Human Rights Campaign Announces Pro-Equality Leaders for U.S. Senate

by HRC Staff

August endorsements bring total HRC U.S. Senate endorsements thus far to 24, including 12 challengers to incumbent Senators

WASHINGTON -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization announced the endorsement of four candidates who are crucial to establishing a pro-equality majority in the U.S. Senate.

In 2019, the U.S. House made history by passing the Equality Act -- crucial federal legislation that would finally guarantee explicit protections for LGBTQ people under our nation's existing civil rights laws -- for the first time. However, despite the support from over 70% of Americans including a majority of Republicans, Sen. Mitch McConnell has refused to bring the bill up for a vote. The candidates endorsed today are crucial to establishing a pro-equality majority in the U.S. Senate to finally break Sen. Mitch McConnell’s stranglehold on LGBTQ rights and protections, including passing the Equality Act.

Newly-Endorsed Candidates include:

  • Dr. Al Gross (AK)
  • Sen. Chris Coons (DE)
  • Sen. Cory Booker (NJ)
  • Sen. Jack Reed (RI)

“Eleven million LGBTQ people are counting on a pro-equality Senate, and 57 million Equality Voters are going to get us there,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has single handedly stood in the way of progress for LGBTQ people by blocking a simple vote on the Equality Act. Each of these candidates endorsed today, alongside our 20 other Senate endorsements, are building blocks to finally install a pro-equality majority leader and finally pass protections for LGBTQ people Together, united like never before, we can achieve the change our community needs.”

“I am thrilled to earn the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign,” said Dr. Al Gross (AK). “Frankly, it's appalling to me that in the 21st century we still have to try to persuade people that everyone is entitled to basic human rights, dignity, and equal protection under the law. As a doctor, I worked for the health and wellbeing of my patients regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As a Senator, I will do the same.”

“I'm incredibly proud to be endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign.,” said Sen. Chris Coons (DE). “I've said it before, and I will say it again: it is up to each and every one of us to make the world better for all LGBTQA+ people.

“I’m honored to have the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign,” said Sen. Cory Booker (NJ). “The work of this great organization and its community have yielded profound milestones and historic accomplishments. Together, we will work to continue bending the arc of the moral universe toward justice for every American, no matter who they love.”

“I am truly honored to receive this endorsement from the Human Rights Campaign,” said Sen. Jack Reed (RI). “ For more than 40 years, HRC has been dedicated to advancing the rights of the LGBTQ community in America. Its advocacy has provided such crucial hope and resolve to countless young Americans who have found themselves struggling to be themselves in unaccepting communities. And it has helped to recognize and deliver the vision of those who fought for generations for equality, fairness, and love.These battles aren't over. We know that more work needs to be done, particularly as we confront this pandemic, to ensure that members of communities that have been traditionally marginalized have the access to resources they need to survive and thrive. I look forward to working with the HRC to do just that, and I am proud and thankful for their support.”

With a new pro-equality Senate majority alongside the House pro-equality majority, we have the opportunity not just to pass the Equality Act, but ensure access to quality, affordable health care is protected, common sense gun safety legislation can be considered, voting rights can be advanced, and anti-equality judges are not appointed to our federal courts and the Supreme Court.

In the 2018 midterms, HRC mobilized our grassroots army of 3.2 million members, supporters, and volunteers to work on behalf of pro-equality candidates and engage pro-equality voters primarily in six key states: Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. This unprecedented grassroots mobilization worked to recruit and train volunteers, register and mobilize voters and grow the organization's political organizing efforts in order to pull the emergency brake on the hateful anti-LGBTQ agenda of the Trump-Pence administration and elect a Congress that would hold them accountable.

In 2020, our engagement and mobilization efforts have only deepened. In addition to our expansive volunteer network, HRC will have at least 51 full-time staff in seven priority states (Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin) and an additional 26 staff focused on a second tier of states. While in person organizing has been limited by the COVID-19 pandemic, HRC has embraced digital organizing, launching a new tool called TEAM allowing our broad network of volunteers and steering committees to engage their networks personally and hundreds of virtual phone banks and text banks to engage pro-equality voters even without the ability to interact in person.

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