Early this year, the Peach State delivered on what we have been working toward for six years: removing the gavel from anti-equality Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's hands, and delivering pro-equality leadership across the federal government.
By electing Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate, Georgia made possible the seemingly impossible. With pro-equality majorities in both the House and the Senate, we have an opportunity to pass the Equality Act, finally enshrining into law equal protections for LGBTQ people in employment, housing, education, public accommodations, federal finance, credit and federal jury services — providing a giant leap toward the promise of equality once and for all.
“Georgians have made their voices heard and united for equality by electing Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, installing a new pro-equality majority in the United States Senate,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David. “We celebrate this incredible moment and we are proud to have helped them across the finish line by deploying our staff to engage and mobilize the 1.3 million Equality Voters across the state.”
The Human Rights Campaign deployed over a dozen staff members to mobilize voters in Georgia for the runoff election, targeting more than 1.3 million Equality Voters, including Georgia’s 356,000 LGBTQ adults. There are more than 185,000 HRC members and supporters statewide, and the Atlanta metro area is home to one of the largest networks of HRC volunteers in the country. Our more than 700 volunteers completed more than 1,300 volunteer shifts, hosted more than 40 trainings, made more than 105,000 calls, and sent more than 196,000 text messages on behalf of the Warnock and Ossoff campaigns throughout the election cycle, partnering with nearly a dozen organizations on the ground to ensure our work made the biggest impact possible.
While this does not mean the end of our fight for justice and equality, having supportive pro-equality leadership across the federal government means that LGBTQ people have champions that are advocating for them in federal policy rather than fighting against progress.
Ossoff and Warnock's victories mean that pro-equality Vice President Kamala Harris is now the 51st vote to break ties in the Senate. And the gavel is now in the hands of Sen. Chuck Schumer, a strong proponent of LGBTQ equality.
The fight to elect our two majority-makers was not an easy one. After forcing runoff elections in November, these two candidates faced off against incumbent senators and powerful political figures in David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, opponents of equality who have been on the record with their extreme anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policy positions.
In late December, HRC President Alphonso David went down to Georgia to campaign for Ossoff and Warnock, joining the staff and volunteers who have been on the ground for months mobilizing Equality Voters with volunteer trainings, phone calls and text messages on behalf of our endorsed pro-equality candidates. David campaigned across the Atlanta area over two days, meeting with LGBTQ activist groups and firing up volunteers to do the important work in the closing days.
He campaigned alongside actors Eva Longoria and America Ferrera, as well as Ossoff and Warnock to rally Latinx voters in the all-important Gwinnett County. The hard work our volunteers and staff did on the ground paid off, with both Ossoff and Warnock eking out wins by slim margins over their established opponents in a traditionally conservative state.
So much credit for these victories is due to our tireless volunteers and our gracious donors who contributed both time and money to move mountains and win these races to deliver on the pro-equality majority we need. Thanks to your efforts, we are hopeful that the Equality Act will finally get the vote it deserves in the U.S. Senate and that President Joe Biden will fulfill his promise to make signing the bill a priority early in his administration.
These wins and the effort that delivered them will literally save LGBTQ lives. We could not be more grateful as an organization for your support, and while we are thrilled that this election season ended with success, we know there are many fights ahead, and with your continued support we intend to win them.
Learn more about HRC’s work in Georgia at hrc.org/georgia.