WASHINGTON– The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality, today praised the distinguished service of Eric Holder upon learning that he will be stepping down as U.S. Attorney General pending confirmation of his successor. HRC believes that the President should use this opportunity to appoint the nation’s first out LGBT cabinet member.
"Some Attorneys General wait for history, others make history happen. Attorney General Holder made history for the LGBT community,” said Chad Griffin, President of HRC. “He was our Robert F. Kennedy, lightening the burden of every American who faces legal discrimination and social oppression. We owe him a profound debt of gratitude for his legacy of advocacy and service."
Attorney General Holder has been a staunch advocate for civil rights for LGBT Americans throughout his career in public life. As U.S. Attorney General for the District of Columbia, he formed the first hate crimes task force, which has become a model for U.S. Attorneys throughout the country. He spearheaded the administration’s decision to not defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. Under his leadership, the FBI and Civil Rights Division began actively investigating and prosecuting hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity with the implementation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
His leadership is without comparison in the swift implementation of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Windsor v. United States. Attorney General Holder declared that the ruling meant that, “Americans in same-sex marriages are entitled to equal protection and equal treatment under the law.” From this historic statement, more than 1,000 federal rights and benefits of marriages have begun to flow to same-sex couples across the country.
HRC continues to advocate for the historic appointment of an openly LGBT cabinet member to the Obama administration.
"President Obama faces a historic opportunity in light of Attorney General Holder's departure,” said Chad Griffin, President of HRC. “The President has expressed a commitment to appointing a cabinet that reflects the full diversity of the American people, and there are many richly-qualified candidates available to serve as the first openly-LGBT cabinet secretary. It would be a natural extension of this administration's enduring commitment to equality to send a message of visibility and inclusion by nominating such a candidate to serve in this historic role."
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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