay Couples
• HIV/AIDS: As health care reform is likely to take center stage early in 2009, HRC will work to insure that the critical needs of people of HIV/AIDS are part of those health proposals.
• Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: HRC will continue to build support for the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (MREA), which would repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and replace it with a policy of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation.
• Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA): would address the pervasive problem of bullying of LGBT students by amending the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (Title IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education/No Child Left Behind Act).
And there’s much more coming. As always, HRC will let you know when it’s especially important for you to act. You can always contact your Member of Congress by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and asking to speak to your representative or senator based on zip code.
There’s an opportunity for continued activism taking place this weekend. Join the Impact, which organized November’s nationwide marches against California’s Prop 8, is holding rallies against the federal Defense of Marriage Act in cities across the country. HRC has been supportive of Join the Impact’s grassroots rallies, and I encourage all of you to participate. To find a rally near you, visit jointheimpact.wetpaint.com.
Together, as a community, we helped elect more allies than ever before to Washington. It’s time to close the deal. Your voice counts more than you know. Stay tuned.
May 24, 2013
Issues: Hate Crimes
May 21, 2013
May 17, 2013
May 17, 2013
March 20, 2013
Issues: Federal Advocacy
May 24, 2013
May 24, 2013