Press Room

June 15, 2004

Category: HIV & AIDS

HRC Endorses Senator John Kerry for President

'From voting against the Defense of Marriage Act to actively opposing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," John Kerry is a true leader for our community,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today endorsed Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., for President of the United States. The decision was made by HRC's board of directors based on the candidate's support for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality, demonstrated leadership and his viability to win in November.

"From voting against the Defense of Marriage Act to actively opposing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' John Kerry is a true leader for our community," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "Just six months into his first Senate term in 1985, he introduced a gay civil rights bill. His aggressive support for our community continued unabated for the years that followed, demonstrated time and again by perfect HRC ratings on GLBT issues in Congress."

In 1996, Sen. Kerry was one of only 14 senators, and the only up for re-election, to cast a vote against the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. He also testified in front of a Senate committee in 1993 against the policy that prohibits military service by openly gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

"I want to thank HRC for its endorsement. We have worked together on so many battles and we still have many challenges ahead of us," said John Kerry. "I know that America finds its strength in the diversity of this great country. I have worked for than 20 years to make sure that LGBT Americans are treated with dignity in our society and equality in our laws. That fight is not over and I will be there for the fights in the future."

Kerry is a co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, and voted for the bill in 1996. In his Senate office, Kerry has a policy prohibiting discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

"Senator Kerry is one of our strongest advocates against writing discrimination into the U.S. Constitution," added Jacques. "While we disagree with Senator Kerry on the issue of marriage for same-sex couples, he is firmly opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would deny our community equality for generations.&nbsp His opposition stands in stark contrast to President Bush, who has not only endorsed the amendment but is one of its chief advocates."

Sen. Kerry also:

ᄡ&nbspis a current co-sponsor of the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, which would add sexual orientation, gender and disability to existing federal hate crimes law

ᄡ&nbspis a co-sponsor of Early Treatment for HIV Act and supports full funding for science-based HIV prevention programs and the Ryan White

ᄡ&nbspsupports giving appropriate authorities the full authority to make decisions on adoption based on the best interest of the child, without bans based solely on sexual orientation

ᄡ&nbspis a co-sponsor of the Permanent Partners Immigration Act and

ᄡ&nbspopposes the "Don&apost Ask, Don&apost Tell" policy, saying he thinks "that any American ought to be able to serve their country if they are physically qualified and able. There were gay people who served in Vietnam. There were gay people who served in World War II, Korea and World War I - and great acts of heroism have been performed by people who are gay."

View the video of HRC&aposs endorsement of Sen. Kerry:

ᄡ&nbspWindows Media Player

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.