Post submitted by former HRC Communications Campaign Director Brandon Lorenz
Today, HRC announced that Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee Senator Tim Kaine will deliver the keynote address at the 20th annual HRC National Dinner onSaturday, September 10, 2016, in Washington D.C. Civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) will also speak at this year’s sold-out event, which will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
“Vice Presidential Nominee Tim Kaine has spent his entire career fighting for the equal rights of all Americans,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “As part of the most pro-equality presidential ticket in American history, Tim Kaine will help ensure another four years of unprecedented progress for LGBTQ equality in this country and around the world.”
“Representative John Lewis is an American hero, and his lifelong work for the civil rights of all people has transformed our nation. In his nearly three decades on Capitol Hill, Representative Lewis has been one of the strongest and most outspoken champions of LGBTQ equality,” Griffin continued. “With all the progress we have made under President Obama, Tim Kaine and John Lewis will remind all of us just how important it is that we fight to elect a President who will champion LGBTQ equality every single day she sits in the Oval Office. We are honored to welcome them both to our 20th annual National Dinner.”
Kaine has a strong commitment to LGBTQ equality. In addition to supporting marriage equality, Kaine is an original co-sponsor of the Equality Act -- federal legislation that would finally guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our existing civil rights laws. One of Kaine’s first actionsas Virginia Governor in 2006 was to sign an executive order adding sexual orientation protections to the non-discrimination policy for state workers. Kaine also recently signed onto an amicus brief in the 2nd Circuit case, Christiansen v. Omnicom Group Inc., arguing that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are prohibited under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He has voted in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and co-sponsored the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA).
Representative John Lewis (D-GA) will also be addressing the crowd at the September 10 event. Lewis knows the struggle for equality first hand and has been a longtime, outspoken advocate for LGBTQ civil rights. At the 2014 HRC Atlanta Gala Lewis said, “No government -- state or federal -- should tell a person who they can love and not love, who they can fall in love with and get married to… I will be there with you now and forever, as long as I have breath in my body.”
Lewis is a longstanding champion for LGBTQ equality. He is an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Equality Act. He has a perfect 100 rating on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard and, among other things, is also the lead sponsor of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which prohibits any child welfare agency receiving federal financial assistance from discriminating against any potential foster or adoptive family on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence have put at risk all the progress on LGBTQ equality made under President Obama. Trump has pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn nationwide marriage equality, and supports vile laws like North Carolina’s HB2. Pence became a national disgrace in 2015, for his “license to discriminate” bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people -- and for subsequently defending the bill after an outcry from the business community and a majority of Hoosier voters.